High School Sports

High school football preview: Fort Worth Dunbar Wildcats

District: 6-5A

Last season: 10-1, 8-0 District 6-4A

Key players: QB Nakkia Cox (5-10, 175); RB Taylor Martin (5-10, 190); WR DeVonte Kinney (5-11, 175); LB Quentin Tippens (5-11, 210), K Iseral Leal (5-7, 155).

The big picture: Fort Worth Dunbar has become a perennial playoff contender. The Wildcats, however, have lost in the first round each of the past three seasons, including a disappointing 17-7 loss to Wichita Falls last season. That loss followed a 10-0 regular-season record that earned votes in The Associated Press state poll. Coach Todd Lawson is looking for that one thing that could put the Wildcats over the hump. It starts on offense with senior running back Taylor Martin, who is an all-state candidate. “Taylor has done great both years. He is highly recruited with numerous offers on the table,” Lawson said. In two seasons, Martin has rushed for nearly 3,500 yards and 47 touchdowns. “I’ve been working on agility and speed and being able to get off the block better. I’m really striving myself to make the 2,000-yard mark this season,” Martin said. DeVonte Kinney is the Wildcats’ utility man, playing both sides of the football. Kinney finished last season with 370 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on offense while posting four interceptions, returning two for scores on defense.

Quotable: “We’ve been out of gas the last few years. Our goal is to play in December. We’re trying new things, tweaking things here and there, but we’re ready to play.” — Coach Todd Lawson

“We just want to move the ball better downfield and to be able to make stops on defense. We lost a lot of players on defense, but we do have a lot of players coming back overall.” — RB Taylor Martin

Notable: Dunbar opens the season against Dallas Lincoln for the second straight year after winning last year’s meeting 20-19. The Wildcats finish against Lake Dallas at home. New teams on the schedule include Kennedale, Grapevine, Southwest and Lake Dallas. ... Dunbar was the last Fort Worth ISD team to be ranked in The Associated Press state poll, reaching No. 7 in 4A in September 2002.