High School Sports

Countdown to kickoff: Wyatt defense has tools to dominate opponents

Kelvin Davis (25) of Arlington Heights closes in on Wyatt’s DeVonte Kirven (30) in a game at Farrington Field last season.
Kelvin Davis (25) of Arlington Heights closes in on Wyatt’s DeVonte Kirven (30) in a game at Farrington Field last season. Special to the Star-Telegram

Fort Worth Wyatt

District 7-5A

Last season: 6-5 (5-1 in District 7-5A)

Key players: LB Tyquandrick Conner (6-0, 205), NG Courtney Cravin (5-11, 265), DE Kaleb Gaiters (6-5, 205), ATH Michael Franklin (5-10, 170), LB Corjuan Cooper (6-0, 185), WR Cameron Johnson (5-10, 180), RB DeVonte Kervin (5-9, 175), DB Rashad Adams (5-9, 160).

The big picture: A large portion of Wyatt’s success this season will depend on how quickly the sophomore class can come together since the Chaparrals graduated nearly their entire offense from last year. Coach Zachary Criss said many of those sophomores could have played on varsity last season as freshmen, but the coaching staff instead chose to keep the group together at the freshman level, where they won their district. Senior Tyquandrick Conner, the undisputed leader of the Wyatt defense at outside linebacker, took the same route in his development and begins his third varsity season as a returning first-team, all-district selection. Up front, nose guard Courtney Cravin anchors the defensive line in a 3-4 or 4-2-5 formation. Wyatt will look to one of the fastest members of the sophomore class, Rashad Adams, to limit big-play threats at either cornerback or safety. “He’s shown us, last year and through off-season, that he can cover pretty much anybody we throw at him,” Criss said of Adams. But the real challenge for Wyatt will be quickly finding an offensive identity, if it hopes to keep pace with Fort Worth South Hills and Arlington Heights in district.

Quotable: “We’re young, but we should be explosive. It’s going to be a matter of getting these sophomores some varsity game experience. You just don’t know with a young roster what part of the season that light is going to come on for them.” — Coach Zachary Criss

Notable: Criss enters his 10th season as Wyatt’s head coach. His Chaparrals have made the playoffs five of the past six seasons, and six times in the past nine years.

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