High School Football

These Class 5A teams thumbed their noses at the football experts

Mansfield Summit quarterback Brysen McKinney has been a huge difference-maker.
Mansfield Summit quarterback Brysen McKinney has been a huge difference-maker. Special to the Star-Telegram

Preseason football predictions are enjoyable for the teams that are predicted to earn a playoff spot, but not so fun for those that aren’t.

When Dave Campbell’s Texas Football published its preview edition to provide an outlook for more than 1,400 schools in July, those teams that were not picked to do as well had one of two choices.

They could either despair and accept their assigned destinies, or do something about it.

The following Class 5A teams from the Fort Worth area elected to do something about it.

School: Mansfield Summit

District: 10-5A

Predicted finish: sixth place

Actual finish: third place and playoff berth

Why they defied expectations: The Jaguars announced their presence with a statement game in week one of district competition after trailing 31-14 in the second quarter against Waxahachie.

Summit proceeded to score 28 unanswered points to close out an impressive win for the Jags, and put everyone in 10-5A on notice that 2016 was an anomaly.

A strong running game provided by Richard Clark and Bryce Nyumah, who combined for nearly 1,700 yards and 22 touchdowns, and a dual threat at quarterback with Brysen McKinney, who passed for 1,639 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 574 yards and 11 touchdowns, gave the the Jaguars a potent offense.

Defensively, the Jaguars came up with 12 turnovers in district play and helped lead Summit to a 4-3 overall mark in 10-5A competition.

As a second act, Summit pulled the upset on Crowley in the bi-district round, defeating the Eagles 21-2 to advance to the area round against Dallas Spruce, where the Jags won again.

School: Fort Worth Young Men’s Leadership Academy

District: 7-5A

Predicted finish: seventh place

Actual finish: fourth place and playoff berth

Why they defied expectations: Well, it’s kind of like that famous Mark Twain quote: “It’s not the size of the dog in the in fight. It’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

If any team personified this in 2017, it was YMLA, who with an enrollment of 177 students took on and took down most of the teams in 7-5A to capture the fourth playoff spot.

The Wildcats were led this season by quarterback Draylon Roberson, who proved to be a difference maker, passing for 817 yards and nine touchdowns and rushing for 1,067 yards and 15 touchdowns.

School: Haslet Eaton

District: 6-5A

Predicted finish: fifth place

Actual finish: fourth place and playoff berth

Why they defied expectations: Eaton put up more than 50 points three times in district competition this season, including a victory in its district opener against Justin Northwest, in which the second-year varsity program came out on the winning end of a shoot out against the Texans by a score of 58-44.

Titus Swen proved to be a force in both the running and receiving game, rushing for 1,919 yards and 23 touchdowns and catching four touchdown passes on 344 yards.

Victories over Saginaw and White Settlement Brewer in their final two games of the regular season lifted the Eagles into the playoffs.

School: Fort Worth Southwest

District: 7-5A

Predicted finish: fifth place

Actual finish: second place and playoff berth

Why they defied expectations: The Raiders got help from a number of players this year and soared past their projected fifth place from the very beginning.

Quarterback Octavio Martinez combined for 1,482 all-purpose yards and 18 touchdowns this season, while Zachariah and Zechariah Crosby, Jason Bailey and Dalontay Stevens combined for 1,048 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns.

Wide out Nnamdi Adim-Madumere also had an outstanding season with 637 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns.

School: Burleson

District: 9-5A

Predicted finish: fifth place

Actual finish: second place and playoff berth

Why they defied expectations: Burleson is another team that went above and beyond what was expected of them this season and won every district game but one.

The Elks were led by quarterback Jacob Amador (1,546 all purpose yards, 16 touchdowns) and a running back tandem of Caleb Lewis and Devin Stevenson who combined for 965 yards on the ground and 11 touchdowns.

Receivers Jaylen Johnson and Aden Anderson also finished with more than 500 yards receiving and five touchdowns a piece.

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