Fort Worth Dunbar
Last season: 5-6 (3-3 District 6-5A)
Key players: QB Nakkia Cox (5-10, 175); RB SirQuinces Stewart (5-10, 195); WR Bryan Wilson (6-1, 185); WR/DE Maurice Johnson (6-1, 210); DT Richard Jones (5-9, 265); LB Paris Jackson (6-1, 200); LB Jordan Alix (5-9, 195).
The big picture: The Wildcats made the postseason last fall for the fifth consecutive season and eighth time in nine years, but were eliminated by Wichita Falls Rider in the first round. They return 10 starters, five on each side of the ball while losing such key players as DeVonta Kinney (first-team all-district receiver and cornerback) and Xavier Daniels (first-team all-district safety) to graduation. However, coach Todd Lawson has a playmaker in senior QB Nakkia Cox (2,309 total yards, 24 TDs), who is on pace to become Dunbar’s all-time leader in total yards. Cox should see time at multiple positions as he was a second-team all-district quarterback and first-team punter last season. Dunbar also returns senior WR Bryan Wilson (second-team all-district, 25 catches, 244 yards), who Lawson calls “the fastest kid out there.” Junior RB SirQuinces Stewart should begin the season as the starter. “He’s a physical type of back,” Lawson said of Stewart. Cox, Wilson and junior Paris Jackson can run the ball as well. Lawson will have a number of athletes playing both ways, but returns all three linebackers including Jackson and Jordan Alix (second-team all-district). Richard Jones (first-team all-district, 52 tackles) and Maurice Johnson (first-team all-district offense and defense, 48 tackles, 8 sacks) will take up the bulk of the front line. The Wildcats start district with a bye before meeting playoff teams Colleyville Heritage and Grapevine in back-to-back weeks.
Quotable: “We have a good crop of kids coming back. We just have to go out, stay healthy and play our game. If things go our way with a little luck, we could surprise some teams in our district.” — Coach Todd Lawson
“We have a tough preseason starting with Crowley, which is always a physical game then [Saginaw] Boswell and [Arlington] Seguin, so we should get a good gauge and see where the kids are at before district starts.” — Lawson
“I’ve seen seniors step up and take leadership of the team and I’ve seen the younger guys step in and fill the spots of the seniors we lost last season, so I feel we should have a good season this year.” — QB Nakkia Cox
“I’ve seen Nakkia and I start to step up more as seniors and we’re working harder because of our schedule, so the feeling is that we’ll be in for a great season.” — DT Richard Jones
Notable: Dunbar allowed 27.7 points per game in 2015, but ranked first in District 6-5A in pass defense (99.1 yards per game) and total defense (231.1 yards per game), and second in rush defense (132 yards per game).