After breezing through the regular season unscathed and averaging 53.3 points per game, the Alex Longhorns were in the driver’s seat for a state title.
They fell two wins short of that goal. Alex, which handily beat Ringwood and Davenport in the first two rounds of the postseason last year, stumbled in the state semifinals, losing 58-26 against Pond Creek-Hunter.
If coach Matt Brand’s team took anything away from that playoff loss, it’s simply gaining the experience and knowledge of what it takes to win a state championship.
“I think we were just as talented as the teams that won,” coach Matt Brand said. “But we were inexperienced compared to them.”
Alex returns five offensive starters and four defensive starters, including quarterback Dalton Alcorn, running back Kyler Thornburg and tight end Jacob Otey.
ALLEN RETURNING SOME FIREPOWER
Allen drew the short straw to start the playoffs last year.
The Mustangs opened the postseason against Class B champion Laverne and were punched in the mouth coming out the gate, falling behind 28-0 in the first quarter.
But Allen is confident coming into the season, and for good reason. The Mustangs return seven offensive starters, including quarterback Justin Deaton and running back Dalton James. Deaton threw for 1,300 yards and ran for 500 yards, and James tore up defenses for more than 2,000 total yards, about 1,600 of which came on the ground.
For Allen to be successful in 2014, those two are going to have to have big years.
“After the offensive line, that’s where it starts, with those two,” coach Kenny Deaton, Justin’s father, said. “We have some other good backs, too, but those two get us going.”
Kenny Deaton is still looking for the team’s starting center, and that job may go to freshman Tanner Wofford.
MAUD’S BROTHERLY LOVE
A quarter of Maud’s starters are related.
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