The high-octane passing game is one of the main reasons why the Cougars, who finished 2006 with an 8-3 record and made the playoffs, check in at No. 7 in TPI's Central Texas Class 3A preseason poll.
Quarterback Dustin Eskew, the District 17-3A Offensive MVP last season, headlines the seven returning offensive starters for Coach Mark Bell. Eskew is one of the top returning passers in the state after airing out over 3,000 yards and 27 touchdowns as a junior. The strong-armed senior also has his favorite target back as junior Mike Hicks returns after earning first team all-District honors with 39 catches for over 800 yards and eight touchdown grabs as a sophomore.
The defense also returns seven starters among the 22 returning lettermen for Coach Bell as the Cougars will have excellent shot at the district championship and with a veteran club, have the potential to for a deep playoff run much like district foe Robinson has last season.
In Class 2A things move deep into Region IV as Cotulla checks in at No. 7 in the poll after an impressive 11-2 finish and a trip to the Class 2A-I state semifinals where they were upended by a very talented Tatum team.
Coach Marcus Booker welcomes back 11 total starters from last season and the offense will be anchored by a stout offensive line that features first team all-District selection Esteban Rodriguez. Joining Rodriguez (6-foot-2, 290 pounds) are guards Carlos Adames and Rodrigo Torres, a second team all-District selection last season.
Cornerback Luis Flores earned first team all-District honors last season and headlines the six returnees on defense for the Cowboys. Defensive end Dustin Huff and linebacker Randy Garcia were all-District picks last season, as was cornerback Larry Smith who was one of only two freshmen in the district to earn all-District honors last year.