SPORTS HEADLINES

Friday Night Lights: Texans put aside past, chase history – Northwest aims for first league title

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Tags: , ,

Share this page...

Northwest

The Northwest Texans started 2017 looking to build on the school’s first trip to the second round of the playoffs.

But after a 3-0 start, the Texans fell to Eaton in their league opener and found themselves on the wrong side of a tiebreaker for a playoff berth when the season ended.

In the new split division alignment in 5A, which debuts this year, the Texans move from being one of the smaller schools in their district to one of the biggest.

“We’ve been the small fish in the big pond, and now we’re the big fish in the small pond,” said Northwest coach Bill Poe. “We still have to play well.”

After last year’s 6-4 season, the Texans graduated several key players, especially on offense – four of their five starting linemen and veteran quarterback Prince Mavula. Throughout the spring, Poe saw improvement.

“We made a lot of progress on both sides of the ball,” Poe said.

The offense will have playmakers in running back DeMareus Hosey and receiver Quentin Lee to help a young quarterback Austin Ahmad and youthful offensive line.

Defensively, the Texans bring back eight starters, including dynamic safety Cooper McDonald, linebackers Chase Starnes, Caleb Hendricks and fierce nose tackle Malik Moore.

In the newly formed District 4-5A Division II, Northwest is the only school from outside Fort Worth ISD. The Texans enter the season as the favorite to bring home their first district crown.

Poe refuses to let his team think that far ahead.

“There’s a lot of games in front of us. We have to play our best every week,” Poe said.

After missing the playoffs last year, that message is clear with the Texans.

“We’re motivated after last year. We’re not taking anyone lightly,” Hosey said.

NORTHWEST TEXANS IN A CAPSULE

2017 record: 6-4, 3-4

Head coach: Bill Poe, fifth year at Northwest (23-19)

OVERVIEW

After a 3-0 start last year, the Texans hit a slide to start district, losing three of four. After winning two of its final three, Northwest missed the playoffs. The Texans move into the newly formed 4-5A Division II and will be a favorite to make their second playoff appearance in three years.

OFFENSE

The Texans graduated four of their five linemen from last year, including current Oklahoma tackle Darrell Simpson.

Rebuilding the offensive line was the Texans’ top priority in the spring. The cohesion of the unit will determine the team’s success.

Northwest coach Bill Poe said the group improved throughout the spring.

“They got better. I feel like they’ve had a good summer,” Poe said. “It all starts up front. They are the key ingredient. We have to have those five guys play well.”

If the offensive line comes together, the Texans could feature an explosive and balanced offense.

DeMareus Hosey returns as one of the top running backs in the state. He rushed for 1,460 yards last year, including going for 381 yards and four touchdowns against McKinney North.

Along with Hosey, the Texans return receivers Quentin Lee, who caught 76 passes for 1,090 yards, and DaVeante Stegall, who had 24 catches for 215 yards.

Northwest will have a new trigger man with Austin Ahmad taking over at quarterback. Ahmad played in five games as a sophomore, throwing for 200 yards and three touchdowns and completing 16 of his 27 attempts.

“He looked really good in the spring and really progressed with his comprehension of the offense,” Poe said. “He also brings the added element of being able to run the ball.”

If the offensive line comes together, the Texans have the weapons to match last year’s unit that averaged 483 yards.

DEFENSE

Returning just three starters last season, the Texans had their struggles slowing down opponents. Northwest allowed 370 yards per game, including giving up 655 to Boswell.

The Texans return seven players to what coach Bill Poe expects to be a vastly improved defense.

“We’re definitely excited. It has a chance to be one of the best defenses we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Poe said.

Cooper McDonald, who made 104 tackles and picked off three passes last year, returns to lead the defense.

“He’s a dynamic player,” Poe said.

Linebackers Caleb Hendricks (117 tackles) and Dillon Sager (75 tackles) return to the middle of the defense.

Malik Moore will cause havoc in the middle at nose guard. He recorded three sacks and 75 tackles last year.

OUTLOOK

The Texans have a golden opportunity to make history and bring home their first district title in the new 4-5A Division II. But they can’t afford an untimely slipup.

Season prediction: 9-1 overall, 6-0 in 4-5A-II for first place

2017 NORTHWEST RESULTS

Northwest 35, Alvarado 20
Northwest 56, McKinney North 46
Northwest 30, Byron Nelson 14
Eaton 58, Northwest 44
Brewer 37, Northwest 14
Northwest 45, Saginaw 14
Boswell 70, Northwest 55
Chisholm Trail 55, Northwest 14
Aledo 48, Northwest 0
Northwest 49, Azle 7

2018 NORTHWEST SCHEDULE

Aug. 31 … Little Elm
Sept. 7 … @ McKinney North
Sept. 13 … Grapevine
Sept. 21 … Sherman
Sept. 28 … @ Fort Worth Southwest
Oct. 5 … Fort Worth Eastern Hills
Oct. 11 … O.D. Wyatt
Oct. 18 … @ Fort Worth Polytechnic
Nov. 1 … Carter-Riverside
Nov. 9 … @ Fort Worth Northside

Leave a Reply. Note: As of March 24, 2011, all posted comments will include the users full name.

WCMessenger.com News and Blog Comment Guidelines

You must be logged in to post a comment.