It could simply be a matter of Liberty-Eylau surviving its first six games during the 2018 high school football season.
The Leopards have been facing some of the best schoolboy teams in Texas, prior to their district play for several years. L-E coach Steve Wells believes this fall’s slate is possibly the toughest Liberty-Eylau has ever played. Nine of the 10 schools the Leopards play during the regular season have won state championships in the past.
Arkansas High, Carthage, Texas High, Atlanta, Argyle, and Waco LaVega will challenge the Leopards prior to their District 6-4A Division II schedule. The new district features defending state champion Pleasant Grove and traditional powerhouse Gilmer, a team L-E hasn’t beaten since 2006.
“We don’t go out looking for a murder’s row schedule,” Wells said. “We’ve got one of the best programs in Texas, and with one exception, nobody in 4A is going to play us. Most 4A schools in this region don’t want to play us, and there’s not that many 5A schools that can play us because they’re in big districts.”
Wells’ Leopards have proven season after season that their won-lost record means little going into league play. It has been a matter of L-E’s players not losing their confidence, and the team staying healthy. L-E outscored Mount Pleasant and Sulphur Springs in scrimmages.
“I’m very excited about this season, our senior is a bunch of great kids,” Wells said. “Isaiah Cross, Cedric Dickerson, Connor Green, El-Amin Greer, and Marzavin Riles are all good leaders. Defensively, we’re pretty solid in all areas, and offensively we’re in good shape at the skill positions.”
Liberty-Eylau rebuilding offensive line
The Leopards’ offensive line is a big question mark going into the season opener against Arkansas High. Green is the only returning starter, and he’s being moved from guard to center. Wells, and his staff, believe they’ve got eight good candidates to fill the holes in the line. That list includes Reginald Woodside, Trustin Jones, Jaelin Williams, Ronderick Brown, Kwa’Mane Newton, Carron Eaton, Nicklas Kemp, and Demetry Hunter.
L-E is deeper at running back with the return of Cedric Dickerson, Korbyn White and sophomore Damian Henderson. All three of those youngsters will draw double duty. The quarterback position is in good hands with Cross, and senior Talveyion Cooper will be his backup.
Dazawion Cooper’s knee injury at a summer camp was a blow at receiver, but Wells is confident Greer, Talveyion Cooper, Shayne Porche, Deshun Dickerson, Dominique Williams, Jakeem Butler, and Thomas Rochelle will step up and get the job done.
Liberty-Eylau players will get double duty
Several names previously mentioned, will be major contributors on defense.
Isaiah Johnson, Torrian Trotter, and transfer Johnnie Hawkins are competing for defensive line positions with Hunter and Lakken Stuart. Riles, Cedric Dickerson, and Henderson are penciled in as starting linebackers. They will be rotating with Ethan Brooks, Eaton, Drew Langford, T.J. Templeton, and transfer Tyrone Rosser.
Deshun Dickerson, White, Cross and Rochelle will rotate at corner in the secondary, with Porche, Greer, Roy and Cooper at safety.
Wells expects Cross or Porche to handle the punting chores, but hasn’t found a place-kicker. Cedric Dickerson or Porche could be kicking off at the beginning.
“Our district race ought to be fun,” Wells said. “If you can get in the playoffs and get past the third round, you could go deep into the postseason.”