On Saturday, High School Football America will release its Preseason Top 25. Between now and then, we’ll take a look at some of the top teams that are vying for spots in our national rankings.
Today we head to Texas to look at the DeSoto Eagles.
The facts speak for themselves when it comes to DeSoto over the last three years — only four losses, with three of them coming at the hands of three-time defending High School Football America “mythical” national champion Allen in the postseason. Two of those losses in 2012 and 2013 we’re in the state semifinals.
Last season, DeSoto finished #25 in the High School Football America Top 25.
Fast-forward to 2015 and the Eagles are an immensely talented team with former offensive coordinator Todd Peterman moving up to head coach to replace Claude Mathis, who is now an assistant coach at SMU. With Peterman at the helm, the Eagles offensive will continue to be the same juggernaut that we’ve come to know.
Over the last three seasons, DeSoto has averaged over 500 yards in total offense per game while scoring 46 points per contest.
Peterman’s first job was to find his replacement. He stayed within the program, promoting Jeff Wigington to OC after spending five years as the program’s offensive line coach.
“I’m still going to be highly involved in the offense,” said Peterman back in February when he appeared on the High School Football America Radio Show. “I’m still going to call plays. We’ve call it collectively on Friday nights — me and the line coach — so we’re still going to have that relationship.”
On the other side of the ball, Peterman brought-in Mark Howeth as his defensive coordinator. Howeth has been a part of three Texas state championship teams — Denison, Duncanville and Highland Park — in his 34 years as a coach in the state.
With senior quarterback Tristan Wallace back under center, the Eagles are expected to put up their traditional offensive numbers in 2015. Wallace is a 4-star prospect who has given his verbal commitment to Ohio State.
Last year, Wallace went-down with a broken ankle in the second game of the season. His replacement, then sophomore Jaylin Nelson filled-in and the Eagles never lost a beat. Wallace returned for the Eagles first round playoff win against Coppell, rushing for 183 yards and three touchdowns.
Nelson, who transferred to DeSoto last year from First Baptist Academy after leading that school to a Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools championship as a freshman, has left DeSoto for Duncanville, which will be led by former Skyline head coach Reggie Samples, who resigned at the end of the 2014 season after leading the Raiders to a #14 ranking in the High School Football America Top 25 in 2014.
Wallace has tons of weapons in a program that, at a point, just reloads. Over 15 players on this year’s team have already received offers from Division I schools.
Junior wide receiver Kadarrian Nixon, who led the team with 43 receptions last year, is back. Also add to the receiving mix, Dee Anderson, who is a 4-star LSU verbal commit who transferred to the Eagles after begin dismissed from the football team at West Mesquite for violating team rules. Last year Anderson caught 46 balls last year for 748 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Up front, the Eagles have plenty of experience and led by 6-5, 285-pound tackle Josiah Washington.
“We started five sophomores this last year, a lot of people don’t realize that,” said Peterman. “I’m not here to rebuild, I’m here to reload every year.”
The key to any state championship at any level in any state is defense. Last year’s squad gave-up over 23 points per game. Peterman has a good secondary led by A.J. Green, who had four interceptions last season.
DeSoto’s schedule is one of the best in the country. The Eagles play in the very tough District 8-6A that includes two-time defending Class 6A Division II state champ Cedar Hill and Mansfield — two teams that are ranked in the Dallas Morning News Preseason Class 6A Top 10.
We’ll find-out very early, how good this year’s squad is. DeSoto opens with four tough games against Arlington Martin, IMG Academy from Florida, South Oak Cliff and Cibolo Steele.
Below you can listen to our February 19th interview with Coach Peterman after he took over as head coach.