Football’s Future Success

Trenton McDonald, 12, avoids a tackle while rushing the ball against Highland Park in round four of playoffs.

Megan Bell

Trenton McDonald, 12, avoids a tackle while rushing the ball against Highland Park in round four of playoffs.

Junior Clayton Franks gets down in his three-point stance and stares down the defensive end directly in front of him. The ball snaps and Franks collides with the defensive end from Highland Park. His arms lock under the defensive end’s pads, and he drives him back onto his butt. Senior Kendall Catalon takes a short three-step drop and throws the ball to senior Troy Edwards in the back of the end zone. The ball deflects and the game ends with screams and cheering coming from the Highland Park sidelines.

That moment marked the end of the 2016-17 football season – one without winning a state championship. The Broncos made it to the quarter-finals in the Texas High School Playoffs and Highland Park, once again, ended the Broncos’ season. A total of 41 seniors were on the football team this year, and plans for next year show only eight players returning as starters: six juniors and two sophomores. The coaching staff says they want the new varsity players to step-up next year to match this year’s performance.

“I feel great about next year’s team,” Head Football Coach Chris Melson said. “We have eight returning starters and a strong sophomore class. We should be in good shape come next season.”

Both Mansfield Timberview and Lake Ridge will lose 36 seniors to their football teams, while Summit will lose 29 seniors. As the team to suffer the most, Legacy needs sophomores and juniors to make plays.

“Besides Legacy, I think Lake Ridge will be the best team in Mansfield,” Melson said. “Both of their quarterbacks are coming back. Senior quarterbacks always make a big difference, so I’d say they’ll be really good, especially on offense.”

Franks believes next year will be another incredible football season for the Broncos. He said we have enough talent to fill the spots of the seniors who are leaving.

I believe we should be a team that other teams should worry about next year.”

— Clayton Franks

“I believe we should be a team that other teams should worry about next year.” Franks said. “We have one of the best offensive lines in the district. The people who are leaving are going to be hard to replace, but we have good athletes to fill their roles. We will definitely be a team to be reckoned with.”

Known as the “District of Doom,” District 10-5A reigns as one of the toughest districts in the state, so the challenge of making the playoffs presents itself. Coach Melson and Franks believe their team will be able to compete and get into the playoffs.

“All the students at Legacy should be excited for next year. We have a great group of returning players,” Franks said. ”This is a tough district, and it’s hard to make the playoffs. We just have to take care of business on both sides of the ball. We love the support we get, and I believe we have the best fans in Mansfield.”