Monday, August 04, 2008

PrepNation 101 Preseason FB Countdown: No. 1 Euless Trinity

1. Trinity (Euless, Texas)
Last season’s record: 15-1, Class 5A/I champion
Coach: Steve Lineweaver
Key players: QB Denarious McGhee (5-11, 190, Sr.), RB Tray Robinson (6-1, 205, Sr.), WR Tyree Tucker (6-1, 200, Sr.), WR Stetson Smith (5-10, 175, Sr.), OL Cameron Graves (6-2, 260, Sr.), OL Ben Johnson (6-2, 240, Sr.), DT Siosaia Tuipulotu (5-11, 265, Sr.), DE Vai Sapoi (6-0, 205, Sr.), DB Prinz Kande (6-0, 185, Sr.), DB Eryon Barnett (6-2, 190, Sr.), LB Earnest Norman (5-11, 210, Sr.), LB Eric Fiello (5-10, 190, Sr.), DT Sioeli Pauni (6-0, 235, Sr.)
Biggest strength: Offensive skill players, defense
Question mark: Inexperienced offensive line
Outlook: A new national power has clearly established itself in the football hotbed of Texas. The Trojans have won a pair of 5A state titles since 2005 while compiling a 40-3 record. (If not for a heart-breaking 22-21 loss to No. 2-ranked Southlake Carroll in the 2006 playoffs, Trinity might very well be working a streak of three consecutive state championships.) Overall, in eight seasons under Lineweaver, Trinity is an impressive 89-16. For the 2008 season, the Trojans have 11 starters returning, including four already committed to Big 12 universities. One of the most physical defenses in the country returns four-year starter and all-state linebacker Norman, who will play at Kansas. As a junior, he had over 100 tackles and three interceptions. Also returning to his starting position is Fiello, an all-district outside linebacker. The secondary features two of the top defensive backs in the Lone Star State. Kande, like Norman is a four-starter and, like Norman, is a Kansas recruit. Barnett, a physically gifted and imposing cover corner, is planning to sign with Texas. Up front are two more returning all-district players in Tuipulotu and Pauni. Some impressive skill players will lead Trinity’s offense while an inexperienced offensive line makes its bones. The Trojans have no reason to shy away from its highly effective ball-control, power running attack setting up the play-action pass. With Robinson, they have a three-year starting tailback with great physical skills and durability. He totaled over 1,000 total yards while sharing snaps as a junior. Robinson accepted a scholarship offer from Nebraska during the spring. Under center again will be McGhee, who made great strides in his first year as a starter. For the season, he had nearly 2,000 combined passing and rushing yards and threw only two interceptions in the last 14 games. Two good athletes with solid hands return at receiver in Tucker and Smith. The aforementioned inexperienced offensive line returns no starters, but will likely see four seniors nailing down jobs this fall. Another reason to expect Trinity’s offensive line to become a strength as the season progresses is the presence of assistant head coach Craig Cansler, who has coached offensive linemen for 23 playoff teams in 26 years of coaching.
Toughest games: Sept. 1 vs. No. 66 John Curtis (at Cowboys Stadium), Sept. 12 at Cedar Hill, Sept. 19 at No. 36 Allen, Oct. 3 at Fossil Ridge

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