Three years ago, Jesuit won two playoff games for the first time since joining the UIL in 2004. Two years ago, the Rangers set a program record for points. Last season, they won their first UIL district title.
Whether or not Jesuit can clear even higher hurdles this season remains to be seen, but the Rangers won’t waste any time testing themselves.
Jesuit will kick off one of the more challenging nondistrict schedules in the state by traveling to face perennial power DeSoto on Friday.
In the next two weeks, the Rangers will face Plano East as part of the Cotton Bowl Prep Showcase event, then will host Lake Travis, last year’s Class 6A state runner-up. That won’t exactly make the District 9-6A opener against Coppell on Sept. 23 seem easy by comparison, but it will have Jesuit prepared, for better or worse.
In order for the Rangers to survive such a gauntlet, they will likely rely on returning dual-threat quarterback Jacob Palisch, a Stanford baseball commit who accounted for 35 total touchdowns last season, as well as an experienced offensive line.
DeSoto, who stumbled early before finishing strong last season in a tough district, will feature standout quarterback Shawn Robinson, a transfer from Denton Guyer who is verbally committed to TCU. The Eagles have plenty of playmakers surrounding him, too.
The game is a highlight of an intriguing weekend of openers for area teams that includes Greenhill traveling to St. Mark’s and ESD hosting Triple A Academy. Among public schools, Hillcrest will host Molina and W.T. White will travel to Flower Mound.
On Saturday, Covenant will begin its first season under new head coach Jesse Olvera with a home game against Fort Worth Calvary. And on Monday, Parish Episcopal will start the final season for head coach Scott Nady by taking on Little Rock (Ark.) McClellan in Arkadelphia, Ark.