A historic season that ended with Jesuit advancing to the Class 6A Division II Region II finals is in the rearview mirror, and many of the key participants have graduated, including running back E.J. Smith.
Just six starters return from that squad whose playoff run included a dramatic upset of Longview. But that doesn’t automatically mean the Rangers will retreat.
UIL realignment moved Jesuit from one of the state’s toughest districts into a much softer grouping in Region I. Plus, the 2019 success has resulted in heightened expectations in the locker room.
“Every kid wants to be a part of winning teams.”Brandon Hickman
“Anytime you do well in the playoffs and get over that hump, the bar has been raised. It keeps the kids hungry for sure,” said Jesuit head coach Brandon Hickman. “They carried the momentum into the offseason. Every kid wants to be a part of winning teams.”
New quarterback Gage Roy will take charge of an offense that was remarkably consistent last year, scoring at least 27 points in all nine of its wins.
“He’s going to be a pretty special quarterback,” Hickman said. “He’s got a big arm and throws the deep ball really well. I’m excited to see him develop this year.”
Meanwhile, a bulked-up Jake Taylor returns after rushing for a team-high 1,207 yards last season. The offensive line should be bigger and stronger, anchored by Matthew Craycraft and Baylor commit Ryan Lengyel.
Jesuit returns some critical pieces on defense, too, including lineman Peter Melle and safety Robert Fitzgerald. Also back is standout kicker Parker Brown.
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