Following their deepest run in the playoffs in 2019 since their 2008 state championship in Class 3A, the Prosper Eagles seem poised to capitalize on that success - and duplicate it - this upcoming season.
Coach Brandon Schmidt returns half of his starters (five offense, six defense) from a team that went 11-3/5-2 (district) as they blazed to the regional semifinals.
The Eagles’ junior varsity team also went 8-2 last season and should provide key personnel to fill in the gaps where needed.
Key losses from last year’s squad include offensive tackle Jake Majors (Texas), wide receiver Hayden Metcalf (Illinois), defensive line Will Pendergast (Blinn), and safety Josh Graham (Houston Baptist).
When asked about the prospects for the 2020 season head coach Brandon Schmidt noted, "Our biggest challenges will be identifying who will replace last year's seniors on the offensive line. We have some very promising candidates including Troy Stansell, Jacob Mumy, Evan Brown, and Antibordin Sophonsakulrat."
Schmidt also commented on the first couple of weeks getting ready for the season.
"After several months away from campus and without spring football, our kids are bringing a high level of energy and enthusiasm everyday. We also have several young players that are growing up fast."
He said the keys to this year’s success will be "how quickly will a young offensive line come together and find a RB to replace JT Lane." Also, "Staying healthy through the course of a tough schedule will be crucial."
Quarterback Jackson Berry (6-0, 190, 4.8) did an excellent job for Prosper during the 2019 campaign, throwing for 3,185 yards and 37 touchdowns while rushing for 354 yards and 8 touchdowns. He returns to lead the Eagles’ offensive attack after his sensational performance throwing 13 touchdown passes and zero interceptions in four playoff games last year.
Berry will be looking to a dynamic receiving/playmaking group that is back to give the Eagles lots of firepower once again, highlighted by Tyler Bailey (6-0, 180, 4.5), who had 69 catches for 772 yards and 13 touchdowns receiving along with 663 yards and five touchdowns rushing.
Prosper is returning three receivers who had over 500 yards total yardage. Wide receiver Keaton Nickerson, tight end Cameron Harpole (6-3, 210, 4.7), newcomers wide receiver Houston Hawkins and tight end Camerson Tackman will fill out the receiving corps for the Eagles.
Noah Billings (5-11, 180, 4.5) and Grant Peck will contribute on the offensive side of the ball along with sophomore Malik Daily in the backfield.
In the trenches, the Eagles return Nash Gagliano (5-10, 240) along with newcomers Jacob Mumy (6-2, 275), Evan Brown and Andy Sophosakuirat. The offensive line will be a point of rebuilding for the high-octane offense.
The Eagles 3-4 pressure defense will be led by a strong group of linebackers with four-year letterman Aidan Siano (6-0, 220, 4.8), who led the team with 138 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, five sacks, and four interceptions; and Herman Lee (5-9, 180, 4.7), who had 52 tackles, six tackles for loss and four interceptions headlining that unit.
Mason Jolley and Alex Stowers will potentially contribute from the linebacker spot as well.
Prosper’s defensive line was sensational a year ago, led by defensive end James Eckrote (6-2, 235, 4.9), who had 36 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and five sacks. Defensive lineman Cameron Tackman and defensive end Aeden Combest are expected to contribute up front.
Noah Billings (5-11, 180, 4.5), along Ryan Medeiros and Brody Boushey, will anchor the young defensive secondary.
The Eagles’ special teams are solid with a couple of seniors, kicker Brad Larson and punter Grant Peck.
Prosper finds itself in a very tough seven team District 5-6A. Perennial playoff teams Denton Guyer (5) and Allen (6) are ranked in the top 5 in Class 6A.
The Eagles are sitting at 22 in the Class 6A preseason rankings. Additional opponents in the district include Denton Braswell, McKinney, McKinney Boyd and Little Elm.