2021 CFBISD 5A high school football previews, predictions, and more

Creekview football team — image via The Carrollton Leader

This offseason has been one of change for Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD’s football programs. With new head coaches at Creekview and Newman Smith as well as a second-year head coach with promise at R.L. Turner, there’s optimism throughout the district’s communities that these schools can become consistently competitive on the gridiron once again.

As a Creekview alumnus and former Mustangs quarterback, I have a passion for shedding light on the programs that represent the city of Carrollton — the place where I played every snap of my football career until I fulfilled my dream of competing at the collegiate level.

So without further ado, here are my previews, predictions, and other important notes to keep in mind for each of the district’s 5A teams this season.

Preseason power ranking

Below are the three CFBISD 5A football programs ranked in order of my projection for their 2021 on-field success.

  1. Newman Smith
  2. Creekview
  3. R.L. Turner

Team previews

Below are my 2021 previews and schedule projections for each CFBISD 5A football program. Schools are listed in the order as they were in my preseason power ranking.

Head Coach: Robert Boone

2020 record: 5–4 (4–4 in district 6–5A Div. I)

Brett’s take: The Trojans welcome in first-year head coach Robert Boone after his latest stint as the offensive coordinator at McKinney. He inherits a team that finished 5–4 this past season and will only reach new heights in his offensive scheme.

As the most athletically gifted program in the district, Newman Smith — at least in my judgement — is the clear-cut favorite to once again finish with the best record in Carrollton. They boast a sophomore- and junior-heavy roster that showed flashes in 2020, and the expectation for this team this upcoming season is a considerable step forward.

It’s for this reason — in combination with the district they’ve been gifted — that the Trojans are absolutely in the mix for a playoff berth.

The primary concern for this team (as with most CFBISD squads) is overall depth. While the program’s numbers aren’t an issue, there’s still plenty of talent to be developed down the depth chart. And over the course of a season as important as this one is for Newman Smith, they’ll need as much depth as possible.

They’ll need a few ‘upsets’ to go their way in order to make a run at the postseason happen, but the talent and coaching is there. The turning point will be the program’s rejuvenated culture that’ll be tested if things go south early on.

2021 schedule W-L projection (7–3):

  • Terrell — W
  • Creekview — W
  • Dallas Adams — W
  • Lancaster — L
  • Dallas Molina — W
  • R.L. Turner — W
  • Dallas Wilson — L
  • Dallas Sunset — W
  • Dallas White — L
  • Dallas Samuell — W

Head Coach: Tony Castillo

2020 record: 1–8 (1–6 in district 4–5A Div. II)

Brett’s take: Former Ennis offensive coordinator Tony Castillo takes the reins for the Mustangs following one of the worst seasons on record for the program. He’ll be tasked with teaching and installing a completely new offensive system for a team that has run the flexbone since 2017.

With explosive pieces in certain spots throughout the roster — including UConn pledge Sean Sallis at tight end/wide receiver — Castillo will have weapons to work with on both sides of the ball in an attempt to will his team into the playoff mix.

Unfortunately for Creekview, their district is a *tad* tougher than that of Newman Smith and R.L. Turner’s. At the top of the pack is Grapevine, and they’re joined by the Fort Worth schools — including Southwest (7–4) and North Side (7–3).

However, there’s definitely an opening in the fourth and final playoff spot. With a win over Polytechnic, an upset over South Hills, and assuming they take care of business against Trimble Tech and Wyatt, the Mustangs could find themselves playing an eleventh game.

Aside from the obvious depth concern, Creekview is well undersized in the trenches — a product of running the flexbone for four years on the offensive side. If those units can remain fundamentally sound and execute within a system that fits their strengths, they could potentially overperform.

The Mustangs’ 2021 campaign will be extremely boom-or-bust. If things don’t go swimmingly, they’ll go downhill in a hurry… and vice-versa.

2021 schedule W-L projection via DCTF’s 2020 team schedule (5–5):

  • Fort Worth Western Hills — W
  • Newman Smith — L
  • Irving Nimitz — L
  • Grapevine — L
  • Forth Worth Southwest — L
  • Forth Worth South Hills — W
  • Forth Worth Wyatt — W
  • Fort Worth Polytechnic — W
  • Forth Worth North Side — L
  • Fort Worth Trimble Tech — W

Head Coach: Mike Farda Jr.

2020 record: 2–7 (2–6 in district 6–5A Div. I)

Brett’s take: It’ll be another rebuilding year for the Lions, as they won their first regular season game on the road since 2016 this past season and showed incredible improvement under Mike Farda Jr.’s first season at the helm.

The installation of the Wing-T offensive scheme has worked wonders for the team’s on-field performance by limiting turnovers, ‘shortening’ the game and keeping contests from getting out of hand for longer periods of time. Additionally, the team’s fundamentals and commitment to the program across the board was noticeably heightened.

Even better news for R.L. Turner? It can only get better from here.

However, the Lions will still be forced to face a cold, harsh reality: they’re still a ways away from being a threat to compete for the postseason. There’s a lot of growth to be made from strictly a numbers standpoint, and a lack of overall depth will be the team’s downfall — just as it has for the past decade or so.

With all that said, the R.L. Turner football program is undoubtedly heading in the right direction under Farda Jr. But, as we all expected, it’s going to take quite a bit of time.

2021 schedule W-L projection (3–7) via DCTF’s 2020 team schedule:

  • Fort Worth DHJ — W
  • Dallas Sunset — W
  • Dallas Seagoville — L
  • Dallas White — L
  • Dallas Samuell — W
  • Carrollton Newman Smith — L
  • Dallas Adams — L
  • Lancaster — L
  • Dallas Molina — L
  • Dallas Wilson — L

Preseason superlatives

Below are my 2021 CFBISD 5A football preseason superlatives.

  • The Most Valuable Player title is given to the player I believe will have both the biggest impact for their respective team and the most on-field production in 2021, regardless of position.

WR Kylen Woods, Newman Smith — Senior

Woods is a 6’1” playmaker who possesses one of the largest toolboxes in the DFW. With 4.5 speed and a visible fearlessness when catching the ball over the middle of the field, he’ll be Trojans quarterback Alejandro Diaz’s go-to man when in need of a big play. His ability to create space with route-running and highpoint the ball through contact is second-to-none, and it’s only a matter of time before colleges across the country take notice. New head coach Robert Boone’s system will take advantage of his talents and — assuming he stays healthy — lock him in as a first team all-district selection.

  • The Offensive Player of the Year title is given to the player I believe will have the biggest impact for their respective team on the offensive side of the ball.

TE/WR Sean Sallis, Creekview — Senior

It goes without saying that Sallis is one of the premier tight ends in Texas. With numerous division 1 offers and a commitment to UConn under his belt, the Creekview offense will likely go as he goes this season. At 6’5” he presents a matchup nightmare for whoever lines up across from him and can use his frame to provide key blocks for his teammates. He’ll be the do-it-all guy in new head coach Tony Castillo’s first season at the helm.

  • The Defensive Player of the Year title is given to the player I believe will have the biggest impact for their respective team on the defensive side of the ball.

LB Jayvian Coulter, Newman Smith — Senior

Coulter — the unquestioned leader of the Trojans’ defense — is a 5’10" 200-pound thumper who possesses the coveted coverage skills that is increasingly becoming a necessity for new-age linebackers. His instincts and willingness to play downhill make him tough to block, and his combination of lateral quickness and straight-line speed allow him to cover slot receivers with relative ease. It’s quite simple: when Newman Smith needs a big defensive play in 2021, Coulter will likely be the guy to make it happen.

Intradistrict matchup predictions

Below are my predictions for each game between CFBISD 5A football programs in 2021.

Final prediction: Newman Smith 35, Creekview 21

The ‘Battle for Carrollton’ will be closely contested for a considerable portion of the game once again, as both teams — regardless of talent disparities or momentum — ‘get up’ and outperform themselves for this game on an annual basis (trust me, I played in it twice!) However, the sheer athleticism of the Trojans’ roster will allow them to pull away late and win by two touchdowns. I could absolutely see this game going either way, but if I was a betting man, give me Newman Smith.

Final prediction: Newman Smith 56, R.L. Turner 14

In the most historic rivalry in CFBISD — the ‘Battle of Josey Lane’ — expect the Trojans to run away with it once again. While the Lions will be able to put a couple of touchdowns on the board due to their unique offensive scheme, this game will be well in hand by the early part of the second half. Newman Smith will clinch the AD’s Cup and coveted gold ball once again.

For more…

If you enjoyed these previews and predictions, feel free to follow me on Twitter as I continue my journey in sports journalism and continued coverage of CFBISD football.

Thanks for reading! And, as always, Go ‘Stangs!

Originally published at https://baesch.substack.com.

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Brett Esch

Native Texan. Communication Arts major at Bethel College. Sports and freelance journalist.