HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

Georgetown maintaining expectations despite losing playmakers

The Eagles have a pair of dominant defensive linemen returning

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Every UIL district realignment comes with a new set of challenges. For Georgetown head coach Jason Dean, having new district opponents is only one obstacle in a preseason spent preparing for the 2018 campaign.

The losses of starting quarterback Cooper Bell and star wide receiver Caden Leggett pose the biggest troubles for coach Dean and the squad. Bell and Leggett led the Eagles squad to a 9-3 (6-2) record before being bounced in the area round by College Station.

Always a team loaded on senior talent, though, Dean has been here before and still expects a postseason run.

"We're always very senior-heavy," he said. "Last year we played with 35 seniors, this year we have 36, and we've played with as many as 52 seniors before. Any time you're graduating that many seniors, it's a different team when you come back. I think we'll be in the mix to win the district championship. Our goals start at being a playoff football team...but after that is winning a district championship."

They say defense wins championships, and Dean was elated when discussing his defensive core. Starting with the frontline going back, the Eagles boast a strong and experienced defense all around the turf.

"We've got two returning all-district players out there, Mason Meyer at defensive end and Tyler Noles lining up at the nose guard spot. Both of them are dominant on the defensive line," he said.

Dean, entering his 10th season as the head coach at Georgetown, described his defense as the biggest component of the 2013 state finalist team he coached. It's clear that his approach to building a winning team begins with the off side of the ball.

"We've got a brand new core of linebackers, we're replacing all three of our starters from last year, but we feel good about our new kids coming up. We've got two returning starters at cornerback who played there all last year in Johnny Neitsch and Taco Williams. And you've got Gage Leggett back there, Caden's little brother."

Overall, the defense projects to be the focal point of Georgetown's efforts in a district title try, but in terms of scoring, Dean points to a tough and reliable offensive line as the centerfold of a new offense.

"It's gonna start up front, with those guys," he said. "It hasn't been that way in a few years. We've been really good at the skill positions, but this year we've got four quality offensive linemen returning from last year's team that we feel pretty good about."

The sturdy offensive line will assist new starting quarterback Jackson Sioson in getting acclimated to real, in-game situations. "[The offense] may not be as explosive as it has been in the past, but we'll still be flying all over the field."

The outlook for the season from Dean is all about finding chemistry with a new group of players.

Georgetown joins Cedar Park, Hutto, Rouse, Manor, Pflugerville, and Pflugerville Connally in District 11-5A, Division I for the upcoming season and the next. Georgetown begins the season at Abilene Wylie on Aug. 31.

"This team gets along together well. They enjoy being around each other and they're fun to coach," he said.

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