When we talk postseason possibilities in Class 5A Division II, the discussion on the local front has to start with the Cedar Hill Longhorns.
After winning a state championship in 2006, the Longhorns have thrust themselves into the upper echelon of top programs in the area, and head coach Joey McGuire can expect to see the same this year after they went 12-2 last season before bowing out of the playoffs two wins short of the state championship game.
The Longhorns don't even try to play around with opposing teams. They are a smashmouth, in-your-face team, and they fit that mold perfectly. It starts up front with a mammoth offensive line led by guard Adam Shead, and really gets cranked up with running back Ben Malena, who's committed to Texas A&M after rushing for 2,202 yards and 35 touchdowns last season.
At quarterback, the Longhorns have one of the great up-and-coming quarterbacks in the area in Driphus Jackson, a dual-threat QB who is looking to build on his sophomore season.
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On defense, it's all about linebacker Aaron Benson. After amassing 155 tackles, seven sacks and three picks last year, Benson committed to Texas. He'll be the unquestioned leader of the Longhorns' defense.
Cedar Hill will face its toughest challenges on the way in the postseason from Southlake Carroll and Wylie, but will eventually wind up in the championship game against defending champion, and the state's top-ranked team, Katy. Based off experience returning alone, I like McGuire & Co.'s chances to win their second state title in four years.