Week 1 Preview: #10 Decatur vs. #2 Argyle
High school football officially kicked off in Texas on Thursday night, but we get our first taste of Friday Night Lights with a big Metroplex showdown in 4A - pitting No. 10 Decatur against #2 Argyle.
It's been three years since these two foes have faced off with Argyle dominating Decatur 62-21 back when both schools were in 4-4A DI. It's very possible, though, this year's iteration could be just as lopsided despite these teams combining for 25-2 records last year.
The Eagles of Decatur roll into the season opener with a lot of question marks on offense after losing its nine main contributors from a season ago. Decatur racked up more than 6,418 yards on offense on the way to a 12-1 finish and getting into the third round of the playoffs.
According to MaxPreps, more than 95 percent of those yards are replaced due to graduations as the leading returning player is wideout David Juarez, who racked up 25 receptions for 507 yards and six touchdowns.
Landon Howell replaces Roman Fuller at quarterback in 2020 after completing 11 of 19 passes for 88 yards last year in spot duty. Howell is also the team's leading returning rusher from last year with 74 yards. Head coach Mike Fuller will lean on the senior's dual threat ability to guide Decatur's offense in 2020 with hopes of a deeper run in the playoffs.
A season ago, Argyle was a strong contender for a the 4A Division I state crown, especially going into Waco La Vega in Week 2 and walking out with a 14-point win. However, the rematch in the Regional Final went to La Vega and Argyle ended the season at 13-1.
Argyle comes into the 2020 having lost Bo Hogeboom (3,701 passing yards, 56 TDs) to graduation and will turn to senior CJ Rogers to guide the team. Luckily for head coach Todd Rodgers, his Eagles bring back running back Tito Byce, who missed the last six games of the year but still racked up 822 yards (102.8 yards per game) and junior Knox Scoggins and his 661 yards.
Cole Kirkpatrick also returns to help the new signal caller after nabbing 67 catches for 1,688 yards and 28 touchdowns. Kirkpatrick flies under the radar in recruiting, but he certainly altered games for Argyle last year, which included an 11-catch, 290-yard performance in the Regional Semifinals against Brownwood.
Previewing the Game
TexasFootball.com lists Argyle as 12-point favorites, and that seems a bit generous to Decatur. While Decatur has nine returning starters from a year ago, losing such a great amount of its offensive contributions from a year ago is hard to overcome, especially in Week 1. There is a lot of unknown for Howell as the starting QB.
Last year's numbers mirror each other pretty well, as seen below.
But it's hard to overstate the level of skill returning to Argyle against the level for Decatur - a known quantity vs. uncertainty. The team that can control the trenches will most likely walk out as victors. Both teams gave up more than 200 yards on the ground per game last year, but Argyle was able to match that unlike Decatur.
Expect Byce and Kirkpatrick to see a lot of early action in this one to help Rogers settle in and guide Argyle to a win.
Prediction: Argyle 41, Decatur 24
Follow @iamspeters for live updates of this game.
On another prediction note, I'll be running my predictions with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in competition with nine other plugged into the DFW high school football scene.
That can be seen here: https://www.star-telegram.com/sports/dfwvarsity/pr...
My picks for Week 1 are bolded below:
Bushland vs Brock
Benbrook vs China Spring
McGregor vs Lake Worth
Springtown vs Glen Rose
Wichita Falls Hirschi vs Midlothian Heritage
Decatur vs Argyle
Waxahachie Life vs Godley
Graham vs Alvarado
Burkburnett vs Aubrey
Peaster vs Venus