Questions we have for Palo Duro without spring football

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The Palo Duro Dons return 15 starters on a team hoping to improve off a 3-7 overall record last season. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]

Editors note: This is the second of a three-part look at Amarillo ISD schools that were going to participate in spring football.

Before the world shutdown from the coronavirus pandemic Class 6A and 5A schools would have had one last round of high school football with spring workouts throughout the month of May.

Instead, nobody got a glimpse of the next wave of new starters and impactful newcomers.

So let’s take a look at questions surrounding the Palo Duro Dons for the upcoming 2020 season.

Palo Duro Dons 2020 bio

Head coach: Chris Fisher, 5th season at Palo Duro, 10-30; 5th year overall.

2019 Record: 3-7 overall.

Returning starters

Offense: 7

Defense: 8

Noteworthy: The Dons are looking for their first winning season, and playoff berth since the 2014 season.

Questions that weren’t answered for Palo Duro

WHO WILL THE QB?

With quarterback Dondray Degrate on his way to graduating head coach Chris Fisher finds himself in need of a signal caller for the first time in three years. Degrate was a steady hand for the Dons over the past three seasons, making 30 starts and throwing for over nearly 5,000 yards.

The question that didn’t get answered in the spring is who’s next. Seniors Caleb Bernal and Noel Marquez were suppose to battle it out through spring camp, however, neither got the advantage of being tested by a live defense. Both Bernal and Marquez have been two-year starters on defense, so when the Dons resume later in the summer, Fisher says he has confidence in whoever takes the reigns.

WHO WILL FILL AT THE SKILL

The offensive line should be intact with Edgar Flores, T.J. Warren and Rylee Brown all returning. But the Dons lost key players at the skill position in Anthony Randle at running back, along with Israel Guevara and Esley Fields at receiver. Fisher is high on speedy junior-to-be running back Tyrese Moseby, though he didn’t get the touches in spring. Kameron Brown, Michael Wesley and Jaden Carranza are also suppose to step up and help on the outside at receiver.

The Dons returns three starters on the defensive line. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]

HOW WILL THE DEFENSE LOOK?

The Dons are happy with what they have returning on the defensive line to go with a veteran secondary, but without spring practices Palo Duro was unable to find depth for its 4-2-5 scheme.

Up front, senior Kenneth Anderson (5-10, 240) is the most experienced lineman returning. Hezekiah Williams and Ian Crosslin, the brother of former Palo Duro star and Oklahoma State fullback Julius Crosslin will also play big roles.

The linebacker spot maybe the most concerning position for the Dons, especially if Caleb Bernal earns the starting job. Bernal has been dependable making 20 straight starts the past two years.

While the linebacker position has its concerns, the Palo Duro secondary looks to be the teams biggest strength. Antwon Lockett, Michael Wesley, Noel Marquez and Kameron Brown make up a speedy unit. But as mentioned earlier, without spring ball coach Fisher didn’t get a chance for young players to get key reps, and establish themselves in a backup role.

Palo Duro Dons 2020 schedule

Aug. 28: vs. Seminole

Sept. 3: vs. Plainview

Sept. 11: at WF High

Sept. 18: at Borger

Sept. 24: vs. Tascosa*

Oct. 2: vs. Lubbock Coronado*

Oct. 16: at Lubbock High*

Oct. 22: at Amarillo High*

Oct. 30: vs. Caprock*

Nov. 6: vs. Lubbock Monterey*

*District games

Note: All kickoffs at 7 p.m.

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