The Tascosa Rebels were unable to participate in spring football workouts due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. [Kale Steed/ Press Pass Sports]Editors note: This is the first 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 the questions surrounding the Tascosa Rebels for the upcoming 2020 season.
Tascosa Rebels bio
Head coach: Ken Plunk, 12th season at Tascosa, 71-58; 14th year overall, 88-63.
2019 Record: 10-4 overall. Lost to Denton Guyer, 48-7, in the Class 6A Division II state quarterfinals.
Noteworthy: The Rebels dropped into Class 5A Division I for the upcoming 2020-2022 UIL realignment.
WHAT HAPPENS AT QUARTERBACK?
For the first time in two years the Rebels will have to run their vaunted Flexbone offense without the masterful Joseph Plunk under center. With Plunk and his 2,400 plus rushing yards on his way to Texas Tech, both senior Ryan Barnett and junior B.T. Daniel were suppose to get plenty of reps during spring ball to hopefully figure out Plunk’s replacement.
Barnett (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) was the backup last season, seeing limited action.
Daniel (6-foot, 185 pounds) was the junior varsity QB most of last season before being moved up for the playoffs. Daniels also got minimal snaps, but was utilized more as a linebacker during the Rebels postseason run.
WHO STEPS UP ON THE OL
The offensive line is the group that will hurt from missing out on spring ball the most. The Rebels graduated 80 percent of their offensive line, including center Brandon Gonzales, tackle Sobhan Soleymani and guard Logan Fulton, who made a combined 86 starts the past two seasons.
Senior Ollie Swope is the lone starter back in 2020 for Tascosa, while junior Caden Beghtel saw some playing time. Beghtel is expected to replace Gonzales at center. Juniors Brooks Leinen and Levi Hand are two more that will contribute, but with Tascosa having such a timely offense, and the line playing such an important role, missing spring was definitely frustrating for this crew.
Tascosa’s Darius Sanders, left, and Kaden Thurman (47) celebrate after a turnover last season. [John Moore/ Press Pass Sports]
HOW WILL THE DEFENSE LOOK?
Tascosa saw six starters from its 4-2-5 base defense graduate off last year’s team with no bigger name leaving than L.B. Moore. The Rebs top pass rusher the past two years is on his way to Texas Tech. So where does that leave the defensive line?
Senior Carson Ozbun played a significant amount opposite of Moore last season, while senior Koby Cerda could also be a force. Who will be most effected from the spring is incoming sophomore Avion Carter. Carter (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) has potential written all over him but didn’t get many varsity reps without spring ball. Linebacker and the secondary position should be Tascosa’s strong suit. Darius Sanders could have more of a role at linebacker than last year. Seniors Anthony Tuttle and Keevin Ledoux are also back.
In the secondary, coach Ken Plunk and his staff are very high on safety Kaden Thurman. Thurman was a big time cover man a year ago, and is expected to have a greater impact as a strong safety in 2020. Junior speedster Major Everhart will play both ways at running back and safety, and D.J. Tatum returns at corner.
Aug. 28: at Abilene High
Sept. 4: vs. Midland Lee
Sept. 11: vs. Odessa Permian (Buffalo Stadium, Canyon)
Sept. 18: at San Angelo Central
Sept. 24: at Palo Duro*
Oct. 2: vs. Lubbock High*
Oct. 9: at Amarillo High*
Oct. 15: vs. Caprock*
Oct. 23: at Lubbock Monterey*
Nov. 5: vs. Lubbock Coronado*
Note: All kickoffs at 7 p.m.