ENNIS — The Lions of Ennis made a good showing in their controlled scrimmage against Lake Dallas this past Friday evening and seventh-year head coach Jack Alvarez is expecting a lot out of his 29 returning seniors this season.
He boasts that he has seniors in almost every key position, which he feels should help the overall maturity of the Lions. Alvarez said he also hopes to bring another football state championship to the city of Ennis.
The last ring won by the Lions came after defeating Cedar Park in the 2014 5A State Championship at AT&T Stadium. The title game was the fourth for the Lions since 2000 — 2000 over West Orange-Stark, 2001 over Bay City, 2004 over Marshall, and the Alvarez-coached team over Cedar Park in 2014.
With district realignments still a year away, the Lions are still part of the largely East Texas based District 17-5A in Region III. Coach Alvarez feels most of the teams in their grouping are very competitive, but views the top three to be Corsicana, Whitehouse, and Nacogdoches.
Alvarez noted that the Lions do have a tough schedule ahead of them, as they only play four home games, versus six long, hard road trips to East Texas and one match in Del Valle in central Texas near Austin. Their first district challenge will be Oct. 13 when they travel to Whitehouse.
According to Alvarez, the Lions are going to be very dependent on their senior leaders stepping to guide the team this season. He also noted that his players have worked very hard during the off-season, where they focused on core value training, as well as sharpening leadership skills.
According to Alvarez, key personnel includes:
Tycen Thompson — running back and corner Kade Graff — quarterback Chris McDonald and Trevon Oakley — wide receivers Jordan McCray — tackle/guard Salvador Castenada — guard Chris Adams — tackle Dillon Jurcik — guard Brandon Harlan — guard Brayan Gonzalez — middle linebacker Kevion Gabriel (K.G.) — cornerback K.D. Davis — strong safety/wide receiver. The Lions have a nice balance of star players on both sides of the ball this season, Alvarez said, and also boast good size on their offensive and defensive lines.
Ennis hits the field this Friday night at home against Dallas South Oak Cliff.