Ellis County football previews: Life hopes stability provides a boost

Chaotic 2020 season prevented Mustangs from achieving momentum

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light
Life Waxahachie quarterback Colby Grmela (18) follows the lead blocking of Elyjah Berry (5) during a game last season. Grmela returns as the Mustangs' starting signal-caller in 2021.

A crazy 2020 season beset by injuries, COVID-19 and a tough schedule never allowed Life High School Waxahachie to establish any momentum in Micah Stanley’s first season as head football coach.

But with the flip of the calendar, the slate has been wiped clean and, with some hoped-for stability in place, the Mustangs will strive to battle for a playoff berth in one of the state’s strongest Class 4A Division I districts.

A rebuilding Life team finished 2-7 last season with victories over Brownsboro and Alvarado, and this year’s Mustangs are still somewhat light on returning experience and depth.

But on the plus side, five starters from 2020 return on offense, and operate in a spread system that’s been in place for eight years now with Stanley having previously served as Life’s offensive coordinator.

Junior Colby Grmela returns after winning the starting quarterback job last year. In six games, Grmela completed 59 passes for 580 yards and four touchdowns. Kaiden Mayfield, who also took some signal-calling snaps as a freshman, moves to running back.

Senior Dreylon Dequire and junior Cason Rogers are back at wide receiver, and senior Andrew Woodard and junior Jonah Neal return on the offensive line, where they’ll be joined by Brent Lofton.

Lots of new faces will be on defense as only three starters from a year ago are back. Senior Devin Dolloway holds down a defensive line spot, and senior Clinton Reese and junior Ashton Hill will line up at linebacker once again and will be joined by Derick Armstrong.

Dequire, the team’s top returning tackler with 37 stops along with three interceptions and five pass deflections, and senior Darrin Jackson will start in the secondary along with newcomer Jacob Brewer.

The Mustangs were scheduled for a preseason scrimmage at Saginaw High School on Friday and will travel to Grandview for another scrimmage next Friday, Aug. 19. The season opens at home Friday, Aug. 27 at home against Waco Connally.

Life will host North Dallas on Sept. 10 for homecoming. After hosting Texarkana Liberty-Eylau on Sept. 24, the Mustangs will open District 5-4A play Oct. 8 at Alvarado.

District 5-4A (I): Life Waxahachie Mustangs

Head coach: Micah Stanley (2nd year at school and overall, 2-7)

2020 Record: 2-7, 1-4

Enrollment: 944

Returning lettermen: 12

Returning starters: 5 offense, 3 defense