Hirschi junior Javian Frazier couldn’t bring himself to watch the Class 4A Division I state football championship game between Stephenville and Austin LBJ last season.
The wound from a narrow 38-35 loss to Stephenville in the state semifinals was still too fresh.
On the other hand, A’Marion Peterson, Hirschi’s highly-recruited running back, watched every second of Stephenville’s 38-21 domination of LBJ, thinking about what might have been.
“I really think if we could have beaten Stephenville, then we would have beaten LBJ for the state title,” Peterson said. “Or I think about what if we had played LBJ in the semifinals instead of Stephenville. I just think we played in the real state title game.”
Eight months later, Peterson and Huskies are trying not to live in the past, with new head coach Lawrence Johnson and his staff preaching for the team to move forward.
Easier said than done.
But it’s one of several reasons the Huskies are anxious to get the 2022 season underway and begin a new pursuit of program history.
When the Huskies line up across from Clint in their neutral-site season opener Aug. 25 in Andrews, they will be ranked third in the state at the Class 4A Division II level. Only perennial state contenders Carthage and Gilmer are ranked ahead of the Huskies, placing them in elite company.
“That’s pretty cool to get that kind of recognition,” Frazier said, “but we don’t really talk about it except that we want to be No. 1. We’ve still got work to do.”
“None of that really matters. We still have to go out there and prove it,” Peterson added. “I’m not really paying attention to all of that. If we don’t win then it doesn’t mean anything.”
Peterson is the focal point of the Hirschi offense after rushing for 1,817 yards and 28 TDs. But the USC commit can’t be the sole focus of opposing defenses.
The Huskies also have a Division I commit at receiver in senior Jamarion Carroll, who recently verbally committed to SMU. Carroll set Hirschi single-season records with 66 receptions for 1,132 yards and 15 TDs.
Hirschi featured two quarterbacks throughout last season with Terrius Causey and Jimmell McFalls sharing reps. That trend likely continues early in the season, but Causey has also been getting work at receiver, catching a TD pass from McFalls in the team’s scrimmage against Fort Worth Dunbar.
The offensive line is Hirschi’s biggest question mark, but Johnson feels confident the Huskies will find the right group up front. AJ Valdez is expected to play one of the tackle positions. Caden Resendez and Izayiah Mackey are also two key pieces up front.
Frazier is the top returner for the Huskies after setting a school record with 15 sacks during his sophomore year. Frazier is certain to draw plenty of attention from blocking schemes, but Reginald Demps can make opponents pay at the other defensive end position.
Anighus Nash is coming off a knee injury but should be one of the starting linebackers. Isaiah Flores and Willie Thomas are also in the mix for a starting spot at linebacker.
Carroll will see plenty of reps on both sides of the ball like he did last year, taking cornerback responsibilities in certain scenarios. Causey has also been getting reps at corner.
D’Marion Gatewood has joined the football team after being a starter for Hirschi’s state runnerup basketball team. Gatewood is expected to play a lot at corner.
Sammy Worthy and Micah Walker give the Huskies varsity experience in the secondary.
This unit isn’t always addressed in the TRN Sports football previews, but it’s a must for the Huskies, who returned a large number of kickoffs and punts for touchdowns. The two guys who accounted for most of those return TDs, Jewel Fletcher and Jaleal Minniefield, are now playing college football.
Carroll had two return TDs last season and will be a threat back there. Johnson believes City View transfer Jordan Petty and Gatewood are also strong candidates in the return game.
Hirschi has had just two undefeated regular seasons in program history. The first was 1967 when the Huskies went 8-0-2 but didn’t make the playoffs. The other was in 1980 with a 10-0 team losing in the first round of the postseason. According to PigskinPrep.com, the Huskies are favored to win all 10 games on their 2022 regular season schedule.
Head Coach: Lawrence Johnson (first year)
Last year’s record: 12-3
Returning starters: 8 offense, 4 defense
Base offense/defense: Spread/4-2-5
Last playoff appearance: 2021 (Lost to Stephenville in state semis)
Last district title: 2021
Aug. 25 vs. Clint (at Andrews) 7 p.m.
Sept. 1 vs. Brock 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Springtown 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 vs. Carrollton Ranchview (H) 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 vs. Decatur 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 at Graham* 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 vs. Snyder* 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 at Sweetwater* 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 vs. Midland Greenwood* 7 p.m.
PLAYER TO WATCH: QB/WR/DB Terrius Causey (Sr.) −Causey has proven he can be a viable varsity quarterback, and he’ll get his opportunity to impact the game with his arm. But with sophomore Jimmell McFalls pushing for reps too, Causey has made it a point to learn the receiver and cornerback positions.
GAME TO WATCH: Sept. 1 vs. Brock – The Eagles open the season as the No. 1 team in 3A Division I, presenting the Huskies with a true early-season challenge.