2018, a sophomore RB named Phonzo Dotson was leading the Abilene Eagles to what surely looked like a playoff birth. Dotson's season was ended early with injury & the Eagle offense never really recovered the balance they had had, missing the playoffs.
2019, a junior RB named Phonzo Dotson starts the season as the heart & soul of the Eagle offense. The offense goes on to have identity struggles all year, running 2, 3, even 4 different quarterbacks if you include Dotson in the wildcat. Not that Abbe, Ezzell, Ramirez weren't / aren't talented at the position, it just seemed every game it was a new offensive experiment. It never really stopped sputtering in any home game all year.
Class of 2021 #24 WR Jeshari Houston kicks off the season with an opening kick return to the house
Fast forward to tonight. 2020. I was curious who was going to pick up the flag & LEAD the Eagles out onto the field. Last year it was Xavier Graves (cover of AHS vs Trinity magazine, coming soon...) & Xavier was also a beast in the middle of the Eagle's Steel Curtain defense. The player leading the team out of the tunnel needs to be the player that actually has the heartbeat of the team, comes through like the big brother when times get tough. When I saw Phonzo standing in front of the giant bounce house eagle with the flag, I was like, "hell yea." Because the Eagles team as a whole lost... everybody. Jeshari Houston, Dylan Worgull & Phonzo are really the only returning starters that I remember from last year. Jaryn Talmadge & Nate Seballos had significant minutes as well...
But? Wait? Jeshari just returned the opening kickoff for a TD? That's the last I saw him most of the night, definitely very limited use. I don't think he was technically even a starter? He was ISO with Tascosa's #2 CB all night on an island when he was in, with one target (he caught)?
Phonzo came in as QB on first posession, deep inside there own 20, but he was handing the ball off? As soon as I saw him hand off, I knew, I knew it right then. Like a horrible rotting, disgusted knot in my stomach. This is what it's gonna be, a slap-stick offense all over again. But, no. It got worse? #8 was not even going to be the featured RB all game. He's coming off the bench like Frank Gore. Eagles put him out to pasture, this is really how it's going to go down for the senior year of the Sophomore Sensation that was Phonzo Dotson?
NO FLIPPIN WAY. No way.
Class of 2021 #5 DB / S Joseph Woodyard stepping up to bring the Eagles back into striking distance with this INT
Immediately after the game, I had to do some research! Is Phonzo hurt? Is Phonzo skipping school? Is Phonzo flunking? Why after 3 years of being the work horse for this offense, in a game that was totally within grasp!!! He was nowhere to be found, coming off the bench?? WHAT? No offensive strategy around the featured 3 year varsity RB?
During the off-season, I had heard he really is an OLB & the Eagle coaching staff was going to re-allocate his talents. Ok, they needed him there??!! Where was he?? Tascosa was running the exact same, classic played out option offense they were running a year ago & they ran out the clock exactly how they did a year ago, too... omg. Their #1, #18 Darius Sanders was injured & barely able to run. This coulda, shoulda been a lot more bloody for this brand new, very green Eagle's defense. Because, Sanders likes to inflict pain & last year he did it on both sides of the ball...
Well, you'll be glad to hear, Phonzo is doing just fine.
You'll probably be sad to hear, Eagle's offense still has no identity, no strategy & looks like it's picking up right where it left off. Unfortunately, it does get worse. Looks like they are doing it without Phonzo Dotson as the featured RB & without Jeshari Houston as the featured WR.
Senior DE #52 Dylan Worgull is the only returning defensive starter. He surprised Tascosa’s QB #15 BT Daniel, nearly popping his helmet off along with dislodging the football, then landing with on him with all his weight.