By Elliott Moore, CBSDFW.COM

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Defending 4A state champion Denton Guyer (1) returns senior quarterback Jerrod Heard along with an improved defense. They open the season against 5A Cedar Hill (5) and love to play early season tests to help strengthen them for the season.

Aledo (2) plays Highland Park (4) in the Tom Landry Classic in Week 0 as one of the best games in DFW among traditional powers. Both have become regulars in the rankings year after year, and this is most likely Aledo’s toughest game this regular season. Aledo has a familiar name at quarterback to lead them in Luke Bishop, along with running back Jess Anders, linebacker Jordan Mittie and (my favorite name) wide receiver Taco Anderson.

Meanwhile, Highland Park is reloading after losing 10 offensive starters to graduation and being shocked by Frisco in the first round of the playoffs last year. The Scots will ahve a very experienced defense to carry the team, led by linebacker Tanner Houghton and the D-line.

Mesquite Poteet (3) returns from their deep playoff run with a lot of talent and potential, led by linebacker Malik Jefferson and wide receiver Nathaniel Gaines. They have a new face at the helm this season with Cody Groves, defensive coordinator last season. Coach Randy Jackson left for Plano East in the offseason.

Ennis (5) surprised a lot of people last year, but they won’t sneak up on anybody this year. Running back Terrence Williams is one of the best runners in the state, and he should get a ton of carries as Ennis grinds out victories.

Lucas Lovejoy (6) was undefeated during the regular season last year, only to get bounced in the second round of the playoffs by eventual state runner up Lancaster (7). They are led by standout sophomore quarterback Bowman Sells, who had an amazing freshman campaign. And Lancaster returns a ton of athleticism from a state runner up team, even with the transfer of Nick Harvey to Fort Bend Bush for his senior season. Expect Nick Alexander to lead the team on both sides of the ball for Coach Chris Gilbert.

Dallas Lincoln (8) standout wide receiver Emmanuel Porter will try to replicate the 10-2 record from last season. They should have the easiest schedule among ranked teams on this list, and should truly be tested in the playoffs.

West Mesquite (9) has a tough district with Mesquite Poteet and Highland Park. But their strength is in their defense and free safety Dylan Summer-Gardner. The offense will be pretty potent as well with junior quarterback Chase Virgil returning a lot of talent from an 8-3 team a year ago.

Wylie (10) returns six starters on each side of the ball, and that experience should help them be close to the top of their district. The first four games of the season will be the measuring stick on how good the Pirates will be this season. A district matchup against Lucas Lovejoy on September 27 will be their best district test of the year.

Birdville (11) returns with electric running back Xavier Turner from a 13-1 regional finalist team. Expect another undefeated regular season, and let’s see how far they can march through the playoffs this year.

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