Southwest coach Tim Neal believes his star quarterback Deundre Pickett-White can have a historic senior season.
“Coach showed me the Dade County passing records of [former Northwestern quarterback] Jacory Harris and others,” Pickett-White said. “Breaking those marks is my goal this season.”
Pickett-White (6-1, 210 pounds) already completed 88 of 178 passes for 2,140 yards, with 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions last season.
If he improves upon those numbers, Pickett-White would have a great chance to lead Southwest to its third consecutive district championship.
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Pickett-White is hoping the Eagles can make a little team history too by winning the school’s first playoff game and becoming the first team from District 15-8A to win a playoff game since the district’s current group of teams were brought together a decade ago.
“One thing we learned is that once we’re out of our district, other teams are fast and we have to find a way to keep up,” Pickett-White said. “We can’t let up and get comfortable from getting used to winning and relaxing.’’
Pickett-White, who said he has offers from Marshall, South Florida, South Alabama and Cincinnati, is one of 14 starters returning for the Eagles including his favorite target — fellow senior Trevon Sands (5-11, 185), who ran for a team-high 635 yards and 11 touchdowns and caught a team-high 21 passes for 572 yards and seven touchdowns.
In addition to Sands, the Eagles return seniors Wilson Palacios, Daquantay Smith and Sam Flowers, all of whom had productive seasons in 2013.
Southwest’s defense also returns seven starters, led by senior cornerback Quindale Corker.
But Sands and Pickett-White have been a part of Southwest’s surge to a perennial playoff team.
And they want to make the best of their last chance to put Southwest among the county’s elite.
“It’s our time now since we’re seniors,” Sands said. “It’s time to step up and get this done.”
TEAM TO BEAT
Southwest enters as the favorite to win its third consecutive district championship with seven starters each returning on offense and defense. Pickett-White and Sands lead the talented group that helped the Eagles average 36.7 points per game last season and will need that kind of potent offense again if it can hold off Belen and the rest of its competitive district. The Eagles’ talent at the skill positions is solid.
Corker. Coming off a junior season in which he had four interceptions, expect Corker to make a bigger impact on the Eagles’ defense this season.
Southwest at Belen, 4 p.m., Sept. 19.
•Predicted order of finish:
1. Southwest; 2. Belen; 3. Varela; 4. Ferguson; 5. Braddock; 6. Sunset.