CORINTH — When Lake Dallas head coach Michael Young was asked about a defensive line similar to the line he’s currently coaching, he began to reminisce about 2006.
That was the year the Falcons made it to the regional semifinals for the first time since moving up to Class 4A, a feat the team repeated last season.
He leaned over his cluttered desk and referred to a framed 2006 team collage resting against the wall, recalling relatively low-scoring victories over Terrell and Frisco — games mainly won by the defensive line.
Lake Dallas begins its season tonight at home against Richardson Pearce at 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised locally on KTXA-TV (Channel 21).
Like in 2006, Young will look to his defensive line to help carry the Falcons back to the postseason.
“I think our defensive line has a chance to win a lot of games for us, and we need them to,” Young said. “We need them to be dominant. That’s where our experience and our good players are at. They need to come through for us.”
Grayson Schantz, Luke Medlicott and Colton Lively anchor Lake Dallas’ new 3-4 defensive formation, with Medlicott sandwiched between defensive ends Schantz and Lively.
The switch is one of many for the Falcons heading into the season. Along with the defensive scheme change, the Falcons will opt to run the ball much more instead of passing it. Senior quarterback Marshall Dominy takes over for Dalyn Williams and will lead the offense.
For Young and the Falcons, he believes his defensive line will play the most integral role in his team’s success this season.
“When you have a really good defensive line, it makes everything easier on defense and it makes it easier offensively for you, because you have better field position [and] you get more turnovers,” Young said. “A good defensive line can have a trickle-down effect on your whole team, probably more than any other position in football.”
Schantz has received offers from Texas-El Paso and North Texas, while Texas A&M has shown some interest in having the 6-3, 245-pound senior play outside linebacker. In 2011, Schantz earned the District 4-4A co-newcomer of the year award and posted better numbers than one of the nation’s top recruits, former Ryan defensive end Mario Edwards.
“It stressed me out a lot that he was getting all the recognition; I wasn’t getting anything and I had better stats than him,” Schantz said of Edwards. “But it gave me motivation to keep going out there.”
Schantz, Medlicott and Lively all started for the Falcons last season. The trio will look to offset a trend of losing season openers in demoralizing fashion. The last two seasons, Lake Dallas has blown big leads in its first game and lost.
Young said his biggest concern has been preparing the Falcons for whatever Pearce throws his team’s way.
“For a lot of people it’s all about getting yourself ready for everything,” Young said regarding the team’s first week. “It’s hard to prepare for the other people. We’ve seen them scrimmage and that’s about it.”
Young said that if the defensive line stays healthy, it could be one of the better defensive lines in the area.
“I think they can be, and I think they should be, and I think they want to be that,” Young said. “They feel like they should be.”
Lively agrees with his head coach. As for the team, Lively said the Falcons need to reverse the recent trend.
“We need to set the tone for the season — that’s one thing,” Lively said. “We always come out and lose two games, it seems like.
“It’s time to start winning at the beginning of the season.”
BEN BABY can be reached 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .