CORINTH — It’s enough of a positive for Lake Dallas coach Michael Young that he has a returning quarterback who threw for 29 touchdowns and nearly 2,000 yards as a sophomore.
Perhaps the most encouraging thing for Young and signal caller Dagan Haehn is that they might have the best, most experienced offensive line the Falcons have had in years.
Coming off a season cut short of the playoffs, the Falcons are looking to return to the postseason in 2014 in a new district and with a junior class loaded with talent, including Haehn and receiver Keegan Brewer.
“The offensive line is going to be so much better,” Young said after watching his team play its spring game Saturday morning. “Back five or six years ago when James [Franklin] was here, he was a great quarterback, but we had a great offensive line. We had a kid [Daryl Williams] that is at Oklahoma now and will be a first- or second-round draft pick, and we had some other kids that were good. That was a huge part of our success. I think this is the best group we’ve had since then, by far.”
Last season — Haehn’s first as a starter — he was chased out of his comfort zone on several occasions due to an inexperienced offensive front, but Young expects 2014 to be different in the trenches.
The Falcons return three offensive linemen who started every game last year — Dalton Montgomery, Cody Pierce and Chase Stanley — and another in Travis Frederickson who started three games.
That gives them a solid base of experience to protect Haehn and pave the way for the Falcons’ change-of-pace running game.
“The thing I’ve really liked about the spring the most is the offensive line,” Young said. “If those guys can play well, Dagan’s going to be really good. He’s gotten bigger and stronger and can be really good.”
On Saturday, Haehn went 7-for-10 for 119 yards while rushing for 66 yards and another score before a botched shotgun snap from the White team’s 10-yard line with 30 seconds remaining marred his day with the Green team as the White’s Josiah Tauaefa recovered the ball and secured a 24-21 win in the scrimmage.
Lake Dallas will be in Class 5A and share District 6-5A with Birdville, Grapevine and four Fort Worth ISD schools. Former district foes Guyer and Trophy Club Nelson moved up to the new Class 6A, removing some competition for the district title.
“We feel good about the spring because we’ve done a lot offensively,” Young said. “We were able to run a lot of different formations today. I think the biggest thing now is just the summer and the weight room. We just have to all be committed and be here.”
Tauaefa does it all
Senior-to-be Tauaefa was the defensive MVP on the District 5-4A team following the 2013 season, and the Falcons’ new group of opponents can expect much of the same in 2014, plus a lot more.
Tauaefa was a jack-of-all-trades in Saturday’s spring game, starting at defensive tackle and recovering the game-clinching fumble before emphatically spiking the ball as his teammates mobbed him.
He also was a star offensively, scoring on a designed keeper as a wildcat quarterback and adding another touchdown on a 20-yard reception from Brett Sasser on a jump ball in the corner of the end zone.
“If we can find some guys that can play inside, he’s going to play offense a lot,” Young said. “We’d love him to play 80 percent of the snaps on defense and 30-40 percent on offense, if we can. He catches the ball. He can run and block. He hammered some people on some running plays today.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.