By Clay Fowler
Killeen Daily Herald
What we do know is that Shoemaker and Round Rock McNeil will play football at 7:30 tonight at Leo Buckley Stadium.
What we don't know? Well, there are a few things, not the least of which is what McNeil quarterback Jadrien Parker, who threw for 1,660 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, will look like when he takes his first snap this season, which is expected tonight.
The senior, who has been held out due to an undisclosed injury, led the 5A Mavericks to the state quarterfinals last year but he couldn't get them by Shoemaker Week 3.
The Grey Wolves handed McNeil a 39-22 defeat last season at Round Rock ISD stadium before dropping four of their next five games and out of the playoff race.
However, absent from the McNeil lineup that night was 2004 all-district running back Camron Rogers, arguably the most vital piece to the Mavericks playoff run.
"They were trying to preserve him for district just like they're doing with the quarterback this year," said Shoemaker head coach Ken Gray. "I'd do the same thing if it was one of my players."
While one of the Mavericks' most important skill players has been under wraps this season, Shoemaker's running back-quarterback combination of Chris Poullard and Keith Smith has produced 10 touchdowns and 657 total yards between them in two blowout wins to open the season.
"They're as talented a 5A football team as there is," McNeil coach Robert Wilcox said of the Grey Wolves. "Their skill kids were good last year and now they have another year under their belt."
No.7 in the Austin American-Statesman 4A/5A Central Texas football poll, the Mavericks (2-0) apparently have some talent as well.
Rogers' 378 rushing yards and four touchdowns in two games are ample evidence. After returning from an ankle sprain in the 2004 season opener, the 5-foot-4 152-pound scat back rushed for 1,280 yards in 10 games leading up to the state quarterfinal.
"But we've lost some of the guys who played in the state quarterfinal," said Wilcox.
Said Gray, "From what I've seen I think they're a better team than they were last year."
While Shoemaker has seven offensive starters back from 2004, McNeil is returning six on each side of the ball, but gone to Sam Houston State are the 68 receptions of Jake Lebens, whom the Grey Wolves know well. The 6-foot-4 receiver compiled 99 yards and two touchdowns in last year's meeting with SHS.
At least Shoemaker knows he won't be playing tonight.
No matter the quarterback or running back they face Gray said Shoemaker won't change its scheme.
"If it's one or two people," he said "we'll make those adjustments in the game"
Contact Clay Fowler at firstname.lastname@example.org