According to DeSoto cornerback Bryson Echols, the foundation for a potential state title season was laid back in the summer, when the Eagles captured the Texas State 7-on-7 title.
"It definitely boosted our confidence," Echols said. "We went into this year thinking that we just had one more state championship to win."
"Of course, I think we have the best cornerback duo in the state," Echols said. "You want a big, physical guy, and you have that in Jalen Mills. Then if you want the fast guy, you have me."
Indeed, Echols is faster than a lot of people give him credit for. He clocked an electronic 4.5-flat at The Opening, which is especially deadly when paired with a 3.93 shuttle time. And he'll be a key member of a very good DeSoto track team yet again, with a place on the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.
That should allow him to continue to develop his speed before meeting up with his fellow 2012 commitments in Austin next summer.
"I'll probably hear from them the week we have to play them," Echols said, laughing. "They do a whole lot of trash talking."
If both DeSoto and Dallas Skyline win, they'll face off in the second round of the playoffs, next week.
There haven't been many teams that have been able to trash talk DeSoto this year, though the Eagles did take a surprise 23-21 loss to Longview in the season's final week. Out of the other nine games, eight were decided by double digits, and DeSoto won seven by 25 points or more.
"The loss might turn out to be a good thing," Echols said. "We're not used to losing, and you would rather lose in districts than in the playoffs.
"(Since the loss) we've definitely seemed more focused," Echols said. "Everybody is working as hard as we were this past summer, and that's pretty hard. The loss has definitely made an impact."
So does DeSoto have what it takes to bring home its second state championship of the year?
"Of course, we feel like we're the best team," Echols said. "But I bet a lot of other teams would say or feel that too. People say that our biggest competition will be Allen on down the road.
"Some of my teammates have talked about wanting a shot at Allen," Echols said. "But we're going to take it one game at a time and focus on the team in front of us."