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10 breakout players from the first five weeks of the Texas high school football season

Quarterbacks from Anna, DeSoto and Little Elm are among the players who’ve burst onto the scene in 2022.

At the midway point of the Texas high school football regular season, here are 10 Dallas-area high school football players who’ve had breakout seasons so far.

Eze Osondu, DE, Trophy Club Byron Nelson

Much has been made about Byron Nelson’s offense (and for good reason) as it’s averaged a Dallas area-best 55 points per game among 6A schools. Don’t sleep on the defense either. Osondu, a junior, has helped anchor a Byron Nelson (5-0) front line that has allowed the second-fewest points per game (10) and fourth-fewest yards per game (215) of any area school in its classification. Osondu has five sacks and 28 tackles (six for loss) through five games.

James Johnson, RB, Mansfield

Mansfield (5-0) looks like an early favorite to claim one of the four playoff spots in the vaunted District 11-6A. Johnson, a junior, has played a key role. He ranks second among area 6A running backs with 775 rushing yards through five games and has scored nine touchdowns. He carried the ball just eight times one year ago as a junior, but managed to rack up 121 yards (15.13 yards per carry) and score a touchdown. In a Week 2 victory against Mansfield Summit that turned some heads, Johnson rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns.

Kayvion Sibley, RB, Allen

Allen’s third-string running back last year, Sibley stepped into the starting role this season and has taken it in stride. Through five games, the junior has 660 rushing yards on 75 carries (8.8 yards per attempt) and 8 touchdowns. According to, Sibley holds scholarship offers from Minnesota and Texas Tech. Expect the 5-10, 180 pound rusher to see an increase in college interest if his strong play continues for Allen (4-1).

Kellen Tasby, QB, Little Elm

Tasby, a Frisco Lone Star transfer, was tasked with replacing John Mateer — a four-year starter that broke Little Elm school records — who now plays at Washington State. So far, so good for Tasby. The junior passed for 1,359 yards on a 66% completion rate through five games, and has thrown nine touchdowns to one interception for Little Elm (1-4). He’s scored another three touchdowns on the ground.

Anna quarterback Evan Bullock (10) passes in the first half during a high school football...
Anna quarterback Evan Bullock (10) passes in the first half during a high school football game against Celina, Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 in Anna, Texas.(Matt Strasen / Special Contributor)

Evan Bullock, QB, Anna

The Louisiana Tech pledge transferred from DFW’s largest school (Allen) to one of its smallest (Anna) this past offseason, and has quickly become one of the area’s best quarterbacks. Bullock, a senior, has 1,712 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions for Anna (5-0), the No. 1 team in The News’ 4A/others rankings. He ranks first among all area 4A quarterbacks in passing touchdowns and is second in passing yards. In a Week 4 duel with No. 2 Celina, Bullock passed for 294 yards and three touchdowns to help Anna claim the No. 1 ranking.

Landon Sides, WR, Denton Guyer

Denton Guyer (4-0), the area’s top-ranked 6A team, needed to replace 3,043 of its 4,004 receiving yards from a year ago. Sides, a senior who committed to Incarnate Word on Saturday, has filled the role of five-star quarterback Jackson Arnold’s favorite target. Sides leads Guyer in catches (22), receiving yards (493) and touchdowns (7) and has given the reigning 6A Div. II runner up’s a true threat to take the top off of an opposing defense. He clocked a 10.54 second 100 meter dash time in the spring and owns a personal record of 22 feet, 9.5 inches in the long jump, too.

McKinney North running back Jayden Walker (26) runs for a touchdown during the second...
McKinney North running back Jayden Walker (26) runs for a touchdown during the second quarter of a game against Justin Northwest at Northwest ISD Stadium in Justin, Texas, Friday, Sept. 2, 2022.(Elías Valverde II / Staff Photographer)

Jayden Walker, RB, McKinney North

McKinney North (4-1) has totaled 1,356 rushing yards through five games (fifth-most among Dallas-area 5A teams) and averaged 37 points per game in the first half of its season. Walker has done a brunt of that rushing and scoring. The junior carried the ball under 100 times last season, but has broken out with 1,023 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns to start the year. In a Week 2 win over Justin Northwest, Walker introduced himself to the Texas high school football world with a 325-yard, 3-touchdown performance.

Cade Bortnem, QB, Lake Dallas

Few quarterbacks have played as efficiently as Bortnem has at the midway point of the regular season. The junior passed for 1,282 yards through Lake Dallas’ first five games with an astounding 20-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio. In Lake Dallas’ last two wins, in which it averaged 58 points scored and moved to 5-0 on the year, Bortnem totaled 11 touchdowns. As a backup quarterback last season, Bortnem passed for five touchdowns and four interceptions.

Anthony Toliver, DE, North Crowley

North Crowley’s defense has been among the area’s best through five games as its allowed the second-fewest yards per game (188.6) of any DFW 6A team. With eight sacks and nine tackles for loss, Toliver has been among the biggest playmakers on first-year head coach Ray Gates’ defense. North Crowley (5-0) is off to its best start since 2005.

DJ Bailey, QB, DeSoto

DeSoto entered this season with state championship aspirations, a talented crop of skill position players and a hole at quarterback left by the graduated Matt Allen, who passed for 43 touchdowns last season. Bailey, a junior, has helped DeSoto (4-1) maintain its offensive excellence. The first-year starter Has passed for 1,087 yards, 10 touchdowns and just one interception for the state-ranked Eagles, and scored a pair of touchdowns on the ground in DeSoto’s Week 5 win over area-ranked Waxahachie.

DeSoto quarterback Darius Bailey (15) throws a pass during the first half of a high school...
DeSoto quarterback Darius Bailey (15) throws a pass during the first half of a high school football game against Waxahachie on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in DeSoto.(Smiley N. Pool / Staff Photographer)


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