After its first state title, Anna out to prove staying power with new team in new district

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Anna head coach Seth Parr was mentally checking his offseason to-do list as he lifted the program's first state championship to a roaring crowd.

"One day, I'll be able to enjoy it," Parr said.

It's May, and that day hasn't arrived. Anna needs to replace all 11 starters from the defense that shut out Tyler Chapel Hill in the title game. The town's explosive population growth has vaulted the program to Class 5A in a loaded district with the Todd Dodge-led Lovejoy, Melissa and Frisco Emerson. While there's a healthy respect for the new opponents, only one is a reigning state champion.

"I'll never admit that somebody is better looking than me or somebody is faster than me," Parr said. "So I'm not going to pat them on the back and crown them a champion. We're going to walk in there and try to earn it ourselves. But (we have) a lot of respect for all of them."

Anna's confidence starts with rising junior quarterback Ziondre Williams. In his first year as the starter, Williams compiled 3,744 total yards and 39 passing touchdowns, earning District 8-4A Offensive MVP honors. His on-field poise masks that it was only his second year as a full-time quarterback. Williams was a lifelong running back until a collarbone injury in eighth grade. 

Williams spent the offseason competing on Anna's 4x200m relay team and running the 200m. He's also transformed his body in the weight room over the past year, increasing arm strength and adding to his dangerous dual-threat ability. He has four offers from Louisiana Tech, Pittsburgh, UTSA and Texas State.

But Williams knows the open secret to quarterbacking - he's only as successful as his offensive line. 

"I like my O-Line a lot this year," Williams said. "I'm going to make sure I get them donuts for every game."

Left tackle Peyton Miller started from Day One as a freshman last season and earned First Team All-District accolades. His first season as a Varsity player may have surprised the DFW area, but the Anna program knew what they had. Peyton's older brother, CJ, was a two-time All-State linebacker selection who won Defensive MVP at the state championship. Peyton may be bigger at 6-foot-4, 285 pounds with a size 17 shoe, but CJ and the four other Miller siblings toughened him up when they put the pads on and wrestled out on the farmland they live by.

"Anything turned into a competition with all the brothers," Miller said. "It's paid off and made me aggressive and it's made me really competitive."

Miller has reeled in 13 offers this offseason and made visits to Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Nebraska, among others. Parr describes Miller as a "once-in-a-lifetime" type kid. He'll be surly in a three years when Miller graduates, however.

"He doesn't turn 15 until the end of May, so I'll be mad once he's graduated of why we didn't hold him back,” Parr said.

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