Updated: Jul 16, 2019
Every coaches goal is to get good enough to get into title contention, and some will coach all their life trying to get to a state title game. And then there are coaches like Koetting in Canadian that go almost every year. This year won't be any different as the Wildcats have the best chance to get there amongst all the 806 teams with another great team. Here are all the teams I feel that have a legitimate shot at a state appearance, and maybe even a title this season.
#1 CANADIAN WILDCATS (3A DII)
Of course the Wildcats have a serious shot at a title. Just like every year the 'Cats lace them up, they will be a dangerous threat in 3A DII again this fall. With players like Josh Culwell stepping into the fray along with Grant McCook and Jack Koetting leading the charge, expect nothing short of a rematch against Newton in the title game for 3A DII. The familiar names are here; from Koetting, to Hufstedler so tradition will remain. One of the best teams all-time in Texas High School Football....
#2 ABERNATHY ANTELOPES (3A DII)
Man, this is going to be some great theatre this season when Abernathy meets up with Canadian again for a rematch at Dick Bivins Stadium in the 3A DII Regional Final! Canadian, as of now, is the better team. I just have a feeling that the Antelopes, if they can somehow get by the Wildcats, may win it all. Bryson is back with a lot of new additions and some players ready to make a bigger impact this fall for the Antelopes. But, we all know it's going to come down to that Early December game against those two with the winner most-likely heading to Arlington with Newton waiting...
#3 LUBBOCK-COOPER PIRATES (5A DII)
The Pirates have really improved this fall and under the new direction of Chip Darden, who took over as the Head Football Coach for Max Kattwinkel earlier this year, don't expect a drop-off anytime soon. They are loaded in the backfield; from Isaiah Johnson, to Cooper Lafebre and they also have added some more weapons as Nehemiah Martinez has become eligible and Jacob Dennis is deadly back there as well. Ayden Visage is a warrior on the line and will anchor a young, but very talented group with the tutelage of Coach Larry Hays; who is one of the best to do it! Defensively, players like Freshman sensation Kobie McKinzie will have another special season along with breakout players this fall like Jordan KirkPatrick. This could be the year the Pirates get to Arlington! The little things will determine a lot of that. WF Rider, and probably Fort Bend Marshall will be in their path, and then a shot at Aledo in the title game as well.
#4 TASCOSA REBELS (6A DII)
What a magical run the Rebels went on last year that ended in the 6A DII State Semifinals against Longview in a hard-fought defeat. But, on the way to that game.. WOW! Defeating EP Pebble Hills Arlington, Mansfield Lake Ridge and Haltom before that game with some dangerous defense and timely offensive bursts on the way. The Rebels return one of the most elusive two-way players in the state in Joseph Plunk who ran for 1,700 yards and 15 touchdowns, and threw for another 666 yards and ten scores. The best hybrid Linebacker/Defensive End in West Texas, LB Moore, also returns after a 147 tackle, 14 sack junior season. It is mighty tough to get to the top of the mountain in 6A, But the T-Rebs almost got there last season. With new additions to the offense like Major Everhart (SFA OFFER) in the mix and a younger defense, will it be enough for Tascosa to keep trending upward?
#5 ESTACADO MATADORS (4A DII)
We say this every year...But, I really think they do have a shot to go on a run in 4A DII, regardless if they win the district or not. (They will) Looking at their roster, it's evident that the Matadors have one of the best running backs in the 806 in Jermiah Dobbins, the best cornerback in the 806 in Keke Murray and the best Linebacker in the 806 in Sederick Colbert. Which leads me to this question; will they get enough out of their quarterback position to go on a long playoff run? Defensively, the 'Mats are going to terrorize some folks on their schedule. So when defenses put eight in the box or blitz to hurry the Quarterback from Estacado, will championship plays be made? I got confidence in whatever Coach Cluley is doing so expect the Mats to be playing in late November and possibly into December! #BeastLubbock!!
In 2A DII, there are three teams that will fight it out for a shot at playing Mart in the title game at jerry's World: Gruver, Stratford and Wellington. It will be fun to see how that whole situation pans out. Shallowater may get there as well. Can Bushland make a run this season as Shallowater has lost a ton and the Falcons should step up into 3A DI's drivers seat?