Now that all the football camps are almost done, and the summer workouts are in full swing, It's time to look at the 2019 football season that will kick off on August 29th when the record counts! This will be an intriguing season, to say the least as we have some great football teams, and we have a lot of turnover on rosters with young players in huge spots to start the year. So, here are my questions I have, going into 2019's football season.
#1 IS TASCOSA GOING BACK TO THE STATE SEMIFINALS IN 6A DII?
No one had a better season than Tascosa in 2018. From losing to Amarillo and Hanna early, to turning it around and playing in the 6A DII State Semifinal against Longview; a team that they could've beat if they would've started out quicker. Beating Mansfield Lake Ridge, and blowing out Haltom at Jones Stadium on Texas Tech's Campus showed the entire state that the 806 can play with anyone, and beat them too! The best hybrid DE/LB in West Texas, LB Moore, returns to the Rebels and will have another great season. Joseph Plunk also is back and ready to do damage in his dad's system. But, they lost King Doerue (Purdue) Brandon White (Baylor) Boogy and more elusive players on both sides of the ball. Will the young players like Major Everhart (offered by SFA) step up and contribute immediately to keep the momentum going? We will find out soon....
#2 WHO'S COMING OUT OF 2A DII THIS SEASON TO PLAY AGAINST MART IN THE STATE TITLE GAME?
Guys, I have to be brutally honest here: Mart will repeat as the 2A DII State Champs, but that still doesn't take away from the season and the fun that will take place as well. I would hope an 806 team would win, but Mart could win a title in 3A and 4A lol. Now, who will get out of the Region and compete for a title against Mart? Will it be Gruver, with the best TE/ATH in the Nation in Jalin Conyers? Or will it be Stratford or Wellington? I still, for the life of me, can't believe Hamlin beat the Skyrockets last season in the playoffs; That was the biggest upset in Texas High School Football last season. Any of those three teams mentioned above can make a run, and all three are very experienced and battle-tested. It should be interesting to see how it plays out.
#3 IS THIS THE YEAR LUBBOCK-COOPER MAKES A TRIP TO JERRY'S WORLD?
Lubbock-Cooper had a good year in 2018, but it could've been great. If you ask the Pirates, they would tell you they thought they should've at least made it to the State Semifinals in 5A DII instead of losing to WF Rider in the State Quarterfinals. So, let's turn the page to this season. Coach Chip Darden takes over for Coach Max Kattwinkel and Katt didn't leave cupboard bare by any means. Coach Hays has an explosive Offensive Line coming back, led by Ayden Visage, who was offered by Texas Tech this week. The Pirates also have four tailbacks that can go over 1,000 yards easy in Isaiah Johnson (North Texas Commit) Jacob Dennis, Tyler Hairston, and Nehemiah Martinez who is in his first year of eligibility for Lubbock-Cooper and has three offers. Folks, he is a headhunter and lethal anywhere you put him on the field..YIKES! Jawaun Johnson will also contribute on both sides of the ball and will be a coveted weapon. Ben Marcinkowski and Cameron Bednarz also should have breakout seasons as well. Now, on the defense, we should see another breakout season from Kobie Mckinzie(10 offers, Verbal to Texas Tech) and others throughout the year. Cooper Lafebre will be QB1 and have plenty of tools to work with at his disposal. Staying locked in will be the hurdle LCP will have to deal with as they will blow out a lot of teams this season and win their first two playoff games easily including their first round game against a Metroplex team. Will Rider be standing in the way of their goals again? YES.. Then Brewer and Aledo.. Buckle Up!!!
#4 IS 5A DI GOING TO MAKE A SPLASH, OR WILL ALL THE TEAMS BE GONE BY THE THIRD ROUND?
5A, AHHH.. We have some great teams in this classification this season but when you look up at the top of the Mountain, teams like Denton Ryan, Highland Park and Shadow Creek are very superior and will be tough to beat. Coronado, Monterey, Caprock, and Abilene Cooper will be good this year, as always, and Amarillo should be much improved this fall too. But after the first round where all of our four teams should and will win over El Paso teams, what will happen in the second round? Coronado will get Azle again (probably or Colleyville Heritage) and Monterey will be back in the playoffs along with the other two teams as well. Can our teams last past the second round? We have explosive players like Tarik Williams, Izaiah Kelley, Erik Williams, Malaki Ruth, Coreon Bailey, Sawyer Robertson, Charlie Robinson and more...But what TEAM can hold up to a Metroplex team and win this fall? Can't wait to see.
#5 THE MATADORS WILL MAKE A RUN AGAIN, BUT HOW FAR THIS YEAR?
As long as Estacado has coach "JUICE" I mean Coach Cluley on their sidelines, they will compete and make a run every year as his high standards don't change. But there is a question at the quarterback position this fall and if that position can get solidified, the MATS' may make a deeper run than they did last year. Defensively, the Matadors are loaded again and led by Sederick Colbert, who has four offers already this month. Keke Murray, who has three offers, is back as well at cornerback and he is the best corner in the 806! Jermiah Dobbins has a couple of offers as well at the tailback position and will have a 1,500+yard season and at least 15 touchdowns. I'm excited to see how far the Matadors go as they could've beaten Glen Rose in the third round last year in 4A DII; Don't be surprised if they do it this year.
#6 CANADIAN BACK TO THE TITLE GAME IN 3A DII FOR A REMATCH WITH NEWTON, RIGHT? YES...
In 3A DII, their are plenty of teams that will stand tall and make some noise this fall. Teams like Abernathy, Tulia, Idalou, Spearman and more. But, we all know who reigns supreme...CANADIAN. The Wildcats almost beat Newton in the 3A DII State Title game; a game that was closer than a lot of people thought and the Wildcats had the ball in the waining seconds for a chance to win! Jack Koetting and others will keep their standard and excellence up at a championship level this year and they'll be back (Arnold Schwarzenegger voice) to get another shot at Newton.
#7 IN 2A DI, IT LOOKS LIKE IT'S POST'S TURN TO DANCE....AM I RIGHT?
Now, I say this because Post's Antelopes had 18 underclassmen last year and still made the playoffs. Taytem Thetford is an electric two-way quarterback and the 'Lopes are solid on both sides of the line. Coach Pittman is one of the best coaches in Texas and he knows what he's doing! With that being said, Sundown with Christian Huey, New Deal with Dylan Jerden and the rest of the 2A DI teams like Panhandle and West Texas will be key players in the 2A DI chase. West Texas and Panhandle will both make deep runs like they do every season. I also think Refugio or Mason will win the 2A DI title.
#8 3A DI IS WIDE OPEN, WILL ANY 806 TEAM MAKE IT TO THE STATE SEMIFINALS?
Well, it's going to be tough. It can be done, but there are a lot of players that will need to step up and play big roles for the 3A DI contenders. Shallowater lost Cutter, Hayden, Braxton and more but they will be threats, as always this fall. Brownfield and Denver City are in the playoffs already! Congrats to Coach Flores from Brownfield who takes over at Brownfield as Coach Toliver moves on to Borger as the Head Coach. All of these teams, besides Shallowater, fizzled and were out of the playoffs by the third round. Can Bushland make some noise? Hate that they will probably see Wall in the second round this fall. Seeding in this classification is very important! It will determine who, if any team can position themselves to make a run. In the rearview mirror... BROCK...AGAIN!
#9 WHICH TEAM(S) WILL SURPRISE US THIS FALL??
Is there a team that will make a deep run like Hereford did last year? Honestly, I don't see one clearly. I think Post, Bushland and Frenship will make some noise and Perryton will be vastly improved this fall. But the 806 will be led by the same great teams that always have been at the top, I'm just hoping they can make some championship noise.
#10 HOW ABOUT LUBBOCK CHRISTIAN AND TRINITY CHRISTIAN???
Lubbock Christian has some talent coming back this fall! Zeke Lott, Alex Lack and Timmons are beasts on the field and they also have one of the best schedules I've seen! The Eagles made a deep run last year and will make another one this season. Trinity Christian will be solid this season and are led by former Seagraves Offensive Coordinator, Kevin Spiller. Depth will be an issue with only 25 players, but I expect them to make the playoffs as well!