2018 Region Outlooks: 3A Division II Region IV – Sonora touts an experienced defense while East Bernard and Tidehaven hope for quick rebuilds
AS WE LOOK AHEAD TO THE 2018 TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SEASON, DCTF'S MATT STEPP TAKES A LOOK AT HOW EACH REGION SHOULD SHAKE OUT WHEN FALL ROLLS AROUND.
Today’s spotlight: Class 3A Division II Region IV
The biggest news to hit Region IV after realignment was the addition of Sonora and Brady to the mix. Both schools had traditionally been in Region I but this time move south into 13-3A Division II. Especially intriguing is Sonora moving into a district with Johnson City, who is now coached by former Sonora head coach David T. Sine.
14-3A Division II features teams located in and around the Victoria area for the most part and just south of Houston. East Bernard and Tidehaven look to be key players in this group of teams, but always-dangerous Van Vleck is a team that can’t be overlooked.
To the south and west of San Antonio is the hub of 15-3A Division II with ever-improving Natalia looking to keep its momentum under a new head coach, while the rest of the district looks fairly evenly matched. 16-3A Division II is a combination of teams along the Coastal Bend (Banquete, London, Odem, Taft) with Valley programs in Monte Alto and Santa Rosa, with Hebbronville splitting the difference located in between the two regional areas.
Overall this looks to be a region that really lacks a dominant team, so don’t be surprised if a mystery candidate rises up come playoff time.
The Brahmas posted a solid 10-2 record with both losses coming at the hands of district rivals. The first was to Tidehaven in district play and the second was a third-round playoff defeat against a Boling team it had beaten earlier in the year. EBHS welcomes back six starters from the offense, but only brings back three on defense so youngsters from a 7-1 JV team will be relied on to step in. 230-pound RB/DE Destin Schuler, who averaged nearly 11 yards per carry last year, will be the feature back in the Slot T offense, while QB Hunter Goudeau is also back along with an experienced offensive line. The defense will be young but has a couple of talented players returning as well with LB’s Payton Peloquin (129 tackles) and Justin Bosse (94 tackles).
Coach David Lucio’s Tigers had a breakout season a year ago winning a district title and posting an 11-1 record before bowing out in the third round of the playoffs to Lexington. Only four starters return on both sides of the ball, but Lucio has this program’s arrow pointed up. WR/DB James Carter was named district newcomer of the year in 2017 and could be poised for a breakout senior season. LB’s Kameron Green and Jesse Rodriguez combined for 202 tackles a year ago and will be key to leading a young but quick defensive unit. QB Blake Garcia will step in and pilot the offense after starting two games as a sophomore and according to Coach Lucio, they are very excited about his ceiling.
It’ll be really interesting to see how the Broncos matchup with their new playoff foes in Region IV. Always a contender in Region I, Sonora posted an impressive 12-1 mark a year ago, but graduation hit hard. The Broncos lost a record setting QB and much of their offense to graduation so second-year head coach Jeff Cordell and his staff will have to retool on the fly. But the cupboard isn’t bare with the return of DB and district defensive MVP Hunter Bunch along with three other first team all-district defensive performers. Overall, eight starters return on defense so while the offensive unit finds their footing and develops a new signal caller, Sonora’s defense could be good enough to carry the load. RB/LB Wilson Johnson was a two-way all-district pick as a sophomore and will lead the offense along with WR’s Wesley Dutton and Willie B. Munoz and second team all-district RB JR Velasquez. Three starters return on the offensive line as well, so look for Sonora to be one of the most physical teams in Region IV.
Most thought Odem was in for a rebuilding year under first-year head coach Armando Huerta last year. After losing a great senior class led by a record-setting QB, it was a fair assumption to make, but the Owls defied the experts and put together a solid 7-5 campaign with a fairly young team in 2017 and now they’ll look to contend for a deeper playoff push in year two under Coach Huerta. The defense will be young as just three starters return, but look for the offense that returns seven starters to be plenty explosive. QB Joh Cantu accounted for 1,870 yards and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore earning newcomer of the year honors. He’ll lead an experienced group of skill players for the Owls. Tevin Moreno (88 tackles) was a first team all-district safety a year ago. He’s moving to linebacker and will be key to leading what will be an inexperienced defense.