2018 Region Outlooks — 4A Division II Region I: Maxfield takes over at Monahans and can Glen Rose’s defense take the next leap?
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 4A Division II Region I
It’s going to be a bit of a transitional year in 4A Division II Region I as many of the favorites the past two years have some question marks. We’ll touch on Graham and Monahans below and Seminole is off to Division I, while Bushland drops to 3A Division II after their big playoff run a year ago.
The Permian Basin district didn’t see many changes expect for Snyder moving into 1-4A Division II to replace Seminole. The drop should be good for the Tigers who now go from being one of the smallest Division I schools to one of the bigger Division II schools.
2-4A Division II saw a shakeup as moving down from Division I is Borger, Levelland Lubbock Estacado, they join Perryton and Dalhart who are Division II holdovers. 3-4A Division II is a North Panama heavy loop with Iowa Park and Vernon near the Wichita Falls area heading south and east into the DFW area with Aubrey, Bridgeport, Krum and Graham. 4-4A Division II features a five-team loop of teams located south of the DFW area.
The Loboes underwent a bit of transition this off-season after the retirement of head coach Mickey Owens. But the more things change the more they stay the same as in steps veteran head coach Mel Maxfield. Maxfield will bring a bit of a different style but it’ll be a similar offense as he rolls with the Wing-T offense that Monahans has had a lot of success with. There were a lot of losses due to graduation, but with a region that looks as wide open as any in the state, expect the Loboes to still be in the mix come playoff time.
The Matadors rolled to an impressive 10-2 record as a Division I school a year ago, but there is some change in East Lubbock with the departure of head coach Marcus Shavers who took a job at Class 6A McKinney. In steps former defensive coordinator Joe Cluley, who is making his head coaching debut, to keep the trajectory pointed up for the Mats in 2018. Estacado has very good team speed and in Region I that’s a luxury item that can often be a difference maker. The keys for Estacado in 2018 will be repeating its outstanding performance in the trenches a year ago and finding a new signal caller. Junior RB Jeremiah Dobbins had a breakout sophomore year in 2017 and could put up some big-time numbers while EHS works in the new QB.
The Steers dominated Region I with a senior-laden offense and a defensive unit that always came up with timely turnovers. Most of those players are off to college and also gone is offensive coordinator Casey Dacus who took over as the head coach at Navasota. But the cupboard isn’t bare, and Graham should still be a contender for the regional crown once again with the return of RB Chase Gilmore and a pair of first time all-district offensive lineman. The Steers will be solid along the defensive line as well with Klayton Read and Will Hayes returning, but there were some heavy graduation losses at linebacker and in the secondary.
The Tigers had a sensational season a year ago, but it ended in first round disappointment, as the Tigers were stunned by Vernon in bi-district. It’s now or never for the Tigers who return a dozen starters from a 9-2 squad along with an unbeaten JV squad to fill in the holes left by graduation. Region I in Division II looks to be wide open this year so if head coach Cliff Watkins’ squad is going to make a deep run 2018 looks like the year. The Tigers’ spread offense is triggered by QB Cameron Griffin (2,616 passing, 34 TDs), he’s got a big arm and ability to make all the throws. RB Westen Halcom (1,527 rushing, 23 TDs) will carry the load on the ground while the Tigers new crop of receivers develops. LB Ricky Douglas (127 tackles) had a huge sophomore year and will team with DE Niedziela (58 tackles, 6 sacks) to anchor the defense, which will need to take a step forward if Glen Rose wants to live up to their potential.