2018 Region Outlooks: 2A Division I Region II – Is it DeLeon’s year and do Crawford’s new faces step up to the big stage?
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 2A Division I Region II
The departure of defending state champion Mart to Division II is bad news for Division II, but good news for the teams in this region. In a similar setup to the previous realignment, District 5-2A Division I and 6-2A Division I have a heavy base around the Texoma area and just east of the DFW Metroplex on the fringes of what most consider East Panama.
Districts 7-2A Division I and 8-2A Division I have more of a Central Panama flair. District 7-2A juts out to the fringes of West Panama with schools like Goldthwaite, Hico, DeLeon and San Saba while 8-2A Division I is mostly based around Waco but gets into the far southern reaches of what most consider DFW with Italy.
The Pirates, who upset Mart in the playoffs in 2016 in their run to the state title game, didn’t fare quite as well last year in the quarter-finals, losing on a brutally cold Thursday night to Mart 47-6. Coach Delbert Kelm’s squad never looks like world beaters on paper but play to their strengths extremely well and the Pirates have a ton of tradition. RB/DB Trey Lacina was all-district last year as a sophomore on both sides of the ball and will likely carry the load for the Pirates split back offensive attack. He’ll run behind an offensive line that returns two starters that were first team all-district as well, but the Pirates are going to have to replace a lot of losses on the defensive side of the ball in addition to the QB spot.
The Bearcats were an impressive 11-1 last year rolling to a district title and advancing to the third round of the playoffs before they, like district rival Crawford ran into the Mart buzzsaw. Graduation depleted the ranks some, but the return of QB Kevin Yeager (3,054 passing, 40 touchdowns, six rushing touchdowns) is a great staring point. WR/DB Chris Cox (920 receiving, seven touchdoens, three touchdowns) will be Yeager’s top target and will be a force in the secondary, while returning district defensive MVP Kelan Hodges (100 tackles, 10 sacks) leads the defensive line. If the Bearcats can fill some graduation holes at running back and linebacker, expect them to be right in contention once again.
The Rebels, fresh off their best season in school history (12-1) a year ago, have sights set on bigger and better in 2018. There are holes to replace on offense but the return of two-way star QB/DB Devon Womack (1,900 yards of offense; 19 touchdowns) is big. The district defensive MVP accounted for 182 total tackles a year ago and will move to QB this year to pilot the Rebels’ attack. RHS will be big and physical up front on both sides of the ball, led by Clay Holt and Reese Jesse. Keep an eye on DL Cole Carson who started 13 games as a freshman, he has had a great off-season and could really emerge as a force.
Head Coach Clint Zander welcomes back a dozen starters from his team that struggled some in the regular season but still managed two playoff wins to finish the year at 7-6. The Bulldogs should be plenty of dangerous with the return of much of their skill talent, namely Marcel Estell who accounted for 1,707 yards of offense, 27 touchdowns and 66 tackles on defense. Coach Zander calls him a game breaker. QB Tyler Webb is also back after 3,351 passing and 35 touchdowns, if he can cut down on the interception numbers expect the Bulldogs offense to fly high. The big key will be in the trenches, where Bosqueville has to replace some key losses along both fronts.