2018 Region Outlooks — 4A Division II Region IV: Does Sinton take over the region as new faces take over other top programs?
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 IV
There is absolutely no question which district reigns supreme in Region IV in Class 4A Division II and that’s 13-4A Division II. The district features last year’s regional champion Wimberley and runner-up in Cuero along with the 2016 regional champion Geronimo Navarro.
District 14-4A Division II is a familiar pairing of teams to the south and west of San Antonio. Hondo may be the big winner here. The Owls, who struggled to make the playoffs in the old 13-4A Division II, had their way with two-time district champion Pearsall in the bi-district playoffs in back-to-back years, despite being 1-9 and 2-8. In 2017, Pearsall was 10-0 and lost to 2-8 Hondo in the first round. We’ll see if a new coach at Pearsall can turn the Mavericks fortunes around in the playoffs.
15-4A Division II is a Coastal Bend based district highlighted by Sinton and 4A Division I Rockport-Fulton, whose enrollment took a hit after Hurricane Harvey ravaged the town and schools. 16-4A Division II is a Rio Grande Valley district and is the only four-team district in the state outside of the three four-team loops in 4A Division I Region I.
The Gobblers were the heavy favorite to win the Region IV crown last year but were stunned by a high-powered Wimberley in the regional finals. Gone is a highly decorated senior class which included multiple three and four-year starters, but the cupboard is hardly bare. Back is 15-4A Division II MVP WR Jordan Whittington. The Panama commit is one of the state’s top playmakers and a true difference maker. RB/DB Kieran Grant also returns for the offense, but the big question is who takes over at QB for the Gobblers? The defense expects to be very good again with the return of LB Dayton Ball and DT Trey Moore. Despite the graduation losses, Cuero still looks to be the team to beat in Region IV.
After a couple of down years, Wimberley got on track in a big way in 2017 posting an impressive 13-2 mark and advancing all the way to the state semi-finals before falling to West Orange-Stark. That’s the good news. The bad news is a large senior class is gone and most of the offense will have to be rebuilt. The defense has a few pieces back with DE Trey Manning and LB’s Guy Kypuros and Trent Dingman returning. The Texans have some good young talent but in a brutally tough district they’ll need to get their footing at the varsity level in a hurry.
The more things change, the more they stay the same as Navarro adjusts to new leadership as head coach Les Goad left to take over at 6A Buda Hays. In steps former Mathis head coach Rod Blount, who led the Pirates to the state semi-finals in 2015. There will still be familiarity as Blount runs the Slot-T offense which Navarro is accustomed to. There will be changes yes, but for the most part, the Panthers will be a similar team. District Newcomer of the Year Johnny Alegria returns and will be a key player in the offense along with a pair of returning all-district lineman in Wyatt Tate and Ty Brumley. The Panthers will still be solid on defense with the return of defensive lineman Dylan Hatfield and Rawson Young along with DB Bryan Butler and outstanding sophomore LB Euler DeLeon.
For most programs eight wins and a trip to the area playoffs is considered a successful season, but the expectations in Sinton are always a big higher. Coach Tom Allen’s squad will look to improve in 2018 and get back to Region IV contention with 11 returning starters returning and help from a strong JV that posted a 9-1 record. Two-way playmakers Christian Garcia (WR/DB) and Christian Bess (LB/RB) will once again play key roles for the Pirates. Sinton should be better in the trenches according to Coach Allen, but a lot of good skill talent has graduated. The biggest question mark might be at the QB spot. Sinton has a favorable district draw losing powerful Cuero, Sweeny and Wharton and it’s traditionally gotten the best of the Coastal Bend neighbors. IF the Pirates can secure a district title, the playoff path through the first two rounds may allow this team to build some momentum.