2018 Region Outlooks: 5A Division II Region II – Aledo is back in the hunt and North Forney looks to take next step under Jackson
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 5A Division II Region II
The landscape in Region II has changed quite a bit with Aledo moving east into the region after dominating the landscape in Region I the past few seasons. The Bearcats will reside in 5-4A Division II.
Red Oak certainly benefits from the new alignment under new head coach Chris Ross as the Hawks move into a district with Dallas ISD schools. Expect the Hawks to compete with South Oak Cliff for the 6-5A Division II title.
7-5A Division II features a large Denton and Collin County flavor. Frisco ISD’s two newest programs Memorial and Lebanon Trail will be in this district along with Princeton moving up from Class 4A.
Two other 4A move-ups Kaufman and Terrell will be in a nine-team mega-district in 8-5A Division II with seven other schools on the eastern edges of the DFW area.
Aledo rolled all the way to the state title game a year ago, but the Bearcats were stunned in the state title game by underdog College Station. Aledo brings back plenty of firepower to make another run led by RB Jase McClellan who ran for 1,600 yards and 28 touchdowns despite missing significant time with an injury. QB Jake Bishop will have a strong group of receivers back led by Monterrin Parks. The defense will be outstanding in the secondary with Jeff Carter and Tre Owens leading the way. Owens, who impressed at running back when McClellan was injured last year, will move to defense full time in 2018. Aledo has to replace some excellent players in the trenches, but the Bearcats always seem to reload at those spots.
Head coach Chad Rogers’ squad could be a real sleeper in 2018 as the split division concept could really benefit the ‘Jackets. The offense has some holes to fill, but Rogers’ ground-oriented attack splits carries amongst multiple backs so there are some guys with experience. The key for Denison will be developing a new signal caller. Where Denison could be really strong is on defense where four first-team all-district players are back led by a pair of defensive lineman who made a big impact as sophomores in Jordin Hunter and Braylinn Ramsey. LB Nate Maulsby and DB DeCurious Smith also return for the Yellowjackets.
After two years in Region III, Ennis returns to much more familiar territory in Region II and in a district with much less travel overall. The Lions need to replace an outstanding QB, but the return of senior RB James Harris is a big benefit as at 205 pounds he can take and deliver plenty of punishment. The Lions bring back some solid experience along the offensive line as well. Ennis always seems to be able to move the ball with its unique style but when the Lions are elite, it’s because they have an elite defense. The Lions will be young on that side this year but very talented, how they mature late in the season will determine the length of a playoff run.
It didn’t take long for Randy Jackson (a noted guru at turning programs around) to turn the Falcons around. In 2016, North Forney went 4-6 and in Jackson’s first year, the Falcons posted an impressive 10-3 mark. Gone is the majority of talent from that team, but Coach Jackson’s pedigree has earned him and his team’s a level of respect many don’t get. The Falcons have some young talent in the pipeline, the key is getting some early confidence in district play that will begin in Week 3.