Four area teams landed in the preseason rankings of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine, as the publication often referred to as “the Bible of Texas high school football,” opined its projections for the 2016 football season.
In Class 4A Division I, the Brownwood Lions are tabbed as the 11th best team in the state by DCTF. The Lions, coming off an 11-3 season a year ago, were ranked No. 6 in 4A Division I by TheOldCoach.com’s Friday Night Football publication.
Just like FNF, DCTF predicts the Lions will reach the Region I-4A Division I final for the second year in a row, but have their season ended there by preseason No. 1 Argyle.
Brownwood is also picked to place second in District 3-4A Division I behind No. 5 Abilene Wylie. Stephenville, Snyder and Big Spring round out the rest of the district projections.
As for the 4A Division I Top 10, Argyle is trailed by No. 2 Navasota, No. 3 Carthage, No. 4 Texarkana Liberty-Eylau, No. 5 Wylie, No. 6 Waco La Vega, No. 7 Liberty Hill — who the Lions face in their Sept. 16 home opener — No. 8 Kennedale, No. 9 China Spring and No. 10 Terrell.
Among the top stories in Class 4A Division I this season, DCTF listed Kyle Maxfield taking over the Brownwood Lions program as one of the three biggest.
In the Class 3A ranks, neither the Early Longhorns nor the Bangs Dragons are predicted to reach the playoffs — echoing the sentiment of FNF.
The Longhorns, coming off a 2-8 season in Blake Sandford’s first year as head coach, are tabbed to finish sixth in District 3-3A Division I behind Brady, Clyde, Comanche, Jim Ned and Merkel.
The Dragons, looking to rebound from an 0-10 start to the Jim Bird era last season, are projected to finish sixth in District 4-3A Division II behind No. 7 Cisco, No. 18 Coleman, Eastland, Tolar and Dublin.
The Class 2A Division I rankings find the Goldthwalte Eagles at No. 13, with fellow District 7-2A member Crawford ranked No. 7. Behind the Pirates and Eagles in the DCTF district predictions are Hico, De Leon, Valley Mills, San Saba and Hamilton.
FNF doesn’t include Class A — or six-man — football in its publication, but two local teams are preseason Top 5 squads according to DCTF.
The seven-time state champion Richland Springs Coyotes, coming off 2015’s Class A Division II title, are the preseason No. 1 team in the state and expected to defend their crown. The Coyotes are also the District 13-A Division II favorites, and Walker Tippie and Hutton Lusty are the preseason offensive and defensive players of the year in the district, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Zephyr Bulldogs come in ranked No. 3 in the state in Class A Division I, but are not picked to win District 10-A. That honor goes to No. 1-ranked Jonesboro, which hosts No. 3 Zephyr on Oct. 28. Zephyr also plays host to Richland Springs, as that game is slated for Sept. 9.
Zephyr’s Bishop Norman is the preseason offensive player of the year in District 10.
Blanket, which is also in the district with Jonesboro and Zephyr, is tabbed to place third.
In District 11-A Division I, the May Tigers are projected to finish second behind No. 9 Gordon as Cameron King was named preseason player of the year in the district.
Brown County’s only Class A Division II squad — the Brookesmith Mustangs — are picked to come in fifth in District 12 behind Mullin, Panther Creek, Sidney and Gustine.
Outside the county, Santa Anna is expected to place second in District 8-A Division I behind Water Valley. Mountaineer Jacob Herrod was tabbed the district’s preseason offensive player of the year.
And in District 11-A Division II, the Rising Star Wildcats are projected to place second behind Strawn. Wildcat Micah Carnley is the preseason defensive player of the year in that district.
Also included this year were predictions for TAPPS Six-Man Division II District 2, where the Victory Life Warriors are anticipated to finish fourth behind Waco Live Oak, Granbury NCTA and Temple Holy Trinity.
Preseason practices begin Aug. 1 with the opening weekend of the season set for Thursday, Aug. 25 through Saturday, Aug. 27.