Brownwood making 20th straight appearance, seeking second state title
The Brownwood Lions' 20th consecutive appearance at the 7-on-7 state tournament begins with three pool play games Thursday afternoon at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex in College Station.
Division II pools — for teams in Class 4A or 3A Division I — were revealed Monday afternoon, and the Lions will tangle with Pleasanton, Stafford and Waxahachie Life in Pool E at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. on Field 7.
The Pleasanton Eagles are members of District 15-4A Division I and picked to finish fifth in their five-team league behind La Vernia, Boerne, Gonzales and Beeville Jones, according to Dave Campbell's Texas Football.
Pleasanton returns four offensive and four defensive starters from a 5-5 team a year ago that went 0-4 against district foes.
Returnees include receiver Dalton Hobbs (56 catches for 1,130 yards, 17 TDs) and running backs Daniel Valadez (539 rushing yards, 6 TDs) and Joel Arevalo (221 rushing yards, 5 TDs), while Nathaniel Acevedo is moving from receiver to quarterback.
Linebacker Cass Campbell (71 tackles, 1 sack) leads the way on defense.
The Stafford Spartans, members of District 12-4A Division I, are projected to come in third place behind Navasota and Houston North Forest.
Stafford welcomes back six offensive and seven defensive starters from a 4-6 squad a season ago that posted a 3-3 district mark.
Quarterback Cameron Peters threw for 1,824 yards and 18 TDs last year, while the Spartans' best defensive player — end Robert Wooten (79 tackles, 12 sacks) — will be a non-factor due to 7-on-7 rules.
The Waxahachie Life Mustangs reside in District 9-4A Division I and are tabbed to finish fourth in their league behind Midlothian Heritage, Crandall and Athens.
The Mustangs finished the 2018 campaign with a 5-5 record, including 2-3 in district, and bring back seven offensive and five defensive starters from that squad.
Quarterback Gage Mayfield passed for 1,686 yards and 20 touchdowns a year ago, SirMichael Veasley rushed for 700 yards and Tony Evans finished with 178 yards receiving and three scores.
Defensive standouts included linebacker Trenten James (59 tackles) and Robert Williams (2 INTs) in the secondary.
There are noticeable changes to the Division II field this season, which has been trimmed from 48 teams to 32, while Division III has doubled from 16 teams to 32. Also gone is the consolation bracket, where Brownwood finished as the runner-up last season.
This year, all 32 Division II teams will compete in the single-elimination championship bracket beginning Friday morning. Thursday's outcomes will determine the tournament seeding.
Division III — which consists of Class 3A Division II and smaller teams — will follow the same format. The 128-team Division I tournament, consisting of 5A and 6A squads, gets started Friday afternoon.
The rest of the Division II pools are as follows:
• Pool A: Waco Connally, Wichita Falls Hirschi, Jim Ned and La Feria
• Pool B: Columbia, Dumas, Midlothian Heritage, Rio Hondo
• Pool C: Boerne, Graham, Hitchcock, Spring Hill
• Pool D: Burnet, McGregor, Sunnyvale, Houston Worthing
• Pool F: Brock, Jourdanton, Pleasant Grove, Stephenville
• Pool G: Crockett, La Vega, Melissa, Wimberley
• Pool H: Celina, China Spring, Marion, Sweeny
The Lions qualified for state at their own tournament on June 8, their third qualifier of the summer. Brownwood defeated Lubbock Christian (27-12), Burnet (35-6) and Gatesville (33-18) in pool play, and Breckenridge (47-12) in the semifinal round.
In four qualifying tournaments, the Lions posted a 9-5 record.
During their first three events — at Gatesville, Burnet and Brownwood — quarterback Drew Huff completed 233 of 341 passes, a a 68 percent success rate, with 48 touchdowns and six interceptions. The Lions scored on 48 of 78 drives, reaching the end zone 62 percent of the time.
Leading receivers were Baylor commit A.J. McCarty (50 catches, 14 TDs), Isyah Campos (41 catches 6 TDs), Dane Johnson (35 catches, 3 TDs), Khyren Deal (27 catches, 7 TDs), Reece Rodgers (24 catches, 3 TDs), Damion Jones (15 catches, 5 TDs), Cade Jetton (13 catches, 2 TDs), Zach Strong (12 catches, 3 TDs), Royshad Henderson (8 catches, 1 TD), Parish White (5 catches, 1 TD), Hunter Day (4 catches, 2 TDs) and Cooper Swanzy (2 catches).
The Lions wrapped up qualifying action at Jim Ned on June 14, defeating Early (26-21) and Jim Ned (35-12), while falling to Little River Academy (26-25).