As anticipated, both the Brownwood Lions and Early Longhorns will enter their respective season openers as members of the Associated Press Top 10, as the preseason poll was revealed Sunday.
Early (10-4 in 2007) carries the higher ranking of No. 3 in Class 2A, while the No. 7 ranking for Brownwood (6-4, in 2007) in Class 3A is a bit lower than some preseason publications suggested. The Lions were ranked No. 3 by both Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine and the Web site buckinfootball.com, among others.
Both teams will have ample opportunities to climb in the polls this season with stout schedules ahead of them, and both Lions head coach Steve Freeman and Longhorns head coach Robbie Tindol have stated numerous times, the results on the field are all that matter - not polls.
Early is one of three teams from Region I atop the Class 2A poll as the Longhorns trail No. 1 Cisco (14-1), who they face in Friday night’s season opener, and No. 2 Crane (10-2).
Rounding out the Class 2A rankings are No. 4 Pilot Point (6-4 in 3A), No. 5 Hitchcock (10-2), No. 6 Arp (10-4), No. 7 Newton (9-3), No. 8 Kirbyville (11-2 in 3A), No. 9 Elysian Fields (14-2) and No. 10 Refugio (13-1).
In the Class 3A poll, the Lions trail top-ranked Liberty Hill (14-0) - which hosts Brownwood on Sept. 19 - No. 2 Celina (16-0), No. 3 La Vega (13-1) - which visits Gordon Wood Stadium on Sept. 5 - No. 4 Navasota (9-4), No. 5 China Spring (14-2) and No. 6 Cuero (12-3).
The rest of the Class 3A Top 10 features West Orange Stark (11-2) at No. 8, Sealy (7-4) at No. 9 and Gilmer (14-1) at No. 10.
Brownwood’s new District 2-3A rival Snyder (12-3) missed the Top 10 by one vote, while Abilene Wylie (11-3) came in 13th in the voting and Sweetwater (7-5) was 19th.
Stephenville (10-2), which returns to the Lions’ schedule on Sept. 12, was ranked No. 4 in the Class 4A poll.
The Coleman Bluecats (10-3), who will again join Early in District 8-2A, received three votes in the 2A poll, which left them tied for 24th in the voting.