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Texas Football picks Lions over
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The Kaufman Lions are picked as the District 13-3A
football winner this fall, according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football
Long considered the bible of football writers, over the past 47 years
Texas Football has come up with a way to consistently pick the top teams
in high school football districts, be it 5A or six-man districts.
Last year’s edition picked the Mabank Panthers – who were making their
first appearance in Class 3A after four less-than-stellar years in a
killer 4A district – as the district champions, with Kaufman Lions and
Crandall Pirates second and third, respectively.
As it turned out, all three teams shared the district championship.
Kaufman (5-6, 4-1 district) beat Mabank in the district opener, but lost
to Crandall (5-6, 4-1) in the season finale, and Mabank (6-5, 4-1) edged
Crandall in a come-from-behind thriller in the next-to-last game.
All three teams fell in bidistrict playoff action against teams from
The 2007 season predictions have the Lions picked to win, with the
Panthers second and Pirates third. Mabank will be the district’s
big-school (Division I) seed if they qualify for the playoffs.
Ferris’ Yellowjackets are picked to finish fourth, followed by the
Eustace Bulldogs and the Kemp Yellowjackets.
Texas Football gave Kaufman the nod as the district favorite because the
Lions look to have fewer holes to fill in their starting offensive and
defensive lineups, with eight offensive and six defensive starters
projected to return.
Mabank has just three offensive and three defensive starters projected
to return, having graduated most of a huge and solid offensive line.
On the plus side, the Panthers have lefty junior quarterback Kolton
As a sophomore, Browning stepped in during the second half of the
Kaufman game and wound up the regular season completing 76-of-115 passes
for 930 yards, with seven touchdowns and four picks, averaging 12.2
yards per completion.
Several solid players, including safety Norman Brady (the district
200-meter champ) and noseguard J.R. Hudson (5-10, 230), along with
center Brandon Carrico (5-11, 240), a powerlifting standout, will be
Crandall will have to replace its entire starting backfield, but the
Pirates will have most of their offensive and defensive lines included
among four offensive and seven defensive starters projected to return.
Both Eustace and Kemp have new head coaches looking to turn around those
respective programs in the 2007 campaign.
The Bulldogs and Yellowjackets each finished 1-9 last year, with Kemp’s
lone victory being a 33-27 thriller over hosting Eustace in the district
Eustace’s lone win was a come-from-behind effort against Edgewood in the
second game of the season.
At Eustace, Doug Wendel enters his first head coaching stint after
assisting at Lake Highlands High School in Richardson.
In his 14th year in education and 10th year coaching, Wendel, 33, will
scrap the spread offense used by the Bulldogs in recent years in favor
of a more basic ground-oriented “flexbone” attack.
At Kemp, Greg Anderson comes in after an 0-10 season at Sabine, which
competes in a killer 3A district with Gilmer, Gladewater, Spring Hill,
Mineola and White Oak.
Despite last year’s shutout, in his 13 years of coaching, Anderson, 37,
has taken 11 teams to the playoffs.
Anderson got a late start at Kemp, only starting to meet the players the
second week of May. He runs a “multiple” offense, which will be dictated
to a great extent (he told the boys) by the talents of the Yellowjacket
Texas Football gave Eustace a slight edge over Kemp, but both squads
have very similar numbers in projected returning starters – five
offensive and five defensive for the Bulldogs, and five offensive and
six defensive for the Yellowjackets.
Kemp might have an edge in actual game experience, as the major rash of
injuries the ’Jackets suffered last year meant a lot of players were
pressed into service, some in two or three different positions.
Although the Bulldogs didn’t have the big-time injury bug bite the
’Jackets faced, they had their share of hurts last season, and depth,
particularly on the offensive line, will be a major key for both teams.
Ferris played a lot of young players last year, and the Yellowjackets
are projected to have six offensive and six defensive starters
returning, led by quarterback Matthew Garcia.
Many Ferris players got critical game experience during last year’s 3-7
campaign, which saw the Yellowjackets win two of their last three games.
That may make the difference between finishing in the top three and the
bottom three in what looks to be a very competitive district.
Around the area, Texas Football has picked the Kerens Bobcats to finish
second in District 20-2A behind Frankston, with the Malakoff Tigers
picked to finish last in the seven-team district.
Last year, the Bobcats notched their second straight unbeaten district
championship, and return most of their skill position players, although
they’ll be looking for a new quarterback to replace now-departed
four-year starter Austin Bell.
Frankston is tapped as the favorite because they have a few more
projected returning starters (eight offensive, seven defensive) than
Kerens (six offensive, seven defensive).
Malakoff, which edged out Frankston for the district’s third-place
playoff berth last year, graduated almost all of that squad, returning
only one projected starter (Aaron Hodge and Gaston Wilder) on each side
of the ball.
Dropping down to the six-man ranks, Texas Football has picked the
Trinidad Trojans as the No. 4 team in Division I.
The Trojans went 10-2 last year, advancing to the state quarterfinals
before being knocked out of the playoffs by Blum (who, in turn, were
defeated by eventual state champion Richland Springs).
Trinidad is projected to return four starters on each side of the ball,
led by Stacey Womack, who has averaged 13.5 yards per carry over the
last two seasons.
Sophomore teams battle for the
Monitor Photos/Kerry Yancey
ABOVE: Eustace Bulldogs third baseman Bobby Rodriguez
(left) has to leap high to catch the cutoff throw, and can’t get back
down to the ground quickly enough to make the tag on Mabank Panthers
baserunner Braden Strickland (17) during their Sophomore Boys League
(13- and 14-year-olds) baseball game June 14 at Mabank’s George Watts
Park. BELOW: Eustace Bulldogs catcher Tevin Hall (right) slides in under
the tag of Mabank Panthers pitcher Cameron Kyle to kick off a furious
late-inning comeback. Eustace’s rally put the Bulldogs within a single
run at 8-7, but Mabank held off the visitors to record an 11-7 victory.