DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Cisco (1) returns 12 starters from a 9-2 team that was an area finalist last year — most notably running back and linebacker Mason Reed, who was the District 4-2ADII MVP with 1,344 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns, not to mention his 114 tackles on defense. Colton Kent takes over as the quarterback, who also plays linebacker on defense as he moves from wide receiver last year. Having your best players playing is key, and this team is stacked with two-way talent of kids who never leave the field. Their tough district game will be against Colorado City on November 1, and Class 1A power Stamford on September 27 should prove to be a tough test.
Corsicana Mildred (2) lost in the state championship game in Class 2A Division II last season, but it shouldn’t surprise anybody to see them back contending for state in 2013. This team has a chip on its shoulder, especially considering that they are still not recognized as the best team in Corsicana. They do have to replace their quarterback from a year ago, but the 12 returning starters will lessen the blow, and help with the learning experience. Draylon Sterling can do it all as a two-way star for the Eagles at running back and linebakcer, coming back after posting 1,959 rushing yards, 34 touchdowns, 127 tackles and 5 interceptions in 2012. Centerville comes to Corsicana on September 6 after beating Mildred handily in 2012. But their toughest District 6-2A Division II battle is September 27 against Blooming Grove.
Farmersville (3) is in a tough District 6-2A Division I, and has proven that they can make it through to the playoffs. Postseason success has eluded the Farmers, but this year looks promising. They return utility player Andrew Simons and running back Darrin Pennington to lead the team. Playing district games against Commerce, Pottsboro and Caddo Mills will get them battle tested for the playoffs in 2013.
Malakoff (4) returns eight starters on a very quick offense. Running back Damontes Dowell, who has rushed for over 1,400 yards and 20 touchdowns in the past two seasons, is just the beginning of their speed. His brother, Marcus, is also a speedster running back as a junior. The leadership of players and Coach Driskell has led to success the past few years. Their tough District 7-2A Division I tests will be October 4 against Eustace (10) and November 8 against Winnsboro.
Eastland (5) was a regional finalist in 2012 with a 10-3 record. Despite having a lot of juniors starting, the Mavericks return quarterback Josh Moylan, tight end Thayer, linebacker Cervantez, wide receiver and defensive back Majors, and defensive end Harris. Their tough games this season will be September 6 at Jacksboro, October 11 versus Breckenridge, and October 18 against Merkel.
Jacksboro (6) has a three-year starter at quarterback in Kirk Weldon, and this should be a banner year for the Tigers and Coach Hodnett. Weldon also starts at linebacker and their defense boasts one of the best Class 2A defensive lines in the state with defensive end Garrett Johnson, defensive end C.J. Hamman, and defensive end Kade Rodie. Eastland on September 6 is their toughest test. They lost this game 43-7 last year.
Whitesboro (7) is an old school running-and-defense team that will wear opponents out. It all starts with their running back Collin Killcrease, and their defense. They have good senior leaders, and their defense will be stingy with defensive lineman Tristen Lewis, and defensive back Clayton Stringer. Their schedule has some tough spots against Class 3A Bonham on September 20 and Pilot Point on October 25.
Commerce (8) returns 13 starters from a playoff team last year. Quarterback Sam Wells will cover the few weaknesses that the Tigers have in 2013. On defense, they need linebacker Isaiah Martinez to repeat his performance from last year and get contributions from defensive end Demetric Jennings, cornerback Al Jackson, defensive end Bailey Weaver, and linebacker J.J. Prothro.
District 6-2A is loaded with good teams and they should knock each other off. But, when dust settles, expect Farmersville and Commerce to be the top two teams.
Eustace (9) will surprise a lot of teams with their strength in their first year under former defensive coordinator Heath Ragle. Linebacker Nathan Denson, defensive end Zach Hughes and linebacker Abed Abuhatab are all part of a ball hawk defense who creates big plays. Canton and Rusk are two tough pre-district games for the Bulldogs and, on the district schedule, expect Malakoff and Winnsboro to be tough opponents.
Gunter (10) returns just three seniors and five starters from a 10-win team in 2012. They have a lot of talent coming in from a good junior varsity team last year, and you have to believe in Coach Fieszel, who has .816 winning percentage at Gunter. Their schedule gets rough on September 13 versus Melissa and October 25 against Leonard.
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