George West Longhorns
The George West Longhorns are pegged as the No. 2 choice in District 15-2A DI behind the tough Marion Bulldogs. The ’Horns will be experienced with nine starters back on both offense and defense. The GW boys finished 7-5 on the year and got to the area finals in 2011.
Head coach Tim Holt will rely heavily on QB/FS Brady Jones and running back Bobby Torres to help the Longhorns return for a deep playoff run again this year.
Three Rivers Bulldogs
The Bulldogs are the third choice in District 15-1A DI. The Three Rivers boys will have to fight through and ambush the Shiner Comanches and Ganado Indians to capture the district title, according to Campbell. The Bulldogs finished at 7-5 last year and made it to the area finals. With seven returnees on both offense and defense, the Bulldogs will have some bite this upcoming season.
Head coach Randy Palmer will get a boost from returning QB Hagan Johnston and running back Wesley Guzman in leading the Bulldogs who are dropping down to class 1A this year. Lineman James Lee will anchor the front for the ’Dogs.
The Beeville Trojans were picked to finish fifth in their new 30-4A alignment with Calallen, Port Lavaca, Gregory-Portland and Victoria East ahead of them. Only last year’s win-less Tuloso-Midway Warriors and the Victoria West Warriors, who must replace almost all of their starters, are behind the Trojans.
In 2011, Beeville finished 6-6 on the year but was soundly defeated in the area round by the newcomer to the district this year, Calallen. The Trojans have six starters back on offense and seven returnees on defense. Strong play up front from an experienced line should be the Trojans’ strong suit.
The Trojans will use their rushing game to produce points. A new backfield will be a question mark, but running behind the likes of Tevin Wilson, Aric Gamez, Graham Traylor and Tyler Byrd along the front line should help the Trojan runners put points on the scoreboard for head coach Troy Moses.
Topping the list at No. 1 in the state are the defending state 2A Division II champions, the Refugio Bobcats. The Bobcats went undefeated last year, a perfect 16-0, and are picked to repeat by the prognosticators. The Bobcats return six starters on both offense and defense from last year’s title team and should once again rule District 16-2A DII.
Head coach Jason Herring will have speedy Draigon Silvas back at running back and all-state and offensive MVP Travis Quintanilla back at QB to lead the Bobcat offense which should again keep the scoreboards in South Texas busy.
Falls City Beavers
The Falls City Beavers, with new coach Steve Marbach coming in from district rival Pettus, are the top choice in District 14-1A DII and are ranked No. 3 in the state in their division. The Beavers have seven offensive starters back and nine defensive starters from a team that went to the Region IV finals and finished with a 10-3 overall record.
Marbach will have plenty of experience with QB Cameron Soto back as his signal caller. Running back Phillip Lyssy is also back and will be looking to top the 1,000-yard mark this year for the Beavers.
The Pettus Eagles, under new head coach Dan Garza, are ranked second in district but Garza will have to replace a very strong graduating class of seniors from last year’s area finalist team. The Eagles finished 9-3 in 2011.
Pettus has four returnees on offense and six starters back on defense.
Coach Garza will have one of the area’s top receivers back at a wide-out spot in Casey Jones. QB prospects Matt Gonzales or Dylan Lopez will step into replacing the big shoes of last year’s starter Ryan Beck.
The Skidmore-Tynan Bobcats will be under new head coach Russell Joy in 2012. The ’Cats are picked as the fourth-place team in District 16-2A DII with Refugio, Banquete and Taft ahead of them. The S-T boys will battle for a playoff spot with eight returnees on offense and nine defensive starters back from a 5-5 team from last year.
Coach Joy will use a pro style I formation but will feature a stout running game with sophomore Andrew Casarez leading the way.
Karnes City Badgers
Karnes City is picked as the number three squad in District 15-2A DII race this upcoming year. The always tough Poth Pirates and Stockdale Brahmas are Campbell’s picks to finish one-two in the district title chase. The Badgers will have seven starters back on offense and eight returnees on defense to put the Badgers right in the thick of things for the hunt for a playoff berth. The Badgers fell to a 3-7 record last year but should rebound for a good season in 2012.
Head coach Jim Wood will move last year’s QB, Kenneth Glenn, to RB along with running mate Garrett Liska. Both should help provide the offense for the Badgers along with wide receiver Phillip Vaughan.
The Kenedy Lions are projected to finish right behind the TR Bulldogs in District 15-1A DI in fourth place. The Lions coach Lin Havron will have seven offensive starters back and five on defense to help them challenge for a playoff spot. Kenedy finished 6-5 last year, getting to the bi-district round of the postseason.
Havron will expect big things from an experienced offensive line led by Sheldon Hons, Isaac Cruz and Ray Jay Garza.
The Eagles from Woodsboro also find themselves selected to be the fourth team in their District 14-1A DII race. Falls City, Pettus and Louise are ahead of them, according to Campbell. But with an experienced group of returning starters (eight on offense and nine on defense), the Eagles should be competitive with anyone.
First year head coach Wade Miller will have starting QB Tyler Quesada, fullback Dillon Starr and running back Jonathan Flores back to help the Eagles make a run for a playoff spot.
The Goliad Tigers will have their hands full in District 15-2A DI with Marion, George West, Luling and Jourdanton all vying for playoff berths. The Tigers are selected fifth in their district but do have a wealth of experience back in the fold for 2012. Nine starters on offense and seven on defense will help new head coach John Mares field a competitive squad in a competitive district. The Tigers fell to 2-8 on the season in 2011. This will be the Tigers’ first season back in the 2A division.
Mares will look to returning QB Dalton Sturm and the Ohrts, Denton and Davis, to provide the leadership for the Tigers.
Runge Yellow Jackets
The Runge Yellow Jackets have been selected as the fifth team in a five-team race in District 14-1A DII. The ’Jackets were 2-8 last year for coach Ken Wallace. Seven starters are back for the Yellowjackets on both offense and defense, which should bode well for second year coach Wallace. A year in his program will help the Runge boys compete for their first playoff spot since 1997.
Wallace will look to get a full season from QB Rob Molina and improved line play with the addition of transfer Josiah De Souza.
Bruce Harper is the sports editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 123, or at sports@mySouTex.com.