Mineral Wells Index
Each and every June I look forward to the day when what is often called “The Bible of Texas high school football,” Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine, hits the stands.
As reported in the Index on Wednesday, the magazine has ranked Strawn and Gordon in the Top 10 of their respective Six Man divisions, while giving the Mineral Wells Rams a not-so-favorable fourth-place prediction in District 6-3A.
The magazine’s prediction of where Santo, Perrin, Millsap and Community Christian School were also not kind as the arguably most respected high school football prognostication publication does not predict any of those schools will make the playoffs.
In this space today, I will deal with high school football only. I will get to the magazine’s prediction of the Big 12, the state and national college football scene and the NFL in this space in a later issue.
Today, I will go school by school and comment on the magazine’s prediction of each of our teams in the Index coverage area.
TF puts the Rams in fourth place. Basically what it did was reprint last year’s final standings. TF has Kennedale winning the district, and it ranks the Wildcats at No. 18 on its Top 25 Class 3A poll.
I have no problem with TF picking Kennedale as the 2013 district champion. The Wildcats lost several good players from last year to graduation, but they do return running back Juwan Washington, who rushed for 1,637 yards and 19 touchdowns last year, despite not playing against the Rams in the district finale.
Until some district team knocks off Kennedale, you have to predict the Wildcats will repeat.
My problem is the 2, 3 and 4 spots. I guess it’s OK to predict Springtown second. They return a good quarterback, Landry Turner (head coach Brad Turner’s son) and they will return good players on defense.
But when Mineral Wells and Springtown meet anything but the usual happens, and this year the Porcupines must come here. Last year an officials penalty flag cruelly turned the course of last year’s game and wiped out what could have been a critical touchdown.
Not saying the call was wrong, just saying it changed the game.
In other words, that game was closer than the final score indicated. The Rams can’t hardly wait to face the Porcupines this season to even that score.
I feel TF placed Lake Worth third for two reasons: The Bullfrogs defeated the Rams last year, and this year’s MWHS/LWHS matchup is at Lake Worth.
I guess the magazine judges all of its predictions from stats and past results. If you talk to any Ram varsity football player, they are circling the date of Oct. 18.
The Rams were embarrassed last year losing to Lake Worth at home, and there is too much pride on this team for it not to fight tooth and nail against the Bullfrogs.
The three games involving MWHS, Springtown and Lake Worth will shape the district standings in the second, third and fourth slots, but I think everyone agrees Kennedale should be predicted to repeat.
This team could easily win state this year. The offensive standout duo of Harrison Nowak and Ross Alison return, and it is simply a program that reloads every year. The Greyhounds reached the state semifinals last year before falling to eventual champion Richland Springs, but this year may be Strawn’s year.
TF predicts Strawn will win district and ranks the ‘Hounds No. 3 (Division II) in the state, but folks at Strawn do not need a magazine to tell them their team is solid.
The team, however, is taking the ranking in stride.
“We expect to be ranked high every year,” Strawn head coach Dewayne Lee said. “The kids know a ranking doesn’t mean much and that how we finish is more important.
“But the (high) ranking is fun, and it gives folks a lot to talk about. However, it also paints a huge target on your back.”
A target that will only make the ‘Hounds reach down deep and get better each week.
“We will have to play at the top of our game week in and week out,” Lee said. “We will have to bring our ‘A’ game every week. But that’s OK.
“We will use the ranking as motivation to perform at our best because we will work hard enough to achieve a high level of play.
“It is nice that people think a lot of us, and the high ranking will only push us harder to try and be the best we can be.”
There is no question Strawn will be playing in December.
Not to sound repetitive, but this team could easily win state this year.
TF picks Gordon to win district and ranks the ‘Horns at No. 6 (Division I) , but like their rivals Strawn, Gordon expects to win and make deep playoff runs every year.
Last year, like their county rivals, the ‘Horns reached the state semifinals.
It has been a strange off season for Gordon. Last year’s head coach, Shane Mallory, resigned for personal reasons, and a few weeks later Gordon announced it had signed Richland Springs coach Jerry Burkhart, who said he was coming to Gordon and then said he wasn’t.
But all is good at Gordon now as the ‘Horns hired an ex player, former Alvarado defensive coordinator, Joe Kostiha, and everyone in Longhorn Nation seems very excited.
But players really make the team, and Gordon has plenty of those, including a talented senior class led by Jake Wigington and Jonathan Jennings.
I look for Gordon to be riding a long winning streak into December.
Picked last in an eight-team district, the Bulldogs, I feel, will not finish eighth.
Millsap has 19 returning starters from last year’s winless season, and these guys are hungry. I am not going to say the Bulldogs will make the playoffs, but with the experience they have returning Millsap could surprise the “experts” in 2013.
The Wildcats, picked fifth in the five-team District 5-A (Division I) are in an extremely tough district which features No. 10 Goldthwaite and Hico.
Santo will have to defeat San Saba and De Leon to reach the playoffs, and I feel this certainly can happen.
The Wildcats missed the playoffs narrowly last year but made the playoffs in 2011, and this program has a winning attitude. It also has good athletes including Grant Gilbert and Keith Chalker, to name a couple, and I feel with a few breaks this team can qualify for the playoffs.
Perrin is easily in the toughest 1A district in the state.
The Pirates are predicted to finish fourth by TF. In this district that is a compliment.
Perrin really surprised a lot of folks last year as the gritty Pirates went 4-6.
But it will be tough to qualify for the playoffs in a district that includes defending state champion Munday (ranked No. 4 by TF), Muenster (ranked No. 7 and went three rounds in the playoffs in 2012) and Electra.
I am going to go out on a limb and predict Perrin defeats Electra, but the Pirates will have to do this at Electra.
As TAAF goes, the Warriors are in a tough district, picked fourth in a four-team district.
Azle Christian is the predicted favorite and the favorite to win state, but for some reason Willow Park Trinity Christian Academy, a school with a fairly large enrollment, has entered this district.
It will be tough for the Warriors to defeat Azle or TCA, but I feel they will beat El Paso Immanuel Baptist and take third.
There you have itt, my take on the upcoming 2013 football season.
I can’t wait to see all of y’all at the games.