2017 Region Outlooks: 2A DI Region II — Crawford’s ready for another run
AS WE LOOK AHEAD TO THE 2017 TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SEASON, DCTF'S BRADY KEANE TAKES A LOOK AT HOW EACH REGION SHOULD SHAKE OUT WHEN FALL ROLLS AROUND.
The 2017 Texas high school football season will be here before you know it, and in a year without UIL realignment, we have a grasp on who should challenge for region — and state — titles across the state. We’ll take a closer look at the frontrunners in each region throughout the spring doldrums.
Class 6A: Region I / Region II / Region III / Region IV
Class 5A: Region I / Region II / Region III / Region IV
Class 4A DI: Region I / Region II / Region III / Region IV
Class 4A DII: Region I / Region II / Region III / Region IV
Class 3A DI: Region I / Region II / Region III / Region IV
Class 3A DII: Region I / Region II / Region III / Region IV
Class 2A DI: Region I
Today’s spotlight: Class 2A DI Region II
Crawford finished atop Region II last season and advanced all the way to the state championship game before falling to Refugio in one of the most exciting games of the season’s final weekend. As back-to-back regional champs, the Pirates remain the favorite.
District 7 is stacked with Crawford, Goldthwaite, Hico and De Leon, which will be looking to replicate its run to the regional championship after finishing second in district play. Mart and Windthorst, both returning district champions, will be strong again while Bells and Valley View are sleepers out of District 6 with a lot of experience.
Crawford’s only two losses came in the first and last game of the season – Tolar in the opener and Refugio in the state championship. After dominating their opponents on both sides of the ball, coach Delbert Kelm and the Pirates return several key players who will be hungry for a third consecutive regional championship.
QB Gage Pearson (honorable-mention all-state) and RB Garrett Dutschmann (first-team all-district), the duo that connected on an improbable 44-yard touchdown to tie the state championship game at 20-20 late in the fourth quarter, are back to lead the way on offense. They’ll have a strong offensive line back as well with first-team all-district selections in Will Worrell and Seth Kolscheen returning along with second-team OL James Harrison. Worrell, LB Koby Smith and DB Reed Rogers were all big-time playmakers on a defense that allowed an average of less than 13 points per game last year. Crawford’s state championship appearance was its first since 2004 and they’ll be hungry for a return this year.
After combining for six wins in 2014 and 2015, De Leon broke through with a huge season and advanced all the way to the regional championship before falling to Crawford. Two of the Bearcats’ three losses came to the Pirates and with just six players gone from last year’s team, coach David Yeager and De Leon appear to have what it takes to produce another deep playoff run.
QB Kevin Yeager (3,558 total yards, 49 TDs) has improved each year in the system and will be one of the top signal callers Class 2A as a junior. WR Orson Sylva (711 yards, 10 TDs) and WR Calvin Martin (485 yards, 6 TDs) will be relied on heavily in the passing game while rising junior RB Chris Cox (1,036 yards, 9 TDs) will provide some balance in the running game. On defense, Sylva (113 tackles), DL Bray Tovar (87 tackles, 21 TFL) and LB Kelan Hodges (81 tackles, 19 TFL, 8 sacks) make plays all over the field. The Bearcats surprised a lot of people last year, but enter 2017 as a legitimate contender along with Crawford out of District 7.
Coach Kevin Hoffman led the Panthers to a 12-win season and an appearance in the regional semifinals last year. The team’s only loss came to Crawford and with some key players back, Mart will look to claim its second straight district championship.
The offense flows through QB Jace Terry (2,347 total yards, 31 TDs) and RB Tyreke Horne (1,444 total yards, 19 TDs), while WR Shatydrick Bailey (958 total yards, 12 TDs) and WR Jalon Kirven (600 yards, 6 TDs) bring some explosiveness to the table, as well. The defense will be stout behind LB Zamar Kirven (122 tackles), LB Cooper Baize (150 tackles, 4 sacks) and DE Elijah Green (60 tackles, 4 sacks). The Panthers should be a force in the region again.
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Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.