2017 Region Outlooks: 2A DI Region IV — The defending champs need to reload quickly

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.

PREVIOUSLY
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 / Region II / Region III

Today’s spotlight: Class 2A DI Region IV

There is little doubt that this region is among the toughest in Class 2A and it is arguably one of the deepest Region IV groups at any level in the state. Refugio returns after winning the state championship last season, while Mason and Shiner are traditional powers. Normangee and Ben Bolt will be back looking to repeat runs to the regional semifinals, but Weimar has the experience to make some noise behind Refugio in District 15.

Refugio

The Bobcats are one of the most consistent programs in the state and have won at least 11 games every year since 2006. Refugio does lose some key pieces from last season’s state championship team, but coach Jason Herring is sure to reload and has 11 returning starters to build around.

Jacobe Avery (1,860 total yards, 21 TDs), the gutsy runner who got sick on the field before bouncing right back to pound in a 17-yard touchdown run in the state championship, was described as a running back playing quarterback last year. But with sophomore Jared Kelley expected to get the reigns under center, Avery will get his chance to play as a RB alongside Ysidro Mascorro (807 yards, 8 TDs) – and they’ll do it behind an experienced offensive line. Trey Upton and Armonie Brown are back in the trenches, and both with be significant forces on the defensive line. Jamel LaFond (140 tackles, 8 TFL, 6 INTs) returns as well and will call the shots in the secondary. There are weapons all over the field, and Refugio is in a prime position for another state title appearance.

Mason

The Punchers have been a household name for a while and after falling just short of the regional championship last year, they return a lot of talent looking to bounce back. Coach Kade Burns has 13 starters back and a strong group of underclassmen to work with, as well.

RB Klay Klaerner (District 14 Newcomer of the Year) and QB Otto Wofford (Offensive Player of the Year) are back to power the Wing-T offensive attack and have experience on the offensive line with both Xzavier Herrera and Lucas Martin returning. FS Bode McMillam and DL Kason Silerio bring a lot of toughness to the defense, which allowed just 15 points per game and has seven starters returning. The Punchers are a clear favorite in district after outscoring their District 14 opponents 184-7 last year, and the team will set its sights on a rematch with Refugio in the regional final.

Normangee

The Panthers came out of relatively nowhere last year after losing their first six games of the season and rattled off six straight wins before falling to Mason in the regional semifinals. Normangee may have the most experienced roster back in the region and will look to rely on its offensive attack to replicate last season’s late run.

QB Cameron Ranton (2,040 total yards, 21 TDs) will be in his third year as the starter and he has some solid weapons to work with in WR Jake Shaw (466 yards, 4 TDs), WR Dylan Hoffman, WR CJ Rosales, and RB Tyler Vaught (423 yards). Anthony Banda and Tyce Alexander will anchor play on the offensive and defensive line. There are 16 starters returning, giving coach Nelson Kortis the experience in the system necessary to build on last year’s momentum heading into his third season. But in order to take the next step, Normangee will have to improve its play on defense after giving up an average of almost 37 ppg last year.

Shiner

Shiner has been a force to be reckoned with in the region and has won at least 10 games in four of the last five seasons. But after advancing to the regional semifinals last year, the Comanches return just eight starters – including only two on the offensive side of the ball. It may turn out to be somewhat of a rebuilding year, but it is hard to count out coach Steven Cerny’s squad by the time the playoffs roll around.

Weimar

However, the lack of experience in Shiner could open the door for Weimar to have a big year. The Wildcats were bounced in the first round by eventual regional semifinalist Ben Bolt, but return 14 starters – including the tough RB Colton Christian (506 yards, 7 TDs), who will see an even bigger role this year behind the dominant Jadan Thomas on the offensive line. Ravon’Dre Wells makes the move to quarterback after seeing time all over the field last year, and Damien Brown (537 yards, 6 TDs, 80 tackles) will make an impact on both sides of the ball. The weapons are plentiful as Weimar will look to compete behind Refugio in District 15.

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Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.

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