2017 Region Outlooks: 2A DII Region IV — Burton has risen to the top

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 / Region IV
Class 2A DII: Region I / Region II / Region III

Today’s spotlight: Class 2A DII Region IV

Burton advanced to the state semifinals out of Region IV last season and the Panthers return as the likely favorite to repeat as regional champions. Falls City and Bruni return key contributors from last season’s regional semifinalist squads, but Flatonia loses a lot of talent to graduation, leaving the door open for another team to rise to the top alongside Burton.

Burton

After winning 13 games and advancing to the state semifinals before falling to Bremond, Burton returns a lot of skill position talent looking to emerge as a favorite to advance to the state title game with Roshauud Paul out of the picture. Last season marked the first 10-plus win season since 2012 for the Panthers, and the team will be looking to build on that success this season.

Entering his third year as the starter, QB Caleb Harmel (3,814 total yards, 53 TDs) is one of the most explosive offensive weapons in the state and will continue to grow as a junior this season. He has WR/OLB DeMonderick Winters (1,118 yards, 22 TDs, 156 tackles) back to work with along with two bright spots on the offensive line in Cade Weiss and Caleb Fuchs. The defense is stacked with Winters, SS Montal Wilson (96 tackles, 4 INTs), LB Luke Salinas (92 tackles), CB Bailey Deramus (56 tackles, 6 INTs) and LB Chase Mathis (76 tackles) all returning. Burton has the firepower to make a lot of noise again this season and will do so with a more open route to the state championship if they make it through the Region IV.

Falls City

Falls City has been a force in Region IV for a while now and despite an 8-5 record last year, the Beavers fell just short of knocking off Burton in the regional semifinals. With four of those five losses coming by 10 or fewer points, Falls City will be poised for a big year with a little bit more experience on its side heading into 2017.

The Beavers return seven starters on offense and eight on defense, giving them a solid foundation of returners. The offense will again run through junior QB Keyshawn Johnson (2,492 total yards, 27 TDs), who made a name for himself as a tough dual-threat quarterback last season. RB Andrew Malcolm (1,050 yards, 15 TDs) will see a heavy workload in the backfield as well and RB Corey Dziuk (556 yards, 4 TDs) is another reliable weapon. DE Dillon Moczygemba (92 tackles, 27 TFL, 15 sacks) and C Trace Labus are dominant in the trenches, and LB Derrick Gonzales (94 tackles, 11 TFL, 2 INTs) will be looking to build off a big sophomore year. The Beavers will be the favorite out of District 15 with Flatonia losing a lot of talent to graduation, and will have their eyes set on a rematch with Burton later in the playoffs.

Bruni

The Badgers have had a lot of success in Region IV and are coming off a nine-win season after falling to Flatonia in the regional semifinals. Bruni loses a few key pieces but brings back some talent in the backfield and on defense to lead the way with a tough district schedule ahead.

Riviera Kaufer and Woodsboro are both likely to be tough in District 16, but Brune advanced through the district schedule unscathed last season. The loss of QB Joseph Cruz will be a tough one, but it opens to door for rising junior RB John Vela (1,372 yards, 13 TDs) to take on a bigger role in the run-heavy offense. LB Montana Johnson (68 tackles), Pedro Salazar Jr. (65 tackles, 6 TFL) and CB David Landeros (32 tackles, 2 INTs) will lead the way on defense.

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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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