2017 Region Outlooks: 3A DI Region III — One of the toughest in the state
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
Today’s spotlight: Class 3A DI Region III
Cameron Yoe dominated Region III from 2012-2015, but the rise of Malakoff dethroned the Yoemen in the regional final last season. Now, with several teams returning a lot of talent, Region III appears to be one of the deepest Class 3A. The District 10 race will decide a lot in the bigger playoff picture, but several teams will be vying for the regional championship this season.
The Tigers have steadily progressed each of the last three seasons and most recently advanced all the way to the state semifinals before falling to Yoakum. Malakoff’s only trouble in District 9 came from Teague, but coach Jamie Driskell gets five key starters back from a high-octane offense heading into 2017.
QB Judd Miller (3,527 yards, 48 TDs) has tremendous size and speed and returns as one of the top quarterbacks in all of Class 3A. Miller will benefit from the return of WR Jaquaylon Hart (436 yards, 5 TDs), who missed nine games last season with an injury. RB Braeshawn Williams (1,233 yards, 14 TDs) joins Miller as another weapon in the backfield. The Tigers lose some experience on defense but do return LB Zee Bailey (148 tackles, 3 FF, 2 INTs) and S Adonia Dixon-Thomas. Teague will be tough in district play, but Malakoff appears to have the pieces for another deep run.
The Lions had an early hiccup against Mexia last season but recovered to win 10 games with their only other losses coming to Malakoff and Cameron Yoe. Coach Donnie Osborn has won at least 10 games in each of the last three seasons, but has been bounced by Cameron Yoe each time in the playoffs. With nine starters back from a powerful offense, Teague enters the year looking to push past its Region III rivals in the playoffs.
While the offense was extremely successful a year ago, it will have somewhat of a new look as Antonio Heard (2,339 total yards, 30 TDs) makes the move from QB to WR for his senior year. QB Zack Satterwhite will take over and has a lot of talent and experienced pieces in the offense to help the transition. OL/DL Marcus Williams (62 tackles, 16 TFL, 3 sacks) anchors the offensive line, but is a monster on both sides of the ball in the trenches. RB Tayvis Coleman (886 yards, 12 TDs) was explosive last year and put up big numbers despite missing five games with an injury. WR/DB Tyrese Heard (535 total yards, 12 TDs, 76 tackles, 3 INTs) is a weapon on the perimeter, in the secondary, and also scored two touchdowns on special teams. With a lot of talent back on both sides of the ball, this may be a breakout year for Teague.
The Yoemen went on a campaign of terror under Rick Rhoades from 2012-2015, going a combined 56-7 with three state titles during that time. Rhoades left after the 2015 season, but coach Tommy Brashear filled in and didn’t miss a beat last year. Cameron Yoe went 11-3 and advanced to the regional championship before falling to Malakoff 37-34 in an overtime thriller.
Offense wasn’t the issue in 2016, as the team averaged more than 42 points per game. But in its three losses, the Yoemen gave up an average of 60 points while giving up 27 ppg throughout the year. The offense will be fine behind the return of dynamic QB Zack Andress (3,694 total yards, 56 TDs) along with RB Tydrick Williams (524 yards, 6 TDs) and rising sophomore RB Nico Vargas (435 yards, 7 TDs). WR Iverson Westbrook (525 yards, 7 TDs) will be looked to for a big season to replace Sicory Smith in the passing game. DB Levi May was an all-state selection and will be one of those counted on to help the defense improve this year.
After falling just short of the 3A DII state championship in 2015, Franklin finished third in the top-heavy 3A DI District 10 before getting a tough draw against Teague in the first round of the playoffs. In the regular season, the team’s only two losses came by a combined 10 points to Rockdale and Cameron Yoe in district play. The district schedule is a gauntlet, but Franklin returns some top young talent – especially in the backfield – that will lead the way this season.
Running backs Avery Archibald and Clayton Rosprim were first-team all-district selections as sophomores while Datron Dixon (freshman) and Nick Lopez (junior) were all-district picks in the backfield as well. Casey Phillips anchors the offensive after an all-state junior campaign and gets OL Dalton Watkins back too. LB Will Fannon and DB Jared Pedraza were first-team all-district picks as sophomores, and will lead the way defensively. After a promising year last season, Franklin will look to use the added experience to make a run in 2017.
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Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.