2017 Region Outlooks: 3A DI Region I — Wall takes over as the team to beat
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
Today’s spotlight: Class 3A DI Region I
After Brock claimed the state championship in 2015, the Eagles were knocked off in the regional championship game by Wall last season. Those two teams were head and shoulders above the rest of the competition and will return as the favorites until they are knocked off the top of the totem pole. Also keep an eye on Comanche in District 3-3A DI, as the Indians look to bounce back from a first-round exit after winning the district championship.
It’s been seven straight 11-plus win seasons for coach Houston Guy now as the Hawks advanced all the way to the state semifinals before falling to the eventual champion, Mineola. Two of Wall’s regular season losses came to Class 4A Monahans and Iowa Park, and the third came to TAPPS Midland Christian. In District 2-3A DI, their dominance was overwhelming. Wall outscored district opponents 246-28 in just four games, allowing an average of just seven points per game while scoring more than 61 ppg.
The district race will again be a clear path for the Hawks as that stout defense returns just about all of its top weapons. LB Lucas Garcia (135 tackles), LB Sterling Guy (116 tackles), DL Steven Watts (108 tackles), DL Dryden Virden (104 tackles) and DB Marco Jimenez (5 INTs) are all back. RB/DB Tymber Carr Jr. (624 yards, 7 TDs, 5 INTs) was a first team all-district selection on both sides of the ball and FB Casey Braden (798 yards, 11 TDs) will be a key piece in the backfield, as well. As if that wasn’t enough, QB Brock Rosenquist (1,316 total yards, 20 TDs) is also back. This will be a loaded team in 2017 and with Mineola likely to be down due to graduation, Wall could be an early state title favorite.
Brock has quickly developed itself into a perennial power in the region and secured its third straight 12-plus-win season last year. The Eagles were even more dominant than Wall in district play, holding District 4-3A DI opponents to an average of less than three points per game. Brock defeated its district foes by an average of more than 47 points per game and cruised through the playoffs before falling to Wall in a tightly contested regional championship game.
Returning a total of nine starters, the Eagles will enter 2017 much more inexperienced than a year ago as a significant amount of the senior class had started since their freshman year. Nonetheless, Brock will have talent and will still be one of the top teams in the region. DT Skylar Collier (107 tackles, 11 sacks), LB Zakk Young (144 tackles) and DE Tanner Patino (72 tackles, 5 sacks) return to lead the defense while coach Chad Worrell hopes RB Dawson Littlepage (220 yards, 3 TDs) will bounce back from an early season injury a year ago to be productive in the backfield alongside FB Matthew Gray (1,032 total yards, 8 TDs).
Comanche cruised through district play with an unblemished record before falling to Breckenridge in a low scoring first-round playoff matchup. It was the Indians’ first winning season since 2013, but the team has yet to escape out of the first round under coach Stephen Hermesmeyre. This season could be the year that changes though, as a talented group of key players return.
Hermesmeyre’s son, QB Bronte Hermesmeyre, is back as a senior and has first team all-district selections RB Colton Roberts and TE Gavin Farrar back to work with. Ignacio Rios will be a leader on the offensive line while LB Cade Mercer is back on defense after earning first team all-district honors as a sophomore. The Indians should again claim the district championship, but will look to move past the bi-district round this season to make a run in the playoffs.
The race for playoff seeding in District 1-3A DI is extremely important as finishing atop the standings postpones a likely meeting with Wall until the regional semifinals, while finishing second likely sets up a potential second-round matchup against Brock. Littlefield took home the crown last year, defeating River Road and Muleshoe by a combined eight points in the final two games of the season before advancing to the regional semifinals. The district champion will again be in prime position to make a similar run.
The defending champs appear to have the best shot at claiming the title again in 2017 as Littlefield will lean on All-State OL Matthew Arce and first team All-District RB Chris Douglas to carry the offense.
Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.