2017 Region Outlooks: 3A DII Region I — Get ready for a fantastic battle at 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

Today’s spotlight: Class 3A DII Region I

After making the jump from Class 2A Division I last season, Canadian didn’t miss a beat and won the Region I championship. While the Wildcats will look to continue their dominant reign, teams like Sonora, Eastland and Idalou are among those looking to knock Canadian off the perch, and appear to have the pieces to do it.

Canadian

Canadian is a combined 43-3 over the last three seasons and enter the year coming off an appearance in the state semifinals. The Wildcats knocked off Sonora 27-21 in overtime to claim the regional championship and will again be considered the favorite until proven otherwise.

The loss of quarterback Corbin Douthitt will hurt but bruising running back Chris Jones (1,640 total yards, 16 TDs) comes back as the top offensive weapon and RB Alexis Flores (537 yards, 10 TDs) returns as well. QB Casen Cavalier got some action as a sophomore backup last season, but coach Chris Koetting will also need to develop some weapons on the perimeter to fill some holes. LB Wyatt Bishop (169 tackles, 26 TFL), DL Jackson Anderson (108 tackles, 27 TFL) and DB Matthew Lynch (66 tackles, 10 INTs) will lead a defense that gave up an average of 15 points per game last season.

Sonora

The Broncos have won back-to-back district championships under coach David T. Sine, extending the program’s streak to four straight district titles. Sonora’s only regular season loss last season came to 2A DII state runner-up Iraan and the Broncos advanced to the regional final before falling in overtime to Canadian. While the team loses some key weapons in the passing game, a strong nucleus returns as Sonora looks to replicate a run to the regional championship game this season.

QB Kaden Cordell (4,148 total yards, 59 TDs) will again be the driving force behind the offense while the dynamic ATH Jarrett Jackson (2,102 total yards, 35 TDs) is back as well, giving the offense an explosive one-two punch. The offensive line will be young as senior Christian Ramon is the lone returning starter and Sine will look to some young new faces to step up at receiver this season. Defensively, FS Walker T. Sine (121 tackles, 2 INTs) was an all-state selection as a sophomore and will anchor the secondary alongside first-team all-district CB Wesley Dutton (43 tackles). The Broncos enter the year as the favorites in District 3, but will look to push through for their third regional title since 2012.

Eastland

Last year marked the first season Eastland failed to reach the 10-win mark since 2010 as the Mavericks finished second in District 4 behind Cisco. The team went on to the second round of the playoffs before getting a tough draw in Canadian, and will enter the year looking to bounce back with a deep playoff run.

Eastland gave up an average of 16 ppg defensively last season and returns a lot of talent from that stingy group. Brodi Forrest, Sam Barker, Morgan Barker and Bryson Blackwell were all first-team all-district selections while DL Rodney Potts was second-team all-district as well. The offense loses a few of its top weapons and will have to reload, but the Mavericks’ defense will be tough again in the battle with Coleman and Cisco for the district championship.

Idalou

Idalou cruised through District 2 and knocked off Dimmitt in the first round of the playoffs before falling to Coleman 22-14 in the second round. With district championships in each of the last two seasons, Idalou will look to its run for another successful year in 2017 behind a powerful running game.

RB Mark Caballero (1,714 yards, 21 TDs) is the workhorse and will look to build on a huge junior season while DE Austen Sollis (82 tackles, 11 TFL), Corbin Ruiz (50 tackles, 6 TFL) and Salvador Acosta (48 tackles, 5 TFL) return to lead the defensive unit. Colorado will provide a challenge in district, but Idalou looks to have the talent for another district championship this year.

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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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