2017 Region Outlooks: 6A Region I — DeSoto, Allen, San Angelo Central highlight loaded region
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.
Today’s spotlight: Class 6A Region I
After going without a state champion in 2015, 6A Region I reclaimed its position atop the state behind DeSoto’s run to glory last season. The region consistently produces some of the state’s toughest competition, and 2017 will be no exception.
But even without the headache of realignment, there is no shortage of change entering the new season. DeSoto had 28 players sign a letter of intent on signing day and lost 67 seniors to graduation. Cedar Hill is ushering in the Carlos Lynn era and Mansfield has to move on from Kennedy Brooks. All four regional finalists – Duncanville, Allen, DeSoto and Cedar Hill – lose their top quarterback from last season.
DeSoto and Allen will reload, but after promising runs last season teams like San Angelo Central and Abilene have the potential to make some noise again this year.
Realignment allowed DeSoto to complete in the Class 6A Division II playoffs last year, and it worked out pretty well as the Eagles rattled off a 16-0 record on their way to the program’s first state championship. The Eagles then had an unheard-of 28 players sign a National Letter of Intent on signing day.
But make no mistake – Todd Peterman still has a lot of talent returning. Courtney Douglas will take over the reigns of the offense and star running back Kelan Walker is back to help shoulder the load offensively. The defense has an abundance of both talent and experience on its side behind a strong core of returners including Byron Hanspard, Gemon Green and Michael Gardner. There will be a lot of new faces, but there is no doubt DeSoto will again be a force to be reckoned with.
After adjusting to the Terry Gambill regime last season, Allen is hungry for its first state championship appearance since the end of the Kyler Murray era in 2014. A two year absence feels like a lifetime for a program with the expectations that Allen has established, and the Eagles will have an abundance of offensive weapons at their disposal this season.
The loss of Kirby Bennett (Bishop Gorman) hurts, but Brock Sturges is set to take over full time in the back field after splitting reps last season. The Eagles’ leading receiver, Carson Schleker, is back and rising junior Theo Wease, who recently committed to Oklahoma, is primed for a breakout season after hauling in eight touchdowns last year. It will be Allen’s third straight season with a new starting quarterback, but the abundance of skill position talent should make the transition a smooth one.
Last year, Cedar Hill rode its high-octane offensive attack to the regional championship game before falling to eventual state champion Desoto. Former head coach Joey McGuire then departed to join Matt Rhule’s staff at Baylor, leaving one of the state’s premier jobs open.
With no shortage of applicants, Cedar Hill eventually selected former Arlington Seguin coach Carlos Lynn to take over the program. Having won a state championship in 2006 as the defensive coordinator at Cedar Hill, Lynn is familiar with the program’s expectations. He will have a lot of talent to work with in his first season at the helm, with Josh Fleeks and Cameron Fleming highlighting the return talent on offense and Shabazz Dotson back anchor the defensive line.
San Angelo Central
Cal Vincent and the Bobcats made the entire state take notice with a dominant run through last season, going an impressive 12-1 before falling just short of the regional final in a 34-21 loss to Allen. That game was one of the most highly anticipated of the season and Central will be looking to build off that hype.
Coach Brent Davis has a lot of talented seniors to replace from last season, but the Bobcats will be in search of their fifth straight district championship. The Angry Orange lose Vincent, but rising junior Maverick Mcivor will take over the offense after getting time at slot receiver last season. It will be tough to make another run in 6A DI, but Davis has compiled a 45-7 record over the last four years and is sure to have the Bobcats ready to compete again.