2017 Region Outlooks: 6A Region IV — Who reloads the fastest?
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 IV
The addition of Westlake and Lake Travis strengthened the competition in Class 6A Region IV last year and the Cavaliers made their presence felt quickly by claiming their sixth state championship. Cibolo Steele will be back after falling just short of a Division II title, but Converse Judson and Smithson Valley are among those that will be looking to make some noise this season.
Coach Hank Carter lost a lot of talent from the 2016 state championship team and the Cavaliers will not be as strong of a team as they were in a dominating campaign last season. The Cavaliers will reload behind several new faces, but will still compete as one of the top teams in the region.
With QB Charlie Brewer gone to Baylor, senior Matthew Baldwin will get his chance to lead Lake Travis after getting mostly mop-up action last season. Garrett Wilson is back to give Baldwin and the offense a reliable weapon. While a lot of the firepower and several of the big names are gone, Lake Travis still has what it takes to make a run.
Westlake lost to Lake Travis by 40-plus points twice last season, but the Chaparrals get a lot more talent back than their District 25-6A counterpart. Sam Ehlinger and Levi Jones are gone, but Nakia Watson gives Todd Dodge plenty to work with offensively after rushing for 1,648 yards and 22 touchdowns last season.
While Watson brings back some explosiveness in the backfield, Westlake gets a lot of its defensive stars back from last season, as well. DL Braden Cassity and David Neil anchor a stout defensive line. Experience will go a long way, and Westlake may have what it takes to hang with the Cavaliers in Division I.
Cibolo Steele’s only two losses last season came to eventual state champions Lake Travis and Desoto, and the Knights lost those games by a combined 12 points. Coach Scott Lehnhoff took the district’s Athletic Director job after the season and defensive coordinator David Saenz was promoted to head coach in February.
Saenz will be without the electrifying Xavier Martin at quarterback, but there is still a lot coming back for the Knights. Brenden Brady is one of the top running backs in the state after rushing for 1,685 yards and 20 touchdowns and Onyx Smith will be a go-to receiver. Steele allowed just 16 points per game last season and has LSU commit Caden Sterns and DB JayVeon Cardwell back to call the shots in the secondary. It’s a loaded district with both Smithson Valley and Judson, but Steele will be a force in both the district and the region again in 2017.
The Rockets were the only team to beat Lake Travis after knocking off the Cavaliers in the season opener, but an overtime loss to Westlake in the second round of the playoffs ended things early. With top players returning on both sides of the ball, Converse Judson could be the strongest team in Class 6A Region IV entering 2017.
The offense will have no problems matching its output of 38 points per game from last season as dual-threat QB Julon Williams enters his fourth year as the starter. RB Sincere McCormick will have a bigger role in the backfield after rushing for 691 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore. The defense gets its playmakers back, namely DE Demarvin Leal, giving the Rockets a legitimate shot at making a run for the regional title after being bounced early last season.
Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.