2018 Region Outlooks: 3A Division II Region I – Does Canadian roll out another regional finals run or does Childress finally catch up?
AS WE LOOK AHEAD TO THE 2018 TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SEASON, DCTF'S MATT STEPP TAKES A LOOK AT HOW EACH REGION SHOULD SHAKE OUT WHEN FALL ROLLS AROUND.
Today’s spotlight: Class 3A Division II Region I
Once again expect the Region I race in Division to possibly come down to a battle of panhandle area powers as Canadian and Childress in 3-3A Division II looks primed to be in contention for a regional showdown rematch. However, there are several teams capable of potentially taking the panhandle powers down. Friona and Spearman join Canadian and Childress in 3-3A Division II along with rapidly improving Tulia under head coach Duane Toliver.
1-3A Division II is one of the few four-team loops in the entire state outside of Class 4A Division I Region I. Crane and Alpine look to be the two teams to beat coming out of this grouping of teams. 2-3A Division II is a mix of teams in the Permian Basin (Stanton, Coahoma, Colorado City) and teams from the South Plains, (Idalou, Lubbock Roosevelt and Abernathy). Abernathy is up from Class 2A, while Stanton made one of the state’s most high-profile coaching changes of the summer bringing in Jerry Burkhart who led six-man Richland Springs to eight state titles.
Finally, we look at 4-3A Division II (since we touched on 3-3A Division II above) which is mostly based in the Big Country around Abilene. Traditional power Cisco is certainly the team to beat, but Coleman, Merkel and Anson have all had varying levels of success recently and could challenge as well.
The Wildcats made the move back to 3A two years ago and haven’t missed a beat winning back to back regional titles, falling to Gunter in the state semi-finals the past two years. Don’t expect the Wildcats to fall off anytime soon as their trademark spread offense has one 3A’s top QBs in Casen Cavalier who, despite missing four games last year, threw for over 2,000 yards and accounted for 49 touchdowns as a junior. WRs Garrison McCook and Trent Evans combined for 13 touchdown receptions and should be major factors once again. Canadian brings back excellent experience in the trenches as well and should be considered the favorite once again in Region I.
Childress has gone toe-to-toe with Canadian the past two years and gotten close. Is this the year that Jason Sims’ squad can get over the hump and earn that regional title? 13 total starters return led by QB Luke Lattimer who had 3,951 total yards and 14 touchdowns a year ago. He’s going to have to replace a couple of skill position weapons but there’s some promising youngsters in the pipeline. What could separate this Childress team is its ability on defense as it brings back two of the top players in the state on defense in LB Isaiah Darter (120 tackles, five interceptions, two sacks) and DB Stephon Harris (8 INTs). If Childress’ young skill players on offense and young defensive line can mature, this could be the year it gets over the hump.
The Loboes, for their standards, had a disappointing 8-3 campaign a year ago, but with half of their starters back and help from a 9-1 JV squad, Cisco could take a step forward in 2018. QB Cooper Whitt and two-way star Stanley Callahan will lead the way for the always ground based Cisco attack. LB Blake Burns (128 tackles) had a monster junior season and should lead what looks to be a much-improved defense.
The Wolves were a bit under the radar a year ago, but after an 11-2 season in 2017 and with 13 returning starters, Dan Gainey’s squad won’t be off anyone’s radar in 2018. The Wolves in the second year of their pistol flex offense should be even better as QB Markis Monore (2,291 total yards, 31 touchdowns) is back to lead the way. Two-way star RB/LB Bubba Williams (662 rushing, 10 touchdowns, 57 tackles) and LB Kacob Munoz (128 tackles) are key to a Wolves defense that will be faster across the board but has some concerns about youth on the defensive line.