Our dark horse picks for 2A in 2017
They don't have glitzy preseason rankings, but we could see these teams storming through the playoffs if things fall right.
Every year there’s a team or two that surprises most of the observers with a longer than anticipated playoff run. There are always a lot of variables involved with making that run, but — as always — a little challenge never deterred us at DCTF. So we take a look at one team from each region that we think has a chance to make a little noise in 2017.
Region I: Roscoe
Although they’ve garnered a No. 11 state ranking, the Plowboys have managed to stay out of the conversation for the Region I title mainly due to powerful Wellington, Memphis and — in their own district — Hamlin stealing some of the headlines. However, Roscoe has the firepower to be a real threat with eight starters back on both sides of the ball and one of the state’s most dynamic two-way players in Jose Ortega. The Plowboys went three-deep a year ago, and if they can develop some depth up front, they could be a real threat to the three favorites in Region I and their 4-2A Division II showdown with Hamlin will be a must-see game in the Big Country.
Region II: Valley View
Many around the state scoffed at the hire when Valley View hired Alan Kassen as head coach. He had no prior coaching experience but was the son of a longtime coach. Regardless, many thought VVISD was crazy for the outside-the-box hire. In his two years at the helm, Kassen’s squad has posted playoff wins in each year, which was an improvement from just seven total wins in the two years before taking over. The Eagles are ready to soar in 2017 with 19 out of 22 potential starters returning and better depth than they’ve ever had before.
Region III: Hubbard
Region III is a monster, make no mistake about it, as three-time defending champion Bremond and powerful Tenaha are incredibly tough obstacles. However, if there’s one team outside of those two that could make a push it might be Coach Anderson’s squad. He returns 20 total lettermen and lost just four seniors from a playoff team a year ago. There’s good skill and playmaking ability across the board and although many think Hubbard could potentially fall below the UIL eleven-man cut line this realignment, the Jags could have one more big run left in at the 2A level.
Region IV: Ben Bolt
New head coach Ray Ramos inherits a Badgers bunch that went three-deep a year ago and gave Refugio a tougher than anticipated game in a 36-12 loss in the regional semifinals. Ben Bolt returns five starters on both sides of the ball, with most of that experience returning at the skill positions. If the Badgers can develop some players in the trenches, they could once again be a thorn in the side of some of the traditional powers down in Region IV.
Matt Stepp is the Texas High School Football Inside for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Find him on Twitter: @Matt_Stepp817.