District Save-The-Dates: Class 4A
Running down the must-see district matchups in Class 4A across Texas.
The first goal of every high school football team in the state is the same: win their district championship. Every year, fans are treated to a number of must-see district match-ups across the state between two true state title contenders, the games that are important not just for determining the district champion, but also giving us a better idea of where the two teams shake out in the bigger, statewide picture.
Over the next two weeks, TexasFootball.com will highlight the biggest must-see district matchups for the 2013 season, going class-by-class to identify the most significant district clashes out there. Trust us: you’ll want to mark your calendars for these matchups.
May 21: Class 5A
Today: Class 4A
May 28: Class 3A
May 30: Class 2A and Class 1A
Class 4A’s Must-See District Showdowns
District 5-4A: Denton Guyer at Wichita Falls Rider (Week 8)
We start with the toughest district test for the defending 4A Division I champion Guyer Wildcats, and boy, do they look loaded once again. It’s not just superstar QB Jerrod Heard (though he’s definitely the main attraction), either: it’s the lesser known guys like OT Bryan Barrett, DE Thomas Ferguson and DT Carl Thompson that could make Denton Guyer, once again, the team to beat in 4A. But Wichita Falls Rider is no slouch, even without the departed QB J.T. Barrett. Whether it’s lights-out LB Sam Scribner, two-way star RB/DB Carlos Fleeks or new QB Davon Allsion, there’s a lot to like about James Garfield’s Raiders. And when you factor in Guyer traveling to Rider to play this one, it’ll be a District 5-4A slobberknocker you don’t want to miss.
District 10-4A: Mesquite Poteet at Highland Park (Week 6)
Few teams in Texas have been as consistently excellent over the past half-century as Highland Park. Quick: when’s the last time the Scots missed the playoffs? Give up? Try 1994. That’s right: HP’s been playoff-bound in each of the last 18 seasons. And 2013 shouldn’t be any different: the offense has a lot of catching-up to do, but the defense, led by the fearsome front of DLs Andrew Clyde, Jack Cerveha, Caz Orr and LB Tanner Houghton, should be formidable. But while it doesn’t have the illustrious history as HP, Mesquite Poteet has become a juggernaut in the DFW Metroplex under coach Randy Jackson. And after a run to the state quarterfinals last season, the Pirates could be even better this year. Led by LBs Malik Jefferson and Denzel Thomas, plus breakout skill players like WRs Nathaniel Gaines and Kody Edwards, Poteet looks like it could be the District 10-4A frontrunner. Of course, HP will have something to say about that, which makes this mid-season tussle all the more intriguing.
District 15-4A: Lancaster at Ennis (Week 9)
If you just decided to sleep for the entirety of the 2012 season, it’s understandable that you don’t know the Lancaster story. Other than that…I mean, c’mon. The Tigers became the Cinderella story of Texas, marching all the way to the state title game after never really competing on a statewide level before. The question is: can they do it again, without the likes of Demarcus Ayers and Daeshon Hall? There’s still talent like crazy, like WR Nick Alexander, S Vontre McQuinnie and LB Derrick Leonard, but will it be enough to win the district? Because if you’re looking for a looming giant, it might be Ennis. It’s been a while – the Sam Harrell days – since we talked about Ennis as a DFW power, but they sure look the part this year. Coach Jack Alvarez welcomes back dynamo RB Terrence Williams and bruising RB Nick Gabriel, plus a star-studded defense featuring FS Jah Shawn Johnson and DE James Lockhart. This is a clash of the titans, with one program coming off newfound success and one trying to get back to its old winning ways. It’s going to be fun.
District 16-4A: John Tyler at Whitehouse (Week 10)
Don’t you just love when the big district showdown comes in the final week? Whitehouse and John Tyler should both have locked up playoff spots by now, but you can bet that they’ll put it all on the line for the district crown (should it come to this, considering teams like Corsicana might have something to say about it). On one side, you have John Tyler in its second year under coach Ricklan Holmes, and the motto is “Reload.” Gone are the likes of Greg Ward and Tyus Bowser, but in are the playmakers like DB Terry Ausborne, RB/WR Reggie Gipson and LB Andrew Clark. You never have to worry about John Tyler having firepower…but it may pale in comparison to what Whitehouse has. That’s because Whitehouse has QB Pat Mahomes, and he might be the most prolific quarterback in the state. If the defense holds up, Whitehouse has a shot as much, much bigger things than just a district championship. But the district comes first, and that’s why John Tyler’s Week 10 visit to Whitehouse is such a tasty matchup.
District 17-4A: Elgin at Georgetown (Week 3)
When District 17-4A opens play, it’s going to open with one of the premier matchups in all of central Texas. Georgetown, fresh off a run to the state title game, is losing a considerable part of their team – most notably the pass-catch duo of Jake Hubenak and Randy Knightner – but coach Jason Dean has plenty in the reserves, especially a strong offensive line that features OL Tyler Preston and a hard-hitting defense led by state wrestling champion Jace LaCaille. But whereas Georgetown may take a half-step back, Elgin looks like a team ready to make a full step forward. QB Te’Rel Simmons, fresh off a great year that you probably didn’t pay attention to, is back along with do-it-all star WR/SS Anthony Nash and a bevy of other returning starters. The question is: has Georgetown fallen back to the pack – and has Elgin risen enough – to make this District 17-4A showdown as good as we think it could be?
District 24-4A: Pearland Dawson at Texas City (Week 5)
Let’s be clear about something: for the better part of the last half-decade, this district – or, really, any district that it’s been a part of – has belonged to Pearland Dawson. It is their property. And don’t get me wrong: the Eagles are going to be darn good again, especially since they have electrifying WR Tony Upchurch back for his senior year, and the Dawson defense should be its usual stingy self. But Texas City…well, they’ve got a little something this year. Not only to the Stings have a great coach in Leland Surovik, but they have so much firepower that it should require a permit. WR Armanti Foreman, RB D’onta Foreman, QB Andrew Allen…it’s just ludicrous. Can they topple the king? Can they finally be the ones to knock Dawson off of the pedestal upon which they’ve become so comfortable? I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see.
District 25-4A: Cedar Park at Leander (Week 4)
I imagine you could’ve seen this one coming. District 25-4A may have been the best district in the state last year – between Cedar Park’s state championship, Leander Rouse’s run to the state semifinals, Leander’s state quarterfinal appearance and an area round appearance by Cedar Park Vista Ridge, it was a pretty good year. And this year, the top two teams look like they’ll be tangling in Leander in Week 4. The Lions, always a defense-first squad, appear to have that on lock, with DE Michael Epley, DB Greg Kelley, LB Martin Nwakamma and others back for another spin. But can they crack the Cedar Park code? The Timberwolves are flying high after their first state championship, and they’re hungry for more. And with QB Nate Grimm back to lead the offense and LB Thomas Middleton anchoring a usually salty defense, it’s their district until someone knocks them off. And Week 4 in Leander might be the best opportunity to see it happen.
District 30-4A: Port Lavaca Calhoun at Corpus Christi Calallen (Week 4)
Down in the Coastal Bend, it’s always fun when these two titans tangle. After all, these are probably the two most storied programs down in that part of the state. But this year, there’s going to be much, much more on the line than just bragging rights; it’ll be for a district title, more than likely. Calhoun’s bounding ground game, featuring RB Cory Williams and QB Hunter Boerm, will get fired up once again, but there are questions on the defensive side. And with this pivotal district contest coming in the district opener, they’d better figure out a way to slow down Calallen and its offense, led by RB Robert Maldonado, QB Derek Scheible and WR Triston Crossland. The difference in this one, though, might be Calallen’s defense, which features guys like LBs Kade Young and Trevor Moses back for another run. In any case, if you’re ever looking to find as many football fans in the Coastal Bend area as possible, just go to this game. They’ll all be there.
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.