District Save-The-Dates: Class 3A
A look at the can't-miss district games across 3A in 2013.
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.
Class 3A’s Must-See District Showdowns
District 4-3A: Abilene Wylie at Monahans (Week 7)
Out west, District 4-3A is always a lot of fun to watch. It’s full of hard-hitting squads that know each other very well, which always lends itself to fun action on the gridiron. But perhaps no matchup in this district will determine how things shake out in the district – and in Region I – more than Wylie’s trip to Monahans. Abilene Wylie’s in a bit of a rebuilding mode after last year’s district championship, but they’ve still got some stars, especially on defense like LBs Jaxon Bounds and Hayden Lewis. But while Wylie may be taking a half-step back, Monahans looks poised to take a full step forward. The Wing-T will be flying this year behind QB Haasan Walker and WR Junior Morales, and the defense should be sturdy, too. This will be a West Texas slugfest, and home field advantage usually matters. Expect greatness.
District 7-3A: Alvarado at Stephenville (Week 7)
It’s one of the most pressing questions regarding Class 3A this season: just what does Stephenville do for an encore? The Yellowjackets marched largely unchallenged to their fifth state championship last season, but the biggest challenge they faced in district came from Alvarado. And the 2013 rendition could be even more intriguing. Jeff Dixon’s Indians look like they’re going to be a defensive powerhouse, with DL Brazos Fuller and FS Dylan Houston leading the charge for a squad that held Stephenville to its third-lowest point total last season. But it’s not like the Yellowjackets are going to lie down; not with guys like WR-turned-QB Jarrett Stidham, DE Jonah Noah and others back in the fold. Stephenville’s going to be the favorite in this one, but the conditions could be right for a paradigm-shifting upset.
District 10-3A: Celina at Argyle (Week 10)
Celina has been pounding opponents for the better part of the last two decades. They’re a powerhouse; that’s what they do. So what happens when a team walks into their stadium and pounds them? That’s what we’re looking at with this 10-3A showdown, which will almost assuredly be for the district title on the last Friday of the regular season. Last season, Argyle waltzed into Celina and drubbed them, 45-7, taking the district crown along with them. This year, the Eagles – which still have all-everything ATH Ian Sadler – get to host the Bobcats, and Celina will have their eyes set on revenge. Can QB Nathan Elliott lead the Orange to a vengeance-filled victory and a district title? Or will Argyle continue its recent string of success against one of the state’s most storied programs?
District 16-3A: Gilmer vs. Kilgore vs. Henderson vs. Tyler Chapel Hill
When it comes to the District of Doom, it’s hard to pick out one marquee matchup…so we won’t! All four of these teams have a legitimate claim to District 16-3A frontrunner status, and they’ll all have a chance to prove it during an absolutely brutal district schedule. When it comes to 16-3A, you can’t go wrong. Here are the games to keep your eye on:
Week 4: Tyler Chapel Hill at Henderson
Week 5: Gilmer at Tyler Chapel Hill
Week 6: Gilmer vs. Henderson at Longview
Week 8: Tyler Chapel Hill at Kilgore
Week 9: Kilgore at Henderson
Week 10: Gilmer at Kilgore
Our recommendation? Do what you can to get to all of these games. They’ll all matter, and not just with regards to district play.
District 20-3A: Carthage at Jasper (Week 8)
Jasper is one of those programs out in the Piney Woods that, if you didn’t have access to the Internet, you’d swear had won a title or two along the way. But nope: the Bulldogs are championship-less. A big reason: there are a lot of really, really good teams around them, Carthage being chief among them. Coach Scott Surratt’s bunch looks truly formidable once again, especially on offense where QB Blake Bogenschutz, RB Tevin Pipkin and WR Tee Goree can really light up the scoreboard. But this is going to be one of the best Jasper teams in years, thanks in large part to the Cuney brothers – blue-chip OL Terrell, star RB Terrence and hard-hitting LB DeAnthony. They’ll catch Carthage at home in Week 8 with the district title in the balance, and an opportunity to stake their claim to 2013 as the Year of Jasper.
District 21-3A: Silsbee at West Orange-Stark (Week 10)
Not to beat a narrative into the ground too firmly, but in short: everyone in the Golden Triangle wants to be West Orange-Stark. They’ve got the titles – two of them, plus another pair of state title game appearances – and the prospects and the glory and the pedigree. But if there’s a program in WO-S’ backyard that can steal their thunder, it’s probably Silsbee, and it’s probably this year. We’re particularly high on coach Bobby McGallion’s Tigers this season, and it starts with dual-threat QB Patrick Reed. Add in a strong defense and a powerful offensive line, and this could be the year that they steal the crown from West Orange-Stark. It’s not going to be easy – WO-S has plenty of weapons of their own, RB Chris James chief among them, and they’ll be at home with (likely) the district title on the line – but count us as locked in to this one.
District 25-3A: El Campo at Bellville (Week 5)
Use whatever adjectives you want to in regards to El Campo’s run to the DI state title game last year: magical, unexpected, tremendous. They all fit. But that’s last year, and it’s in the past. And now, the Ricebirds are staring down a huge challenge in their own district in the form of Bellville. The Brahmas marched to the state semifinals last year, and coach Grady Rowe’s Slot-T attack could be even more formidable this season thanks to the return of RBs Bronson Allen, LaKieath Nunn and De’Brae Parker. El Campo’s got some holes to fill – though having RB/LB B.J. Flagg back is a nice start – and will face this challenge early, and on the road. But they’re the kings of District 25-3A and Region IV, until someone knocks them off. Who knows? Maybe Bellville can do what El Campo did last year…or even better.
District 27-3A: Geronimo Navarro at Wimberley (Week 7)
You can look at this game one of two ways. First: it’s a rematch of an outstanding game last year, in which Wimberley edged Navarro, 21-20, on a late touchdown run from Reed Jones. Second: it’s the two best teams in a fun district duking it out for district supremacy. Navarro has been itching for another shot at Wimberley since last year’s near-miss, and they’ll have a good shot at them: the defense of DB Jay Leal and LB Justin Harless should be fun to watch (and tough on opposing offenses). But Wimberley’s been the ruler of this district for a while, and for good reason: even with a new coach in Doug Warren after Weldon Nelms took over at Weatherford, the Texans have some playmakers, most notably RB West Lambert and DT Jackson King. If it’s anything like last year’s matchup, we’re in for a treat.
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.