Spanning the state
Introducing the DCTF Regional Roundup, a look at HS football across Texas.
Welcome to the DCTF High School Regional Roundup, a collection of news and insights from correspondents from across Texas. The Regional Roundup will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays during football season on TexasFootball.com.
There are lots of classics – multiple games played at one site – these days, but one of the oldest events in the state is the Action Sports Medicine Champions Classic at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene. The ninth annual Champions Classic, which has helped the Abilene Sports Alliance raise $70,000 for scholarships for student-athletes from Abilene’s four high schools, will feature just two games this year (it has traditionally had three or four games).
Anson will face Hamlin in a battle of Class 1A teams on Thursday night, and then Abilene High will play host to Lewisville Hebron on Friday night.
Anson was one of the great stories in the Big Country last year, turning a 0-10 season in 2011 into a 10-2 campaign in 2012. Tigers’ quarterback Jalen Garza, who a year ago accounted for more than 3,000 yards total offense (1,022 yards and 13 touchdowns rushing and 2,017 yards and 23 TDs passing), returns to lead Anson.
The Abilene High-Lewisville Hebron contest may be the only season opener in the state featuring two first-team selections on the DCTF’s Preseason Super Team – defensive back Jamal Adams of Hebron, the magazine’s preseason defensive player of the year, and defensive lineman Jake McMillon of Abilene High, who has committed to the University of Texas.
Another interesting twist to this game is that Hebron quarterback Carson Proffitt gets a chance to play in Shotwell Stadium where his father Loyal Proffitt was an outstanding quarterback for Abilene High and Abilene Christian University some 30 years earlier.
-Al Pickett, KWKC-AM 1340 Abilene
With Zero Week upon us, East Texas football fans focus their attention on season-opening matchups and season expectations.
But recruiting is a year-round game, and something East Texas fans love to follow.
We at ETSN.fm got a great reminder of how strong the 2014 and 2015 East Texas football classes are while assembling our 2013 preseason East Texas Super Team. Of the 29 players on our team, 24 hold at least one Division I FBS offer. Fourteen of those players have already committed to FBS programs, 12 to BCS conference schools.
To provide a frame of reference, the 2013 East Texas class had 17 FBS signees. Entering the first week of the season, the 2014 East Texas class boasts 32 players with at least one FBS offer. More than five months before National Signing Day, 20 of those players have committed.
Fifteen East Texas seniors have at least one BCS offer, an impressive number for a region that, with a relatively rural population base, is known as more of a pound-for-pound, per-capita recruiting haven than the total-signee monsters like the Metroplex and greater Houston.
The 2015 class could pack even more star power. Gladewater defensive tackle Daylon Mack could be East Texas' highest-rated recruit since Texas High quarterback Ryan Mallett in 2007. Mack holds 13 FBS offers, including Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and several others. He joins 10 incoming juniors who already have at least one FBS offer. Seven hold at least one BCS-level offer, including Lufkin athlete KeKe Coutee, the first of the group to commit (Texas).
While the excitement of the 2013 football season starting definitely attracts the most attention this week, the promise and potential of East Texas' next two football classes have fans in the region tracking recruiting more than ever.
-Gabe Brooks, www.ETSN.fm
RIO GRANDE VALLEY
It’s extremely rare when teams from the Valley meet up with Dallas-area programs. But Harlingen got a taste of the talent from the DFW Metroplex in a scrimmage with Prime Prep, a charter school started by former Dallas Cowboys defensive back Deion Sanders.
Although Prime Prep struggled in its inaugural season, the team features FBS prospects such as wide receiver James Proche, a four-star Scout.com wide receiver, and linebacker Josh Ehambe, who holds offers from SMU, Colorado State, Louisiana Tech and others.
Still, the Cardinals not only competed but came away with a 14-0 win.
Linebacker Gilbert Bermea led the charge for Harlingen and a momentum shifting sack. Bermea said his team embraced playing a school up state and rose to the occasion.
“It was just rising to the occasion,” Bermea told the Valley Morning Star. “We knew it was getting dirty, we knew (Prime Prep) was going to have size. We knew that they were going to be big and fast and strong and we just rose to the occasion.
“We weren’t scared. We respected them, but we weren’t scared.”
Not bad for a team from the Valley.
-E.J. Holland, TexasFootball.com contributor
East Bernard is expected to challenge for a second consecutive Class 2A, Division II state championship.
The Brahmas were ranked No. 1 in Texas Football’s preseason poll.
But East Bernard’s title hopes suffered a serious blow in its first scrimmage against Needville.
Wide receiver Trevor Long was hit after catching the first pass of the scrimmage and tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He will be lost for the season.
Long, a senior Rice commit, is the son of East Bernard head coach Jerry Long.
“You’re a dad first,” Jerry Long said. “It was real tough to concentrate on the rest of the scrimmage. You hate to see that happen his senior year. Fortunately, Rice said they’re sticking by him.”
Trevor Long also played outside linebacker for the Brahmas, and earned all-state honors at the position last season. He is expected to undergo surgery Sept. 10.
East Bernard opens the season Friday at Houston Second Baptist.
“It was just one of those unlucky things,” Jerry Long said. “We have 20 seniors – the most we’ve ever had – and they know we have to move past it.”
-Mike Forman, Victoria Advocate
It does not surprise many North Texas high school football fans to hear the Allen Eagles have found themselves perched at the top of all the statewide rankings coming into the 2013 season.
After finishing last year with a record of 15-1, the Eagles captured their second state title in four years. With Kyler Murray returning at the helm of the offense and an experienced linebacker core in Tay Evans and Christian Sam, the Eagles look pretty strong on both sides of the ball.
This time of year last season, the Eagle’s season opener against Southlake Carroll (Dragons) ended in a shutout victory, 24-0. The Dragons may have been intimidated walking into a brand new $60 million stadium Allen had revealed last year, but this year the Eagles lace up their cleats in the visiting locker room of Dragon Stadium at 7:30 this Friday.
The Dragons lost their offensive weapon Kenny Hill at quarterback to Texas A&M, but as always, the Dragons find some way to, “Protect the Tradition.”
If the anticipation of this game is just as hyped up as last year, the result should not be as lopsided.
-Jimmy Isbell, TexasFootball.com contributor
With teams like Katy, Lamar and North Shore, one thing’s for sure: fans in the Houston area are likely to have a healthy dose of entertainment from the region's teams this fall. Let’s not forget our friends to the southeast, though – the Golden Triangle is experiencing some notable changes that might warrant the same attention as well.
The off-season has seen multiple adjustments in leadership positions for Southeast Texas teams: Toby Foreman left his assistant job at West-Orange Stark for the HC position at Central, and Hardin Jefferson will be under the direction of Dwayne Dubois, who previously led the offense at Vidor.
Larry Haynes came out of retirement to take over as AD and head coach at Lumberton – a position he is familiar with. Haynes retired from his position in Hardin ISD in 2012 but had a successful stint as head coach of Lumberton in the early nineties.
While the transitions at the previous teams are worth discussing, the most notable change in SETX is taking place at Ozen. Keeath Magee’s inaugural season is highly anticipated as he left North Crowley to tap into the Panthers’ potential - and with standout players like Tony Brown, Magee’s transition into a rather difficult early schedule (think Port Arthur Memorial and Cedar Hill) should make the Panthers a team to follow these next few weeks.
-Samantha Emerson, TexasFootball.com contributor
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.