The DCTF Regional Roundup looks 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.
I will try and use this opportunity to discuss wins, losses, scores, stats and give some opinions. But, I would also like to share a note or two from the great coaches that may be a little different at times.
I received this email from Wade Wilson, the AD/Head Football Coach at Moody High School.
I have a unique situation here in Moody with two of my older brothers coaching with me this year as assistants. Trent Wilson has coached with me for 8 years and Drew Wilson joined my staff here in Moody this summer. It sort of just happened. Drew was looking for a coaching teaching job in the area and I happened to have a vacancy in his teaching and coaching assignment. I'm crazy but it has been a fun start to the football season!
Also, most anytime you see the Mart Panthers playing anyone, you know they'll be the favorite most of the time. But, I've learned from Mart head coach Rusty Nail that he will schedule games almost knowing the opponent is a bad matchup or a possible loss.
Like many coaches, Nail is worried about wins in November and December.
I've been covering high school football in Texas since 1981, and it wasn't always this way, but sometime in the late-90's or early-2000's, something changed. Maybe it came from the weaker teams getting tired of being someone's doormat, but about the time I suggested there is no doubt we started watching more and more high-level, highly-ranked teams playing each other in non-district.
I love that philosophy, no one looks at how many losses a state championship team has at the end of the year, we only remember if they won it all.
-David Smoak, ESPN Central Texas and Smoaky.com
Can you go home again?
A year ago, Clyde hired a Clyde graduate to head up its football program. Rocky Smart, who had great success at Seymour before returning home, led Clyde to a 5-5 record last season and expects the Bulldogs to compete for a title in rugged District 4-2A Division I this year.
This year, neighboring Baird, a Class 1A Division II school just five miles down Interstate 20 from Clyde in Callahan County, took the same route, hiring one of its own. Chad Barron takes over as head coach at his alma mater after most recently serving as an assistant coach at Mineral Wells. Barron is trying to turn around a Baird program that went 1-9 last season. When the Bears play host to Menard in the season opener Friday night, another Baird graduate, Conon Emmons, will be on the opposite sidelines as the Yellow Jackets’ head coach.
Of course, the highest profile coaching change in West Texas this year is Blake Feldt taking over the storied Odessa Permian program. Feldt, who went to high school at neighboring Midland High, has been a successful head coach at Breckenridge, Pilot Point and Buda Hays.
The best Class 3A game in the state Friday night will be in Abilene, where No. 8 Abilene Wylie faces No. 4 Argyle at Wylie’s Bulldog Stadium. Last year, Hugh Sandifer’s Bulldogs upset defending state champion Argyle in the season opener. Wylie went on to finish 12-1, losing to eventual state champion Stephenville in the Division I quarterfinals. Argyle didn’t lose again until it fell to Gilmer in the Division II quarterfinals, finishing the year with a 12-2 record. Argyle returns six offensive and eight defensive starters, while Wylie has just two starters back on each side of the ball.
-Al Pickett, KWCK 1340 AM
It’s finally here, zero week! As teams from all around the state prepare for the first game of the season there are many impactful players to keep an eye on; especially in the North Texas high school football scene.
On the offensive front, taking snaps for Denton Guyer for the second year is the Texas Sports Writers Association 4A Offensive Player of the Year, Jerrod Heard. At 6-2, 190, Heard comes to his senior season looking for a chance to defend Guyer’s 4A-DI title.
He was known as a dual-threat quarterback, recording over 4,000 yards of total offense, and 52 total touchdowns (35 of them rushing). He plans to head to Darrel K. Royal Stadium to rep Mack Brown’s burnt orange.
Head coach John Walsh will give Heard and the Wildcats a test tonight as they travel to Longhorn Stadium to face Cedar Hill. The ‘Horns played in the 5A-DI title last year, but fell short to the Katy Tigers, 35-24.
On the defensive front, not only is he a monster on the field at Coppell (Cowboys), but his “Squints-like” (The Sandlot) glasses supports his academic reputation. Solomon Thomas is a workhorse on the field, but realizes his number one priority is school. His intelligence level in the classroom directly affects his keen play on the field.
Ivy-League schools as far as Palo Alto, California (Stanford) are raving about the 6-3, 263 pounder. Thomas is currently ranked in high regard among the areas top defensive end recruits in many polls. Thomas and the rest of the Cowboys lace up their cleats and take the field this Friday night at their home field this Friday.
-Jimmy Isbell, TexasFootball.com contributor
The season gets under way for Port Lavaca Calhoun on Thursday as it travels to Corpus Christi’s Buccaneer Stadium to play Carroll in a game telecast by Comcast, which ironically isn't seen in the Port Lavaca or Corpus Christi markets.
The Sandcrabs not only had a short week to prepare, but were forced inside for two days because of rain.
But Calhoun coach Richard Whitaker expects his team to be ready.
“You want to start the season off feeling good about your team and yourself,” he said. “You never want to have your head down from the get go and you never want to have to recover from that.”
Refugio plays its first game since losing in the Class 2A, Division II quarterfinals to East Bernard. The loss ended a 27-game winning streak.
But Refugio will go into Friday’s season opener at Jack Sportsman Bobcat Stadium against Class 3A Ingleside with a 61-game regular-season winning streak. The Bobcats have also won 38 straight home games.
Refugio will be playing on its new artificial surface for the first time.
Karnes County rivals Kenedy and Karnes City will open the season Friday.
The teams are meeting for the 95th time since 1922. Karnes City leads the series 50-40-4.
Kenedy has won the last two meetings after losing the previous nine.
Karnes City bounced back from last season’s 28-0 loss and won nine straight games and the District 15-2A, Division II championship in the process.
-Mike Forman, Victoria Advocate
Rio Grande Valley
It’s rare for a prospect from the valley to pick up an offer from an FBS program. SO even when a scholarship is extended from an FCS school, it’s still a pretty big deal in deep South Texas.
And Jacques Guillot definitely deserves some pub for that. The senior defensive end out of Port Isabel recently received an offer from Marist, a small private college in New York.
One of the top players in the area, Guillot was an honorable mention all-state selection after notching 68 tackles including 19 for loss and eight tackles. At 6-foot-1, 235-pounds, Guillot is an undersized defensive end, but would be a nice fit at inside linebacker at the next level.
While Guillot is expected to pick up at least a few more offers, his main focus will be on the upcoming season. Expectations around Port Isabel are through the roof after the Tarpons made a surprise run to the 3A Division II state quarterfinals in 2012 before falling to Bellville.
Guillot’s uncle, Donald, led the 1981 version of the Tarpons to the state semifinals. But Jacques is looking to take his squad one game further.
-E.J. Holland, TexasFootball.com contributor
Week Zero has descended upon us, and for football fans in Houston, there are plenty of matchups worth following. The Woodlands is meeting Dallas Skyline at Georgetown ISD stadium this Saturday for what is sure to be a fight from start to finish. The Woodlands team graduated a fairly large class, but if there’s anything to say about their previous seasons, it’s likely that the team is still well prepared – the Highlanders have made the playoffs the past eighteen years in a row. Running back Patrick Carr should help fill the void on offense that is left wide open due to a small returning core. Carr set the school’s single season rushing record, and should help provide some consistency on offense since senior Chris Larsen and junior Chris Andritsos are expected to fight for the starting quarterback spot. One thing is for sure, though – the Woodlands will not catch any breaks with Skyline.
Another game worth watching is taking place tonight, in bigger-than-life Texas fashion: Katy is squaring off against Klein in the Verizon High School Kick Off Classic at Reliant Stadium. While Katy graduated a good chunk of starters as well, the Tigers are still poised to be a dominant force in 5A this year. This season, Jake Blomstrom returns to the linebacker position as a third-year starter alongside returning weapons Tim Wilkerson and Cody Gessler on the defensive line. Junior running back Rodney Anderson didn’t suit up for the Aug. 23 scrimmage against Klein Collins, but is expected to help lead the offense alongside senior quarterback Kiley Huddleston and senior receiver Sloan Spiller. Regardless of the weak number of starters returning this season, the 2012 season was full of injuries for the Tigers and saw many players stepping up into greater roles as playoffs wore on. With only six starters returning, tonight’s showdown in Reliant is not one to be missed – Katy is still a wildly popular state favorite in preseason rankings.
-Samantha Emerson, TexasFootball.com contributor
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.