District Champs: State titles could be swept by four different districts
By Jake Shaw/TexasFootball.com
When we rank all the teams at the end of the season, the hardest decision is often who's No. 1. With two state titles per classification and only one top ranking, we usually don't have head-to-head results to settle the matter (although that doesn't stop the Big 12 South, or BCS rankings in general).
Back on topic ... this year, picking No. 1 could be much easier. Because what has happened just three times in the previous 18 years could happen four times in 2008.
After 16 weeks of Texas high school football, four different districts are on the brink of producing two state champions. That's right -- four districts each have the chance to produce two separate champions. They are:
- District 8-5A: Allen and Wylie
- District 13-4A: Longview and Sulphur Springs
- District 9-3A: Prosper (DI champ already) and Celina
- District 1-1A: Canadian (DI champ already) and Stratford
Prior to 2008, only three districts had produced two state champions in the same season:>Class 5A in 1995: Converse Judson (DI) and San Antonio Roosevelt (DII)>Class 4A in 1997: Texas City (DI) and La Marque (DII)>Class 2A in 2003: San Augustine (DI) and Garrison (DII)
If two teams from the same district win the state title, we obviously will have a head-to-head result to solve our ranking quandary. But what is the likelihood all four districts sweep the titles this weekend? Pretty low in my opinion. The odds are high, though, that at least one district, maybe even two, will get it done.
Below, I rank the districts in order of least likely to most likely to produce two state champs.
So it's no surprise these two East Texas programs are on the verge of capturing two titles. And while Longview beat Sulphur Springs quite decisively, Longview enters its championship game as a bigger underdog. Longview faces defending 4A DII champion Lake Travis, a team that looks as unbeatable as any team in recent years. Sulphur Springs' offense, meanwhile, will keep it competitive in any game, though I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t label Sulphur Springs or its opponent, Dayton, as a favorite.
Verdict: With Lake Travis standing in Longview's way, a sweep by 13-4A seems unlikely.
Can Carter do it again? The Hightower defense will probably present the greatest challenge to the Allen offense this season. No, I haven't forgotten about Trinity's defense. I really believe Hightower has emerged as the best defense in Class 5A. The other 5A title game (Wylie vs. Katy) is tougher to get a read on. Wylie has played a MUCH tougher stretch of playoff games, but Katy proved in beating Smithson Valley by 22 that it was more than the best of a mediocre Region III in Division II. Katy also has so much championship experience that Wylie just can't match.
Verdict: There's a sweep on the line, but this is also a battle of DFW vs. the greater-Houston area. With city pride on the line, I think we get a split, making a sweep by 8-5A slightly unlikely.
Verdict: If you haven't figured it out by now, Stratford is the favorite. Thus, it's slightly likely Stratford will win to give District 1 a sweep of the Class 1A state titles.
Verdict: Celina is on a roll that's reminiscent of, well, previous Celina rolls. Carthage undoubtedly is the best team Celina has faced in the playoffs, but a Celina win -- and thus a 9-3A sweep of the titles -- seems the most likely of all the potential sweeps this weekend.