District Champs: State titles could be swept by four different districts
District Champs: State titles could be swept by four different districts
2008-12-15 00:00:00

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.

DISTRICT 13-4A: Longview and Sulphur Springs
Notable: An East Texas district produced one of the three district sweeps when San Augustine and Garrison won 2A titles in 2003 (the third playoff team from their district, Timpson, made it to the fourth round before losing to Garrison). East Texas almost accomplished the same feat a year later when Kilgore won the Division II title and Marshall, in Kilgore's district, lost in the finals to Ennis.

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 wouldn’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.

DISTRICT 8-5A: Allen and Wylie
Notable: These teams have overcome some obstacles just to make it to this point. Wylie lost to both Allen and Plano to finish in third in district, which in days of Texas football past would not have been good enough for a playoff spot. Allen's biggest loss was a player, QB Matt Brown, who injured his shoulder in the first half of a round-two win against Coppell. Brown played a couple of snaps last weekend when Allen was trailing against Stony Point before being pulled. Tucker Carter came back in, and just like the previous two playoff wins over Odessa Permian and Euless Trinity, he solidified the Allen offense. It was Tucker who threw the game-winning TD with less than a minute left to push Allen into the state finals.

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.

DISTRICT 1-1A: Canadian (already DI champs) and Stratford
Notable: Canadian took care of its duty, distancing itself from Mart in the second half of a 38-7 win on Saturday. It gave Canadian its second straight title, last year's coming at the 2A level. The only team Canadian lost to, of course, is Stratford. Following simple logic, you'd think that if Canadian was good enough to win it all, Stratford should be that much better. And Stratford enters the game as the favorite (we'll release our picks and spreads later in the week), but Stratford hasn't seen a team like Cayuga this year. Cayuga is bigger, faster, and stronger than the average 1A team. Stratford is the favorite, but it better not read too much into that.

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.

DISTRICT 9-3A: Prosper (already DI champs) and Celina
Notable: While Celina is cruising to the finals, Prosper had to fight hard to cross the finish line. But Prosper did finish, getting a two-point conversion in the second overtime to beat Abilene Wylie in the semifinals, then stuffing La Vega's running game with more success than any previous team in a 17-10 win Saturday in the DI state championship. While it's Prosper's first title (something we'll address later today in our Monday Recap), Celina hopes to add to its state-record eight state championships. Standing in the way is probably the most dangerous offense in 3A. Carthage, in my opinion, has the front-runner for 3A MVP (QB Si'Darius Blackshire) and a RB (Dwight Smith) who has set the program record for rushing yards.

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.


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