Six-Man Spotlight: Balmorhea’s redemption tour, Valley’s loaded squad highlight Regions I and II in Division II
As we look ahead to the 2017 Texas high school football season, DCTF contributor Leman Saunders takes a look at how each six-man football region should shake out when fall rolls around.
Dave Campbell’s Texas Football six-man football contributor Leman Saunders takes a way-too-early look at how Class 1A could shake out in 2017.
Today: Class 1A Division II — Regions I and II
Valley looks to be the frontrunner once again in Region I, with the usual suspects in Follett and Amherst looking to unseat the reigning region champs. But there are other dangers lurking.
The Patriots will have a solid core of seniors as they look to repeat as Region I champions. Dax Allen (862 yards, 16 TDs rushing), Jayton Smith (533 yards,, 11 TDs receiving), Jake Merrell (45 tackles, 3 INTs), and Juan Villarreal are all returning all-state caliber players.
Petersburg returns second-team all-state RB Tristan Garza (1,606 yards, 40 TDs rushing) and LB Gabriel Hinojos as they attempt to break through the traditional Valley and Follett regional stranglehold. TE/DE Yovahn Marroquin is another all-state type talent; he’s a force on both lines of scrimmage.
With five projected starters back on both offense and defense, Follett stands a solid chance at getting back to the regional title match. Fabian Gordillo (1,262 yards, 28 TDs rushing; 1,345 yards, 29 TDs passing) carries on the tradition of Panther spreadbacks. Follett is looking for its fifth consecutive 10-win season, and sixth consecutive district title.
The Bulldogs have built up a solid tradition where playoff wins are expected, not hoped for. They’re the early favorite out of District 3-1A DII.
Balmorhea has a wealth of riches returning, and might be the best lock at repeating as regional champs in all of Class 1A. Grandfalls and Jayton will field tough teams once again, posing the biggest threats to the Bears.
The stately Vance Jones has no need to retire with the seemingly endless group of talent in Balmorhea. In 2016, Jones commanded the Bears to their first state title game appearance; in 2017, he’ll have every single starter back. QB Marcos Martinez, FB Marcos Mendoza — just a junior — RB Kyle Garcia (2,005 yards, 35 TDs rushing), NG Danny Vasquez and S Josiah Garcia were all first-team all-state players back in the blue and white.
Grandfalls will try to play spoiler to Balmorhea either in district play or in the playoffs, as the two schools might meet in the regional title bout again. QB Jalen Helms (2,751 yards, 57 TDs passing; 970 yards, 5 TDs rushing) earned second-team all-state at spreadback, and will have honorable mention all-state back Oscar Huertas back to help.
RB/DE Clay Griswold (1,378 yards, 32 TDs rushing) — at 6-1 and 190 pounds with a 4.6 in the 40 — has the size and speed that tends to breed success on the six-man field. The Jaybirds will also feature a solid offensive line that should protect their backs well. Jayton begins the year as favorites in District 8-1A DII, and could be a Region II dark horse.
Leman Saunders is a six-man football contributor to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.