Texas high school football rankings: AP vs. DCTF

Comparing the Associated Press' preseason Texas high school football poll to the rankings in Dave Campbell's Texas Football
Photo by Gary Sanderson

Photo by Gary Sanderson

We’re just 15 days out from the start of the 2016 Texas high school football season, and the excitement is palpable across the Lone Star State. Fans are hungry for anything even resembling football, so the release of the Associated Press’ preseason Texas high school football rankings are a welcome bit of nip to the state’s hungry paws.

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, as you probably know, also does Texas high school football rankings. So let’s take a look at where the AP’s rankings stack up against DCTF’s.

Before we begin, a caveat: the AP’s rankings are sometimes (OK, often) a bit wonky, in large part because it is a poll of writers across the state. Those writers are as plugged-in to their area’s teams as anyone, but by their very nature, they are focused on their area’s teams as opposed to the statewide perspective. A writer in Houston, for example, probably knows a ton about what Katy has coming back but may not know how Allen’s team should fare this year. As a result, you see a lot of the blue-bloods — the traditional powers — as the default teams in the rankings, because they’re always good.

That’s not to say that our rankings are right and their rankings are wrong, or vice versa; simply to illustrate that major discrepancies can and will occur.

So, let’s dive in.


Katy 1 3
Lake Travis 2 1
Cedar Hill 3 2
Allen 4 5
Austin Westlake 5 7
DeSoto 6 4
Cibolo Steele 7 6
Galena Park North Shore 8 8
Euless Trinity 9 10
Converse Judson 10 9
Richmond George Ranch 11 13
Southlake Carroll 12 11
The Woodlands 13 17
Denton Guyer 14 12
Longview 15 22
Mansfield 16 26
Smithson Valley 17 23
Lufkin 18 37
Friendswood 19 28
Pearland 20 15
Rockwall 21 33
John Tyler 22 39
Hewitt Midway 23 25

Thoughts: The top 10 — and, really, the top 12 or so — in 6A are pretty well clumped together, with little separating the No. 2 team from the No. 12 team, so it’s no surprise to see some shuffling of the deck. Katy gets the nod at the top of the 6A poll, and that’s absolutely understandable — they were 6A’s best team last year, and return a ton of firepower. The AP is more bullish on Austin Westlake than we are, and we’re a little more bullish on San Antonio powers Cibolo Steele and Converse Judson than the AP. The bottom of the poll has some curious entries out east, with Longview (seven spots higher), John Tyler (17 spots) and Lufkin (19 spots) all getting a lot more love from the AP than from DCTF.



Aledo 1 2
Cedar Park 2 3
Denton Ryan 3 1
Manvel 4 4
Temple 5 6
Frisco Lone Star 6 9
Highland Park 7 5
Corpus Christi Calallen 8 7
Richmond Foster 9 8
Lancaster 10 12
Crosby 11 11
Mansfield Lake Ridge 11 14
Angleton 13 10
Ennis 14 13
Lake Dallas 14 22
Texas High 14 31
College Station 17 15
Boerne Champion 18 16
Marshall 19 NR
Bryan 19 NR
Colleyville Heritage 21 17
Mesquite Poteet 21 21
Frisco Liberty 21 NR
El Paso Chapin 21 NR
Mansfield Summit 25 30
Abilene Cooper 25 18

Thoughts: Again, a lot of similarity at the top, as the top 5 teams in 5A are (in my view) pretty clear. Aledo being No. 1, especially with their pedigree, is no real shock. Frisco Lone Star gets the ol’ state champion bump from the AP, another thing that tends to play out in these things. But outside of the top 10 or so, things start going a bit haywire…Texas High at No. 14 is pretty rich for my blood, especially with just one starter back on defense, and Colleyville Heritage at No. 21 seems a bit too low for as big of an offense as they’ll have. Marshall checks in tied for No. 19 despite not being in our rankings, but I guess I can understand it — they’re buying 2015’s big year as a sign of things to come. Bryan is also tied for 19th…a little rich for me. And then there’s the downright strange: Frisco Liberty, coming off a 2-8 season, comes in tied for 21st — I really think a few voters meant to put Frisco Lone Star instead of Liberty. El Paso Chapin gets the nod as the best team in El Paso; we think that’s Eastlake.



Argyle 1 1 (DI)
West Orange-Stark 2 1 (DII)
Waco La Vega 3 6 (DI)
Navasota 4 2 (DI)
Carthage 5 3 (DI)
Gilmer 6 2 (DII)
Celina 7 4 (DII)
Abilene Wylie 8 5 (DI)
Liberty-Eylau 9 4 (DI)
Kennedale 10 8 (DI)

Thoughts: OK, a rant for a second — the AP does not rank classes 4A, 3A and 2A in divisions, despite them being pre-divided. So, whereas DCTF has a Top 20 for 4A Division I and a Top 20 for 4A Division II, the AP simply ranks all of the 4A teams. This has always and will always bother me. With that out of the way, there’s nothing particularly out of the ordinary here. We agree on the top teams — Argyle in Division I, West Orange-Stark in Division II — and Waco La Vega gets the state champion bump. If I’m picking nits, I think there are a few too many Division I teams and not enough Division II teams — for example I’d put Cuero (our No. 3 in Division II) over Kennedale (our No. 8 in Division I).



Brock 1 2 (DI)
Mineola 2 1 (DI)
Cameron Yoe 3 3 (DI)
Canadian 4 3 (DII)
Waskom 5 2 (DII)
Newton 6 1 (DII)
Malakoff 7 4 (DI)
Franklin 8 5 (DI)
Wall 9 6 (DI)
East Bernard 10 4 (DII)

Thoughts: Again, not much to complain about. Brock and Mineola are relatively interchangeable at the top, so putting the champs on top is totally reasonable. The AP is buying the Canadian hype despite losing a fair amount off of last year’s team and moving up a classification. The only team I think I would’ve liked to have seen here is Crockett, whose defense should be something to behold.



Refugio 1 1 (DI)
Bremond 2 1 (DII)
Shiner 3 2 (DI)
Iraan 4 2 (DII)
Stratford 5 3 (DI)
Albany 6 3 (DII)
Mason 7 4 (DI)
Crawford 8 7 (DI)
Mart 9 5 (DI)
Tenaha 10 5 (DII)

Thoughts: This is as close to a consensus as we’ve come, with only one team (Crawford) outside of our Top 5s finding its way into the AP Top 10. I would’ve found a way to get Muenster in this ranking, but that’s a pretty small gripe.

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