TXHSFB 303: The most improved Texas high school football defenses

Taking a deep dive into the hidden storylines of the 2016 Texas high school football season.
Photo by Artie Guerrero

Photo by Artie Guerrero

Over the course of January, TexasFootball.com presents The TXHSFB 303, a deep dive into the hidden storylines in the 2016 Texas high school football season. Have an idea for an angle? E-mail DCTF managing editor Greg Tepper.

Today: The most improved defenses in Texas 

There is little doubt that Texas high school football has become a sport predicated on offense — five of the 11-man Texas high school football champions ranked in the top 30 in points per game this season — but it still holds true that a bad defense will sink even the most powerful offensive squad eventually.

That seems to be the formula now: a dynamite offense, and a defense that — at the very least — won’t kill you. And as we look at the most improved defenses across the state for 2016, you’ll notice a trend: these teams were really, really bad defensively in 2015, and were at least serviceable (and sometimes actually good!) in 2016.

In any case, let’s take a look. Once again, the numbers are pretty easy to understand — we’re comparing the points allowed per game average for 2016 to the points allowed per game average for 2015, and checking out who made the most improvement. Put another way: who allowed the fewest points in 2016 as compared to their 2015 squad?

Here’s the top 20 overall most improved defenses in Texas high school football in 2016.

Team 2016 Class 2016 PAPG 2015 Class 2015 PAPG Improvement (PAPG)
Hearne (5-6) 3A DII 26.4 3A DII 58.0 -31.6
Garland Naaman Forest (5-6) 6A 17.5 6A 44.6 -27.1
New Waverly (9-3) 3A DII 25.1 3A DII 48.2 -23.1
Wichita Falls Hirschi (6-5) 4A DI 29.2 4A DI 51.9 -22.7
Houston Milby (3-6) 5A 33.6 6A 56.2 -22.6
PSJA North (7-3) 6A 11.0 6A 32.0 -21.0
Mansfield Legacy (11-3) 5A 25.8 5A 46.5 -20.7
Whitehouse (6-5) 5A 21.9 5A 42.5 -20.6
Bogata Rivercrest (10-1) 2A DI 11.9 2A DI 32.3 -20.4
San Antonio Madison (4-7) 6A 23.6 6A 43.9 -20.3
Palestine (5-5) 4A DI 27.9 4A DI 47.5 -19.6
San Antonio Kennedy (3-7) 5A 22.7 5A 42.2 -19.5
Salado (7-5) 4A DII 22.4 4A DII 41.3 -18.9
Edinburg (7-4) 6A 19.5 6A 38.4 -18.9
Brownsville Lopez (7-4) 5A 15.8 6A 34.6 -18.8
Colorado City (4-7) 3A DII 16.6 3A DII 35.4 -18.8
George West (10-2) 3A DI 12.2 3A DI 30.8 -18.7
Groveton (9-2) 2A DI 21.5 2A DI 40.1 -18.6
Christoval (8-2) 2A DI 12.8 2A DI 31.3 -18.5
Elysian Fields (12-1) 3A DII 16.5 3A DII 34.3 -17.8

One thing that you may have noticed is that while realignment tended to be a big factor in offensive improvement, it’s not that much of a contributor here — only two of the top 20 most improved defensive teams dropped down a classification from 2015 to 2016. No, the more stunning factor here is the remarkable turnaround many of these teams made, especially in the top five, where they cut their points allowed by a staggering 21 points.

Things couldn’t get much worse for Hearne after a dreadful (and winless) 2015 squad, but new coach Andrew Dailey turned the Eagles around, getting them to the playoffs thanks to an exceptional defensive improvement. The same goes for Garland Naaman Forest, which went from winless to just its fifth playoff berth in program history.

In sum, the five most improved defensive teams went a combined 2-48 in 2015; they went 28-26 this season. That’s no accident.

Here are the top five improved defenses by each classification.

Class 6A

Team 2016 Class 2016 PAPG 2015 Class 2015 PAPG Improvement (PAPG)
Garland Naaman Forest (5-6) 6A 17.5 6A 44.6 -27.1
PSJA North (7-3) 6A 11.0 6A 32.0 -21.0
San Antonio Madison (4-7) 6A 23.6 6A 43.9 -20.3
Edinburg (7-4) 6A 19.5 6A 38.4 -18.9
Copperas Cove (4-5) 6A 26.8 6A 43.5 -16.8

Class 5A

Team 2016 Class 2016 PAPG 2015 Class 2015 PAPG Improvement (PAPG)
Houston Milby (3-6) 5A 33.6 6A 56.2 -22.6
Mansfield Legacy (11-3) 5A 25.8 5A 46.5 -20.7
Whitehouse (6-5) 5A 21.9 5A 42.5 -20.6
San Antonio Kennedy (3-7) 5A 22.7 5A 42.2 -19.5
Brownsville Lopez (7-4) 5A 15.8 6A 34.6 -18.8

Class 4A DI

Team 2016 Class 2016 PAPG 2015 Class 2015 PAPG Improvement (PAPG)
Wichita Falls Hirschi (6-5) 4A DI 29.2 4A DI 51.9 -22.7
Palestine (5-5) 4A DI 27.9 4A DI 47.5 -19.6
Anna (6-4) 4A DI 21.9 4A DII 37.9 -16.0
Quinlan Ford (4-6) 4A DI 30.9 4A DI 46.3 -15.4
Boerne (6-5) 4A DI 15.4 4A DI 27.7 -12.4

Class 4A DII

Team 2016 Class 2016 PAPG 2015 Class 2015 PAPG Improvement (PAPG)
Salado (7-5) 4A DII 22.4 4A DII 41.3 -18.9
Tatum (7-4) 4A DII 23.5 4A DII 40.3 -16.8
Sweeny (7-5) 4A DII 19.9 4A DII 36.5 -16.6
Lamesa (1-9) 4A DII 39.3 4A DII 54.4 -15.1
Seminole (9-4) 4A DII 21.5 4A DI 36.2 -14.7

Class 3A DI

Team 2016 Class 2016 PAPG 2015 Class 2015 PAPG Improvement (PAPG)
George West (10-2) 3A DI 12.2 3A DI 30.8 -18.7
Woodville (10-2) 3A DI 14.3 3A DI 31.5 -17.1
Farmersville (11-2) 3A DI 22.7 3A DI 39.5 -16.8
Kemp (7-4) 3A DI 20.7 3A DI 36.9 -16.2
Merkel (4-6) 3A DI 27.0 3A DI 41.7 -14.7

Class 3A DII

Team 2016 Class 2016 PAPG 2015 Class 2015 PAPG Improvement (PAPG)
Hearne (5-6) 3A DII 26.4 3A DII 58.0 -31.6
New Waverly (9-3) 3A DII 25.1 3A DII 48.2 -23.1
Colorado City (4-7) 3A DII 16.6 3A DII 35.4 -18.8
Elysian Fields (12-1) 3A DII 16.5 3A DII 34.3 -17.8
Wichita Falls City View (3-7) 3A DII 19.2 3A DII 36.9 -17.7

Class 2A DI

Team 2016 Class 2016 PAPG 2015 Class 2015 PAPG Improvement (PAPG)
Bogata Rivercrest (10-1) 2A DI 11.9 2A DI 32.3 -20.4
Groveton (9-2) 2A DI 21.5 2A DI 40.1 -18.6
Christoval (8-2) 2A DI 12.8 2A DI 31.3 -18.5
Tom Bean (5-6) 2A DI 28.4 3A DII 45.9 -17.5
Cayuga (7-5) 2A DI 19.5 2A DI 34.6 -15.1

Class 2A DII

Team 2016 Class 2016 PAPG 2015 Class 2015 PAPG Improvement (PAPG)
Cumby (9-3) 2A DII 19.9 2A DII 37.2 -17.3
Memphis (10-2) 2A DII 13.9 2A DII 28.9 -15.0
Somerville (3-7) 2A DII 29.4 2A DII 44.0 -14.6
Tenaha (13-1) 2A DII 6.2 2A DII 20.6 -14.4
Munday (12-2) 2A DII 14.4 2A DII 27.5 -13.1

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