The 11-man teams with the toughest strength of schedule ahead of the regional final

Photo by Russell Wilburn

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1. Tidehaven (7-6)

Opponents’ win total: 106

State of Texas SOS ranking: 3

When looking at their record, the Tigers’ postseason run may look like a bit of a fluke. But don’t get it twisted — they have been the victim of one of the toughest schedules in the state. Tidehaven opened the season with losses to Refugio, Rice Consolidated, Palacios (OT), and Shiner, who have a combined 38 wins. They had a little bit of a break before they had to play 12-win East Bernard and 11-win Van Vleck, who they lost to. Since then, the Tigers have done nothing except take care of business with an average margin of victory of 28.  

2. Decatur (7-6)

Opponents win total: 101

State of Texas SOS ranking: 5

Decatur opened the season with a brutal pre-district slate that included losses to Kennedale, Midlothian Heritage, Graham and Glen Rose, all of whom finished first in their respective districts. District 4-4A didn’t do the Eagles any favors this year either as Springtown and Hirschi put together impressive seasons. The Eagles edged out 10-win Hirschi but handily lost to Springtown. The Eagles' schedule has paid dividends late in the year as they have shown that they are battle-tested and knocked out Dumas, Andrews, and Hirschi with an average margin of victory of 21 in the playoffs. 

3. West Texas (10-3)

Opponents’ win total: 98

State of Texas SOS ranking: 7

Despite a very tough schedule, Stinnett has fared really well with their only losses coming to Canadian, Panhandle, and Wellington who have a combined 37 wins. The Comanches have thrived against tough competition as well, notching big wins over Stratford and Gruver who are both still in playoff contention. West Texas dismantled Stratford, 42-6, in their most impressive win of the season. In the playoffs, Stinnett has taken down Seymour and Sundown, by a combined 61-26. Both finished the season with 10 wins. 

4. Albany (8-5)

Opponents’ win total: 97

State of Texas SOS ranking: 9

Albany may have faced the toughest non-district schedule of any team in the state as their five non-district opponents have amassed 43 wins this season. Three of those opponents play in 3A, a full classification above 2A Albany, The Tigers gave Dublin a very close game, losing just 26-20 but lost all five of their pre-district contests. Electing to play such a tough schedule has paid dividends as the Tigers ran away with the District 7-2A title and are riding an eight-game win streak with an average margin of victory of 21 during that span.

5. Tenaha (10-3)

Opponents’ win total: 96

State of Texas SOS ranking: 11

Troup outscored Tenaha 28-8 in the fourth quarter of their week one to take down the Tigers 42-39. The Tigers then fell victim to a very tough District 11-2A which included Garrison and Joaquin who both narrowly took down Tenaha by a combined nine points. Led by signal-caller Hayden Jenkins, the Tigers put together a couple of wins over incredible competition including Lovelady (9-3) and San Augustine (12-2).

6. West Orange-Stark (9-4)

Opponents’ win total: 95

State of Texas SOS ranking 14

West Orange-Stark’s record is about as deceiving as it gets as they have lost to just one team in their classification. A missed two-point conversion was the only thing that prevented the 4A Mustangs from taking down 5A Nederland in their season-opener. The Mustangs were then handed two-score losses by heavy 3A DII favorite Newton, 5A Crosby and Jasper — who they knocked out of playoff contention in their second meeting of the season last week. The Mustangs notched great wins over Silsbee, whose still in playoffs, and Sweeny.

7. North Shore (13-0)

Opponents’ win total: 94

State of Texas SOS Ranking: 17

You would never guess it by looking at their box scores, but the Mustangs have played an incredibly tough schedule. North Shore marched through their loaded non-district schedule with key wins over Katy and Spring Westfield. The Mustangs then outscored their seven district opponents 440-30 including a 56-7 win over 11-win West Brook who is in the Regional Finals this week. North Shore’s three playoff opponents have a combined 29 wins this season and the ‘Stangs have put up 49+ points in every one of the games.

8. Mart (12-1)

Opponents’ win total: 93

State of Texas SOS Ranking: 22

Mart has had their hands full with a grueling schedule but has passed the test with flying colors. Each of their non-district opponents has won 10 or more games this season and the Panthers only dropped one of those games — to Franklin. Led by feature back Tyrek Horne (1,418 rushing yards, 25 TD) the purple and gold haven’t posted less than 62 points in a game since week six. The Panthers dismantled 12-win Grapeland last week, 66-22, and will need to do the same against 12-win Muenster.

9. Yoakum (11-2)

Opponents’ win total: 92

State of Texas SOS Ranking: 23

3A Yoakum loaded up their non-district schedule with five different 4A programs and beat all but one of them — Boerne. The most impressive outing of that stretch was when they took down Cuero, who has 12 wins, 30-20. The Bulldogs were then tasked with playing both Edna and Goliad in District 14-3A and split the two, beating Edna 21-17 but losing to Goliad 17-14. However, they rebounded last week, downing Goliad 38-35. The Bulldogs’ strength of schedule will rise after they play a 12-win Edna team on Friday.

10. Texarkana Pleasant Grove (11-2)

Opponents’ win total: 91

State of Texas SOS Ranking: 26

Pleasant Grove rolled through their District 6-4A which suffered a bit of a down year. So, the majority of the Hawks’ strength of schedule ranking comes from their non-district slate that included nine-win Paris, 12-win Gladewater and 13-win Carthage. The Hawks defeated Paris 30-20, but lost to Gladewater and Carthage, each by seven points. Josh Gibson’s squad will have a chance to advance to the State Semi-Finals with a rematch against Pittsburg, who they handily beat 45-20, in their district meeting.

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