The Texas State 7-on-7 Championship pools are out! Here are my predictions for the order of finish in each group, plus a mini-preview for each pool.
Pool A Predicted Order of Finish
- College Station A&M Consolidated
- Cypress Bridgeland
- Tyler John Tyler
Last year’s runner-up A&M Consolidated is back and poised for another deep run with the advantage of homefield and plenty of big-time skill experience. Bridgeland is a real sleeper after surprising many by going to Frisco and qualifying in April. The Bears are very explosive and look to get the edge for the second spot over John Tyler who has had a bad habit of often starting out slowly in 7-on-7. Arlington will be without their most explosive skill player in Jahari Rogers, but the Colts are a savvy team when it comes to 7-on-7 play.
Pool B Predicted Order of Finish
- Arlington Bowie
- Klein Cain
- Austin Anderson
Expect Lufkin and Arlington Bowie to put on a show when they meet up as these will be two of the most athletic teams in the entire tournament. Don’t sleep on newcomer Klein Cain, who went to The Woodlands and knocked off the Highlanders in their own SQT to advance to their first-ever state tournament. Austin Anderson is one of two Austin ISD teams to advance to College Station and the Trojans showed in their two SQTs they are quite capable.
Pool C Predicted Order of Finish
- Flower Mound Marcus
- El Paso Eastwood
- Mesquite Horn
This will be an exciting pool featuring four teams who can flat out score points. Manvel, who was once the powerhouse in 7-on-7 in Houston, is back at the state tournament for the eighth consecutive year. Flower Mound Marcus has been a real pleasant surprise in DFW and their young QB Garrett Nussmeier has been red hot leading the Marauders attack. Eastwood is the top team out of El Paso and the Troopers definitely possess an explosive offense. Playing competition outside of El Paso is also nothing new for this team, which last year travelled to a DFW qualifier and competed very well. Mesquite Horn made a deep run a year ago at the state tournament, but they didn’t play a qualifier until last week and after a slow start got things going to punch their ticket.
Pool D Predicted Order of Finish
- Southlake Carroll
- Port Neches-Groves
- Clear Brook
Southlake Carroll has looked very strong in DFW area qualifiers and has put themselves in the discussion as one of the tournament favorites. They’ll be without R.J. Mickens — their most dynamic playmaker — at the state tournament, but don’t expect the Dragons to drop off much. Port Neches-Groves really impressed in their one SQT in the Houston area, but PNG will have to hold off battle tested Clear Brook and a young but hungry Hutto team.
Pool E Predicted Order of Finish
- Arlington Lamar
- San Antonio Brandeis
Two mainstays in College Station highlight this pool as Arlington Lamar is playing in their 22nd straight 7-on-7 State Tournament, while Cy-Fair is making it twenty trips in a row. Lamar has been on an absolute tear in DFW qualifying the past few weeks, rattling off 16-straight wins, while Cy-Fair is always a tough team to deal with. Brandeis is making their first-ever appearance in College Station and the Broncos will bring a talented squad to Aggieland. Belton struggled early on in qualifying, but they’ve gotten better each and every week; they could be peaking at the right time.
Pool F Predicted Order of Finish
- Lake Travis
- Beaumont West Brook
- Cedar Hill
- Clear Springs
If there’s a “pool of death” in the Division I tournament, it's without a doubt this one as the team that finishes fourth in this group would likely win a lot of other pools. Lake Travis has gone 10-0 in their three qualifiers and the Cavaliers are almost always a factor in the championship bracket on Day 2. Buckle up for the battle for second as there will be athleticism in droves between West Brook, Cedar Hill and Clear Springs. It’s a coin flip and we lean to West Brook as they are back in College Station for the second straight year.
Pool G Predicted Order of Finish
- College Station
- El Paso Parkland
- Richardson Pearce
- Laredo United
The defending Division I champions, despite all their challenges in simply qualifying during the summer, look to be the favorite in a pool that lacks some of the big names in the 7-on-7 scene. The real battle is for second and we’ll give the nod to the Matadors from Parkland who are in College Station for the second straight year. PHS doesn’t have the FBS skill talent like they had a year ago, but might be a more savvy 7-on-7 team with the extra year of experience. Pearce is always a force on the offensive side of the ball and if the Mustangs can generate stops they’ll be a contender, along with state tournament veteran Laredo United.
Pool H Predicted Order of Finish
- Round Rock
- Cypress Falls
DeSoto making their return to the state tournament looks to be the favorite, as the Eagles combine outstanding athleticism with a lot of smarts when it comes to the 7-on-7 game. Round Rock, making their first appearance since 2015, gets the other nod in the championship bracket. The Dragons will need to hold off a strong squad from the Valley in Mission and the Cy Falls Golden Eagles, who are a bit streaky, but when they are rolling they are a wild card.
Pool I Predicted Order of Finish
- Denton Guyer
- Aldine Eisenhower
- Cedar Park Vista Ridge
Denton Guyer, who made a return to the state tournament after a long absence a year ago, looks to be the pool favorite with their experience at QB and a really outstanding defense in the 7-on-7 game. Two Houston-area teams in Dickinson and Eisenhower will contend for the second spot, while Vista Ridge, which has looked good in qualifying, appears to be a dark horse.
Pool J Predicted Order of Finish
- Lubbock Coronado
- Fort Bend Ridge Point
This is a really challenging pool to predict as all four of these teams could potentially make a deep run on Saturday. Rockwall has the most dynamic player in the pool, while Lubbock Coronado features one of the state’s most talented young signal callers, and the Mustangs have had great performances the past two years in College Station. Ridge Point top to bottom has the most team speed in this pool, while Lovejoy is dangerous simply because of their brutal efficiency on the offensive side of the ball.
Pool K Predicted Order of Finish
- Frisco Lone Star
- San Antonio O’Connor
- Waco Midway
Frisco Lone Star looked incredibly impressive in their lone SQT way back in April, but that was April so it’ll be interesting to see where the Rangers stand at the state tournament. They’ll get a stiff test from the top team out of San Antonio in O’Connor. Midway is battle tested and has improved all summer and will be in the mix as well.
Pool L Predicted Order of Finish
- Klein Oak
- Midland Christian
Klein Oak made the most of their lone SQT appearance, rolling to a spot in the state tournament with a 5-0 mark at the Houston Athlete and Training SQT last Friday. The Panthers are super-talented, but Midlothian and their unorthodox style of play and 7-on-7 experience will be a big challenge. Rockwall-Heath and the lone private school at the state tournament — Midland Christian — are teams that could be looking to push in the consolation bracket.
Pool M Predicted Order of Finish
- Austin Westlake
- Richmond Foster
- Mission Veterans Memorial
This is another power packed pool. Austin Westlake has been outstanding this summer and should be the favorite, but if Foster is clicking on all cylinders they are a team that could win the entire tournament. They showed last year at the state tournament they are not a team to be messed with after knocking off Lake Travis in bracket play. Frisco is very talented and dangerous, despite inexperience on this stage. Overlook Mission Veterans Memorial at your own peril — the Patriots are accustomed to playing against good competition in 7-on-7 and they’ve got a knack for putting up big points.
Pool N Predicted Order of Finish
- Austin LBJ
- Wichita Falls Rider
Katy has long been a regular at the State 7-on-7 Tournament, but rarely have the Tigers been much of a factor on the second day of action. That could change this year as Katy has the makings of a squad who can really make a deep push on Saturday, primarily due to their talent and experience at the QB spot, led by Bronson McClelland. Austin LBJ is a real wildcard — the Jaguars are incredibly athletic but will that lack of experience at the state tournament allow a team like Coppell to sneak in and grab that second spot? Wichita Falls Rider has a talented signal caller of their own in Jacob Rodriguez, but can the Raiders defense get the job done against the potent offenses they’ll see in College Station?
Pool O Predicted Order of Finish
- Lewisville Hebron
- Mission Pioneer
- Cypress Woods
Hebron punched their ticket to the state tournament back in April at the Frisco SQT and the Hawks are loaded with experience at QB and the offensive skill spots. Temple across the board might have more talent than anyone in the tournament, and the key for the Wildcats will be consistency at the QB spot.
Pool P Predicted Order of Finish
- Fort Bend Travis
- San Angelo Central
- North Forney
Fort Bend Travis gets the nod in this really wide open pool. The Tigers won’t have one of their top receivers on hand but with plenty of speed, a veteran QB and the experience of making the state tournament a year ago, they have an edge. San Angelo Central really came on late in qualifying and the Bobcats have the look of a team peaking at the right time. North Forney and Mansfield are a pair of state tournament newcomers, both are capable of making noise, but can they be consistent enough on the big stage?