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
- Waco Connally
- Wichita Falls Hirschi
- Tuscola Jim Ned
This is a really difficult pool to get a read on as the two newcomers to State 7-on-7 also feature the most talent of any team in the bracket outside of maybe Waco La Vega. LaFeria is a veteran squad that showed plenty of heart rallying from twenty points down at halftime in their key qualifying game, while Jim Ned has the experience of last year’s run to the quarterfinals in 7-on-7. We’ll give the nod to the Connally Cadets, but any of the four teams can win this pool, it’ll be a fun one to watch.
Pool B Predicted Order of Finish
- Midlothian Heritage
- Rio Hondo
This is another pool where strong cases for all four teams to win the pool can be made, Midlothian Heritage are the defending champions but they had a struggle to qualify as they needed four SQTs to punch their ticket. The Jaguars do have one of the most dangerous receivers in the tournament in Jay Wilkerson but they are very young in many other spots. Columbia is loaded with experience, but this is the Roughnecks first go-round at State 7-on-7. Their athleticism across the board gives them the nod over a Dumas team who is also heavy on experience. Rio Hondo is a wildcard, they surprised folks two years ago and got into the winners bracket and this summer they’ve been the consensus strongest small school team in the RGV.
Pool C Predicted Order of Finish
- Longview Spring Hill
The Steers have three Division II titles and look poised to be one of the contenders to win it all in 2019 with a very experienced team returning. They are experts at 7-on-7 and play the kind of game that forces you to play nearly perfect on offense as they run their Friday night offense at an incredible level of efficiency. The other three teams are very dangerous and could be in a real battle for the second seed. Spring Hill knocked off Midlothian Heritage in pool play at Heritage’s SQT, while Boerne brings plenty of experience to the table. Hitchcock has some real eye popping talent and if the Bulldogs show consistency they’ll be a tough out as well.
Pool D Predicted Order of Finish
- Houston Worthing
If you are noticing a theme it’s that in the Division II bracket, every pool has incredible depth and part of that is the reduction in the tournament to 32 teams. Sunnyvale rolled in their three qualifiers posting an unbeaten 10-0 mark and the Raiders are among one of the tournament favorites. McGregor has a veteran group of skill players, while Burnet has shown they are a force, knocking off a really good Brownwood squad to qualify. Houston Worthing can’t be overlooked either. The Colts don’t have a ton of depth but they’ve got dangerous front line talent and are capable of doing damage.
Pool E Predicted Order of Finish
- Waxahachie Life
Brownwood is a real sleeper to make a lot of noise, especially if they can get consistency at the QB spot. The Lions look to be the favorite in the pool, while Stafford — with their experience and overall team speed — should be no worse than the second seed in the championship bracket. Pleasanton and Waxahachie Life are both returning teams at the state tournament, but both have much younger teams that they are bringing to the table.
Pool F Predicted Order of Finish
- Texarkana Pleasant Grove
If you are looking for the “Pool of Death” in the Division II bracket this is it, Pleasant Grove finished as the State 7-on-7 runner-up and the 4A Division II runner-up in the fall. The Hawks have a three-year starter at QB and experience all over the field. They’ll present some real matchup problems with their size at receiver and tenacity on defense. Stephenville’s offense really got rolling towards the end of qualifying, and the ‘Jackets are capable of putting 50 up on just about anyone, but their defense has been shaky at times. Brock is very young, but the Eagles are always in the mix, while tournament newcomer Jourdanton was dealt a very tough pool for Day 1.
Pool G Predicted Order of Finish
- Waco La Vega
Defending 4A DI State Champion Waco La Vega made their first-ever state tournament a year ago and with a veteran squad returning to the mix, the Pirates will be a tough out. La Vega plays with an edge and their team speed at times can simply be overwhelming. Melissa was one of the tournament favorites a year ago advancing to the semifinals. They still have an outstanding signal caller in Brendon Lewis, but the Cardinals struggled to qualify before finally getting it done in Celina two weeks ago. Wimberley is capable of pushing the two pool favorites; the Texans know the 7-on-7 game well and are very consistent. Crockett was a surprise qualifier in Palestine and are a bit of an unknown heading into this challenging pool.
Pool H Predicted Order of Finish
- China Spring
Two of the favorites in the entire tournament — China Spring and Celina — are poised to battle it out for the top spot in the pool. Both could potentially make deep runs on the tournament’s second day. Sweeny and Marion are both veteran squads who made the state tournament a year ago and won’t be a pushover for the two pool favorites.