The preseason predictions we got right... and the ones we got wrong

Photo by Ashley Wirz

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With the 2019 season in the books, it’s time – almost – to start focusing on 2020. It won’t be long before coaches across the state receive their annual questionnaires that enable us to preview every team in the state this summer.

And speaking of the annual summer issue, let’s take a look back at the 2019 issue and see how our early predictions played out.

State championship predictions

The summer edition correctly predicted six of the 12 state champions and even had four of the matchups correctly pegged. That includes the 4A, Division I final between Waco La Vega and Carthage, though we predicted that La Vega would win the title. Carthage topped La Vega 42-28.

Champions we correctly predicted:

6A, DI: Galena Park North Shore winning a rematch with Duncanville, though the game missed arguably its two biggest stars in Zachary Evans and Ja’Quinden Jackson.

5A, DII: Aledo topped Fort Bend Marshall in a 2018 rematch, though the Buffalos made things much more interesting with a late rally. Aledo needed to recover an onside kick in the final minute to win its ninth title.

4A, DII: Texarkana Pleasant Grove returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and rode Bruce Garrett’s legs to its second title in three years.

3A, DI: Grandview, led by dynamic Dane Jentsch, won its second straight title by keeping upstart Pottsboro at bay.

2A, DI: Refugio survived a second round scare – rallying to beat Shiner on the final play – and shut down Post’s west Texas offense with a virtuoso defensive performance in the title game.

2A, DII: Tested for the first time by a 2A, Division II foe for the first time, Mart proved it can win tight games too. Hamlin became the first 2A, DII team since the 2018 realignment to stay within 20 points of the Panthers, but Roddrell Freeman’s three touchdowns led the way to another title.

What we missed:

6A, DII: Longview’s early ouster denied us a marquee Longview-Westlake matchup. The Chaps, though, held up their end of the bargain and cruised past Denton Guyer 24-0 to lift the trophy during the school’s 50th anniversary season.

5A, DI: After reaching the state final in its first official season, Alvin Shadow Creek finished the deal in 2019. The Sharks used a blood-in-the-water defense to hold down opposing offenses to return to the final, then broke up Denton Ryan’s Hail Mary on the final play to win the title.

4A, DI: The two most dominant 4A, DI programs over the last four years met again. Carthage scored late in the second quarter and again early in the third to take control. Coach Scott Surratt’s coached the Bulldogs for 13 years. In that time, the school’s lost just six playoff games.

3A, DII: Gunter's ground game proved too much for Paul Pewitt, who fell just short after an unexpected undefeated run to the final.

1A, DI: For what it’s worth, we predicted that McLean would make the final and fall. Blum, ranked 10th in the preseason, pulled the upset with a late rally.

1A, DII: Lesson learned: 1A, DII is Richland Springs’ world and the rest of us are just living in it. The Coyotes won their ninth state title, a record later equaled by Aledo.

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