20-3A will provide some tough foes
Diboll — 2012 record 2-8 (1-3)
vs. Fairfield 2012: 2-8 (4-0)
With the addition of a fourth postseason spot in Class 3A, the Diboll Lumberjacks are hopeful to get a berth into the 2013 playoffs. After a disappointing 2012 season that saw the ‘Jacks win only one district game, they are looking toward a change from last season. The ‘Jacks hope to carry momentum from last year’s season finale when they defeated the Huntington Red Devils on the road, 27-0. Raive Sheppard returns to the team as the starting QB after starting two games and passing for 455 passing yards. Another returning standout for the air attack is WR Sammy Scott, who scored multiple touchdowns last season. Cielance Bailey will be back after an injury-plagued year at RB.
The record didn’t show it but Diboll was in several games throughout the year with the help of its defense. The season opener was a 27-17 loss against the Fairfield Eagles where they still threatened to win late in the fourth quarter. The next game was another nailbiter as they beat Corrigan-Camden, 26-14. In Week 3, the ‘Jacks simply couldn’t get any offense as it lost, 14-0, to the Bullard Panthers. Other key defensive players coming back are B.J. Vinson, Michael Garcia and Isaac Hernandez.
The ‘Jacks will begin the season on the road against the Fairfield Eagles on Friday night at 7:30 at Eagle Stadium. The ‘Jacks failed to win their home opener last season after the game started late due to a weather delay and a sloppy field. In the 2012 season, Fairfield was the district champ and a Division II area finalist.
Carthage 2012 record 11-3 (4-0)
Week 0 at Jacksonville Indians
After being only a late fourth quarter turnover away from the state championship game against the El Campo Ricebirds, the Carthage Bulldogs have their sights set on another run deep into the playoffs. The Bulldogs have been a state power as they have won the 3a state championship three times under head coach Scott Surratt. Last year Carthage ran through district 20-3A with ease as the closest game was a 45-29 win over the Center Roughriders. Coming back at QB after his stellar sophomore season is Blake Bogenschutz, who passed for almost 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in leading the district in those stats. Tee Goree also returns at wide receiver after catching 17 touchdown catches to go along with 1,200 yards. The Bulldogs are ranked first in 2013 Texas Football and No. 4 in the Coaches Poll. They have 15 returning starters, including RB Tevin Pipken, who brought in 1,600 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns to the mix. WR O’Keerion Rutherford and TE Kolby Blissett also return to add to the Bulldogs juggernaut of an offense. Rutherford was another key last season as he brought in 600 yards with 8 touchdowns. Other returning starters from the defensive side are DB Bryian Bolton with 74 tackles and 8 interceptions, DL Mario McCain with 76 tackles, 8 sacks and Jared McLin. The Bulldogs will start the season at the Jacksonville Indians, hoping to avenge a loss from last season. The Bulldogs will hope to finish their regular season on a high note as they face the ‘Jacks at home for Senior Night in hopes of securing another district title.
Center 2012 record 8-3 (2-2)
Week 0 at the Buna Cougars
The Center Roughriders hopes to follow up another good season after finishing third in district and doubling their win total from the 2011 season. Returning QB Dalton Horton will be a key component after finishing his 2012 season with over 1,400 yards passing for 12 touchdowns. WR DeJalen Preston added six touchdowns from Horton. He also had four interceptions on the defensive side. A big piece missing for the Roughrider will be K.J. Garrett, lost to graduation after rushing for almost 1,600 yards on 190 carries with 17 touchdowns in 2012. On the defensive side, Williams had over 100 tackles from his linebacker position.
The Roughriders will look to get the 2013 season off to a winning start as they travel to take on a Buna Cougars team that is picked to finish in fifth place in District 21-3A. Buna returns five starters on each side of the ball after finishing with a 4-6 overall record and a 2-4 mark in district play. Matthew Biddle is the top returning offensive weapon for Buna after running for 1,323 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Buna is in their second year in 3A football and will be looking to make the playoffs for the first time since jumping up in classification. Last season, Center took a hard-fought 33-30 win over Buna.
Jasper 2012 record 9-3 (3-1)
Week 0 vs. the Liberty Panthers
The Jasper Bulldogs continued their run of success with a 9-3 record and a spot in the area playoffs in 2012. They will be looking to add to that success with a team that is picked to finish in second place in 20-3A. Jasper will return six players on both sides of the ball from a team whose only setback was a 49-31 decision to Carthage. Leading the way for Jasper’s returners is Terrence Cuney, who ran for 1,295 yards last season. Steve Walker was also an all-district performer for the Bulldogs last season, and the best player on the offense may be offensive lineman Terrell Cuney. On the defensive side, DeAnthony Cuney led the way with 145 tackles.
The first opponent for the Bulldogs will be one they coasted past in the season opener by a 49-13 score last year. That loss proved to be the first of man for Liberty, which finished the year with a 3-7 record. Dennis Antione led the Liberty offense with 922 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground last season.
2012 record 0-10 (0-4)
Week 0 vs. Tarkington
The Huntington Red Devils failed to get in the win column in 2012 as they went through another tough season. Now with Ryan Soderquist leading the way in his first season as a head coach, the Red Devils will look to advance to the postseason for the first time in school history. Huntington should gain a lift from the new Class 3A format in which four teams make the postseason as it is guaranteed to be in the playoff hunt until the last week of the season. Huntington returns five players on each side of the ball from last year’s squad. Jermichael Brown should help lead the Red Devils from his running back position while Jeramiah Robertson leads the team at quarterback. Huntington will also be returning to the Wing-T offense in hopes of controlling the clock against its opponents.
The Red Devils will look to get in the win column on Friday as they host the Tarkington Longhorns. Tarkington is picked to finish in last place in 22-3A. Last season, the Longhorns had a 3-7 overall record but went 0-6 in district play. One of those three wins was a 36-12 win over the Red Devils in the first week of the season.