Wildcats picked second in district by Texas Football
Texas High is the team to beat

Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

July 10, 2004 -- Looking at the predictions in Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine, Brad Turner sees a lot of similarities to his own prognostications.

The Sulphur Springs head football coach likes where the Wildcats are picked - runner-up in District 12-4A - only because Texas High is an obvious preseason pick for No. 1. The magazine, which is considered the most comprehensive package of Texas high school football, hit the news stands last week.

"That's how I picked it," Turner said. "In my mind, Texas High coming off a state championship year in 2002 and a semifinal last year, should be the ones to beat in the district. Then, I feel like we're better than everyone else in our district."

Texas Football picked the district to finish in this order: Texas High, Sulphur Springs, Greenville, Mount Pleasant, Paris and North Lamar.

Greenville has the largest enrollment in the district at 1,518, one student more than Texas High. That means Greenville will be the Division I team in the district if the Lions make the playoffs. Mount Pleasant has 1,332 students, Sulphur Springs 1,216, Paris 937, and North Lamar 925.

"What that means is that you're probably going to have to be Texas High to be the district champions and the top seed in Division II, unless Greenville doesn't make the playoffs," Turner said. "Whatever happens, we play Texas High late in the year, and hopefully that game will mean something."

The Tigers are the obvious preseason choice for No. 1 in the district after going 13-1 last year and making it to the Division I state semifinals. They have one player on the Super Team in linebacker Chris Collins, another on the Third Team Super Team in defensive lineman Chris Brown, a defensive back among the Texas Top 300 in Curtis Sanders, and a sophomore quarterback in Ryan Mallette, who started the state semifinal game as a freshman last year.

"They're ranked in the state (No. 12) and have several players on the Super Team," Turner said. "That's why they're picked up there.

"I'm pleased with where we're at. I've never been picked first in Texas Football, and we've had some pretty good teams in the past," he added, referring specifically to a 2000 Lone Oak squad that averaged 51 points per game and went undefeated until they met Mart in the regional finals.

Following Sulphur Springs, the magazine picks Greenville, who has a new coach in Jimmie Brooks who was a longtime assistant with former coach Marvin Sedberry, and Mount Pleasant, who also has a new head coach in Larry McBroom who guided Ada, Okla. to a state championship.

Out of the six teams in the district, SSHS played three last year, going 2-1 with a homecoming win over Mount Pleasant, a Senior Night victory over Paris and a home loss to Greenville.

Texas High, Greenville, Sulphur Springs and North Lamar (in Class 3A) all made the playoffs last year.

"I think we're better than the rest of the teams in the district," Turner said. "Greenville beat us last year, but they weren't better than us. We beat Mount Pleasant on every level, and we beat Paris on every level, and North Lamar shouldn't be able to beat us."

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