|R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Cumby predicted to finish second in district|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
June 15, 2006 - CUMBY - What a difference a year makes for the Cumby Trojans.
Following a 6-4 overall record last year, the Trojans were picked to finish second in District 17-A by Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine after a fifth-place projected finish the past two years.
"It is about time that we get somebody to recognize that we are working our butts off down here," said Cumby coach Kent Hawthorne. "We got a new gym being built and a new field house and we had 26 varsity athletes in there on Thursday. We have been pleased with how hard everybody is working during the summer and we are going to play hard and get after everybody."
The magazine once again picked defending champion Wolfe City to repeat as well as ranked them No. 13 in the state in the State Farm/ Texas Football 1A Top 25 poll.
Coach Dale Trompler's team has 21 returning starters and 21 lettermen back from last year's 7-4 bi-district team that went undefeated in district at 6-0. Wolfe City will be a strong contender for a deep run in the playoffs out of Region III, according to the magazine.
"I think Wolfe City will be solid, and they are all seniors," Hawthorne said. "They have a real good chemistry of kids and they have been starting for a long time.
"I think they will be one of the top teams in the state. They are not getting much respect and I think that they are better than that. I think Boles will be pretty good and not as big as usual."
Behind Wolfe City and Cumby, the magazine picked Quinlan Boles as the third place team, followed by Celeste, Dallas A+ Academy and Fruitvale.
This season, three teams will go to the playoffs in Class A and there will be Division I and Division II brackets. In the past, only the top two teams advanced to the postseason.
Dallas A+ Academy (190 students) is the largest school in the district, so if the Knights made the playoffs, they would be the Division I representative. Wolfe City (172 students) would be the Division I representative if the prediction holds true. Cumby has the fewest kids in the district with 111 students.
"Celeste lost (David) Lakeman and that hurts because he is a man and he is hard to block and hard to tackle, and then they lost (Cooper) Haralson. I think they will be the fourth place team in my opinion," Hawthorne said.
"We really don't know what Fruitvale or Dallas A+ will have, but we will find out pretty quick and both of them could be sleepers, but no one really knows."
Hawthorne said with the prediction that was handed out, it means a lot to him but it is not where you start it is where you finish.
"It means a lot that the district is recognizing us for what we are doing and after a 6-4 finish in 2004 and a 6-4 finish last year we are ready to play this year," he said.
With 17 freshmen on the team this year, Hawthorne knows what the expectations are and expects his freshman to learn quickly.
"We are not going to have a whole lot of kids in the same position just like it was last year, and we had Casey Romans as the only kid in the same position all year long," he said. "We will be better in some things and we will have speed and talent. We have 17 of those kids from the junior high team that only lost two games coming in this year."
After District 17-A lost Rivercrest, Melissa and Detroit to realignment, Hawthorne said the coaches are very happy with where the Trojans are during the offseason.
"We loved playing Rivercrest and we are 2-0 against them. We have been the thorn in their side and we don't having any thoughts of losing them," he said. "We split with Melissa and we had some injuries and players not getting to play for other reasons."
"Detroit was another team that we lost but we kept them on the schedule as a pre-district team and we are pretty happy where we are at right now."