Winnsboro gets state ranking, while C-P and Cooper face uphill battle
By JOSEPH ELERSON, News-Telegram Sports Writer
June 19, 2008 - COMO - The Como-Pickton Eagles and the Cooper Bulldogs face an uphill battle in regards to the District 13-2A picks by Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine.
The Eagles and Bulldogs are picked in the bottom half of the district as CPHS is picked to finish sixth, while the Bulldogs are picked to finish last in the eight-team district.
Overall, District 13-2A has two of the top ranked teams in the state in Caddo Mills and Winnsboro, which both finished last season as champions of their respective districts.
The magazine picked No. 11-ranked Caddo Mills - which returns to the district after a two-year absence - to win the district title, followed by No. 16-ranked Winnsboro, Lone Oak, Quitman, Grand Saline, Como-Pickton, Alba-Golden and Cooper to round out the newly-formed district.
Como-Pickton looks to bounce back this season from a 3-7 campaign and winless district season last year under first-year coach Paul Tullis.
The Eagles return senior quarterback Austin Darby and running backs James Carter and Brandt Steele, who returns from an injury that cut his season short last year.
Wide receivers Ryan Carpenter and Phillip Cox will be the main targets for Darby and an offensive line of Hayden Howard, Dylan Mowat, Robert Carden, Zack Hankins and Lance Tate should give protection to Darby next season.
In Cooper, the Bulldogs make the switch to a new district and head coach Ronnie Green looks for the team to improve on last year's 2-8 record.
Cooper will be led by tailbacks Gaylon Bacy and Adrian Migura, quarterback Ty Huie and defensive leaders Jacob Archer, Logan Arthur, Horace Jeffery, William Tubb, Holden Jenkins and Jacob McPherson.
Below is some thoughts on the remaining six teams in the district:
Caddo Mills - The Foxes (12-1 regional finalist last year) come into the season looking to fill several key position among the 18 seniors they lost to graduation.
Senior Nathan Jeffery will be a key player at running back after a season in which he scored 37 touchdowns and rushed for 2,239 yards on 207 carries. He will be joined by fullbacks Jacob Page and Quintais Rector in the backfield. The offensive line returns 290-pound offensive lineman Alex Lowry, center Chris Mercer and lineman Garrett King.
Winnsboro - A 10-2 regional semifinalist squad one year ago, the Red Raiders return 22 lettermen and 16 starters this season, led by quarterback Sean Ditto and running backs Josh Thacker, Zach Allen and Jordan Massey in the broken wishbone formation.
On defense, the Red Raiders have defensive end Michael Leaks, linebackers Blake Bennett and Ashton Slaughter, defensive lineman Jordan Duffey and defensive back Christian Bosold returning.
Lone Oak - The Buffaloes return to the district after a two-year absence and are coming off an area round playoff season last year.
The Buffaloes return both of their quarterbacks from last year in Britton Dodwell and Cooper Jones, who also plays wide receiver.
The big concern for the Buffaloes to hold the No. 3 seed will be finding offensive linemen as all five starters from last year graduated, leaving coach Randy Jackson with some questions during the offseason.
Quitman - The Bulldogs come into the season after being knocked out in the bi-district round of the playoffs one year ago.
QHS will be led this season by Lance Evans, who saw action at defensive back, running back and wide receiver last year for coach Todd Shackelford. The Bulldogs expect to see big things out of defensive lineman and tight end Kirby Hayes and sophomore tailback Devontae McNeal.
Grand Saline - The Indians have an inexperienced team with 11 returning lettermen and seven starters from last year's playoff team.
On offense, running back Michael Martin and quarterback Taylor Phelps step into full-time roles after sharing those roles last season.
Coach Kenny Phelps said Hayden Hawkins and Marc Maxfield are his key returners on defense.
Alba-Golden - The big question in Alba this season is finding a replacement for tailback Ryan Young, who transferred to Sulphur Springs in the offseason.
The Panthers also had to find a new head coach as coach Paul Frye became an assistant coach at John Tyler during the offseason and was replaced by defensive coordinator Billy Stone.
Stone said his players to watch in 2008 will be All-State defensive back Austin Woodrum, defensive tackles Ruston Haas and Matt Reeves and linebacker Matt George.