I went to several tournaments this weekend. I saw parts of the Mumford, Grapeland, Whataburger, Leonard, Rusk and Tenaha Tournaments on Thursday-Saturday. I’ve now seen about half of the top 10 teams in 1A-3A. I’ve had an opportunity to talk to a lot of coaches and get a lot of different opinions on each region. I’ll offer my opinion on each region and how it breaks down. Some regions I’m more familiar with than others.
In region 1, its Texline and everyone else. In 1A-3A all regions, Texline is one of the best bets to make it out of their regions, which why they’re #1. Region 2 is probably the deepest with the most good teams. Water Valley is the preseason favorite, but they should have 2 tough games at the regional tournament to get out of the region. Region 3 seems to be the most wide open. Lingleville and Huckabay are the two top ranked teams in the region but I think neither is a lock to win it. I looked over the playoff brackets, and I think Huckabay, Lingleville, Miller Grove and Roxton could be in the regional tournament and I wouldn’t be surprised if any of them got out. Roxton is a little bit of a sleeper. They’ve played a tough schedule and have the athletes. It wouldn’t surprise me if they got hot and made a late season run. Region 4 is the most top heavy with 3 good teams(Laneville, Oakwood, Douglass) in one district and Calvert. This region has the same scenario as last year. Calvert will have to beat the 1st and 3rd place teams in 25-1A-II to make it to the regional finals, which the 2nd place team in 25-1A-II will have the easiest route. Before the season I would’ve said Oakwood is the favorite in the region. From watching the teams and talking to people, I think I would pick Laneville to make it. Damiyne Durham is the real deal though, and could carry Oakwood, but he’ll have play well. I think Texline or Region 4 will the be favorites at state.
In region 1, El Paso Harmony is gonna be the heavy favorite to come out their region. I saw Harmony’s scores at the Caprock Classic. They lost to Estacado by only 3 pts, and beat Greenwood and Monahans by 20+, which is impressive. I’ve seen Estacado before, and if Harmony played them that close, they must be really good. In region 2, with AAA now out of 1A, region 2 is looking like the weakest region. Muenster and Poolville are the favorites in the region, but I wouldn’t count out Stamford who always seems to be in the regional tournament. Once again region 3 is the most loaded with good teams. Grapeland is the favorite in the region, but there are a group of teams right behind them they cant take lightly in the playoffs, like Big Sandy, Tenaha, San Augustine, Martins Mill, Lapoynor , Kerens and West Sabine. The top of the bracket will have 5 of those 7 teams, so San Augustine will have one of the best roads to the regional finals again this year if they win district. Mumford is a heavy favorite in region 4. They shouldn’t have many tough games to get out of the region either. I could see Bartlett or maybe Gervin or Stacey competing with them but I think with their talent and experience, I would be surprised if someone beat them. Mumford should be the favorites at state, but Grapeland (if they make it) and Harmony are very capable teams that should make state very interesting.
Region 1 seems to have a lot of solid teams, but no clear favorite. Abernathy was the preseason favorite, but they have had several close games with a lot of 2A teams. I would give anyone ranked in region 1 a chance plus Brownfield who currently isn’t ranked. My gut feeling says I wouldn’t be surprised if Idalou made it out of the region with their recent tradition and experience, but that’s just a guess. Region 2 seems to be the deepest of the 4 regions with the best 2 teams. In my opinion, Brock and Ponder are the 2 best teams in the region and in STATE. If either make it out of the region, I would make them the favorite at state, but it wont be easy for either to get out of the region. I would give Peaster a chance, and Clarksville is young but if they get hot, they could be dangerous. Region 3 I think will likely come down to Kountze and Tatum. I would be surprised if it wasn’t one of these 2 teams, but they have to watch out for White Oak and Franklin. If Brock or Ponder wins region 2, I’d put them ahead of the region 3 winner but just slightly. Region 4 I know the least about but I imagine this is the weakest region. Hallettsville seems to be the favorite but whoever wins this region will be considered the longshot at state.
I’ve seen most of the best region 1 teams and I’d say they are pretty close. I was most impressed with Kennedale, but wouldn’t be surprised if about 4 or 5 other teams managed to beat them out. I know very little about region 4, but SA Houston always seems to be the favorite. It seems they always are pretty good but cant make it to state. Region 1 and 4 will be underdogs to the regions 2 and 3 winners. In regions 2 and 3 you can pencil in a Dallas and Houston ISD team to be at state. As long as the UIL allows Houston and Dallas ISD teams with open enrollment to compete in 3A, they will always be playing with a big advantage over rural 3A schools. I’ve talked to several coaches and fans who feel its not a level playing field for 3A.
I have posted my opinions and thoughts. Lets hear yours. Who are your favorites?