Few things get me as pumped up about the upcoming football season as the day I receive my copy of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football in the mail.
Not that Campbell’s publication is the be all, end all of what will transpire during the season. Its predictions are often wrong, but it’s definitely a fun read if you are a fan of high school football and it contains a cavalcade of information on every team in the state.
Of course, the first thing I did was flip to Page 285 to see where Big Spring was ranked. Apparently, the 0-5 finish sullied the opinions of the DCTF analysts, as Big Spring is picked to place last in District 4-3A, with Abilene Wylie predicted to win the district. It also lists Monahans as a dark horse — a designation I would assign Big Spring.
First of all, the Steers have more returning starters on offense and defense (7/7) than any of their 4-3A opponents save for Snyder (9/8). Wylie only has a total of four starters returning.
And let’s not forget about the raw athletic talent BSHS boasts. Big Spring may have lost five straight to close out the season, but they opened with five straight wins, which included victories over rival Andrews and defending TAPPS 4-A champion Midland Christian.
Tobyn Tannehill stepped in as a sophomore quarterback and led the Steers to five wins to open his varsity career. Surely, Tannehill gained valuable experience at the position and should be even more of a threat this year. The younger brother of Miami Dophins’ QB Ryan Tannehill, Tobyn passed for 14 touchdowns and rushed for seven.
All-State selection Devin Roberson will be back for his final season. Barring an injury, Roberson is one of the most versatile athletes you will see on the field at the high school level. A threat all over the field, he is listed at four positions — punter, kicker, safety and wide receiver. Roberson embodies the type of utility player every coach desires.
The Steers lost hard-charging running back Michael Oliva to graduation, but Tannehill will have several weapons to choose from in addition to Roberson. The 6’3’’ Tate Kennedy will join Roberson in the receiving corp along with Ryan Lopez and others.
Also mentioned by DCTF as players to watchare: Tyler Wigington (LB); Nick Conner (OT), Garrett Wigington (RB/LB); Drake Worthan (CB); Shaiem Menefield (CB); Ty Seeley (TE); Nick Sotelo (C); Ronnie Bell (LB); Brett Brorman (S) and Aric Rutledge (OG).
In Class AA, District 3, the Stanton Buffaloes were selected by the magazine to finish fourth behind a trio of perennial powerhouses in Sonora, Alpine and Crane. Picked last in 3-2A is Coahoma.
Can the Buffs or Bulldogs work their way into the playoffs in a tough district?
I’m sure respective head coaches John Peterson and Trey Gardner believe so. Stanton will be returning eight starters on offense and six on defense.
Coahoma expects just three offensive veterans and six defenders back from last season. The Bulldogs lost senior leaders such as Peyton Rodriguez and Tanner Ruiz — among others — after a long, injury-prone year which began with much promise in 2012.
Rounding out the area’s 11-man teams is Forsan, which earned a No. 3 ranking behind two-time defending state champion Stamford, as well as Anson, which was red-hot last season. The Buffaloes are predicted to finish ahead of Winters and Haskell, but like most of the region’s districts, it could go any which way.
FHS Head Coach Jason Phillips will be returning Kade Fannin, Ausden Medrano, Polo Morin, Garrett Kligora, Trevor Williams, J.T. Breyman and Kolby Self, to name a few.
The Buffs made a postseason appearance last year, but were eliminated by Quanah. Though Forsan lost assets such as Trevor Burchett, Copeland Riddell, Marcus Cervantes and Brendan Roman, DCTF predicts Forsan to return to the playoffs once again.
As for the local six-man teams, all three — Grady, Sands and Garden City — have a legitimate shot at winning their district.
Grady will have to contend with Borden County, Klondike and O’Donnell, but the Wildcats went further than any other area squad in 2012 and Head Coach Chris Kuykendall will bring back four starters on each side of the ball. Grady is ranked second by DCTF in the four-team district.
Also pulling rank at No. 2 is Garden City, behind Rankin in District 5-6M. Head Coach Matt Odom’s son, Austin Odom, is expected to play QB for the Bearkats, who won back-to-back state titles in 2009 and 2010 and snuck into the playoffs last season.
Last, but not least, the Sands Mustangs will welcome new Head Coach Stephen Keith after missing the playoffs last season. Four starters on offense and defense will be counted on to lead the Stangs back to the postseason.
Sands is picked third in District 5-6M, behind Dawson and Loop, but ahead of Wellman-Union.
Will the gurus behind DCTF be proven right? Will the Steers flop and finish in last place, or will the experience gained from last season be enough to provide a catalyst for Big Spring to make a postseason push? Will District 3-2A’s final playoff spot come down to Coahoma and Stanton? How deep will Forsan go? Will a six-man team represent the area in Austin?
These are questions Dave Campbell’s yearly magazine can’t adequately answer. We will have to see for ourselves.
See you in the bleachers.