Euless Trinity and Southlake Carroll, district competitors for the first time, are No. 5 and No. 6, respectively, in the Class 6A preseason poll released Wednesday by The Associated Press.
Aledo tops the Class 5A poll and Stephenville is No. 1 in 4A.
Trinity and Carroll, which have only met in the playoffs, are in District 7-6A. Cedar Hill and DeSoto, both in 8-6A and potential first-round playoff foes for Trinity and Carroll, are No. 3 and 4, respectively, in the poll.
“It’s really just a tribute to the teams we’ve had in the past,” said Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver, whose 2013 team lost to DeSoto in the fourth round of the playoffs. “I surely do respect the folks that do those polls and how all that comes together, but honestly this season, as coaches, we just kind of rolled our eyes at it.”
Lineweaver said the ranking might be a little high for his storied program, which won 5A titles in 2005, ’07 and ’09, but in 2014 has just eight returning starters — and only three on offense.
“And I’m more worried about our defense,” Lineweaver said. “We’ve got more holes to fill there than we’ve had in a really long time. So we have a bunch of younger players that are going to have to get up to speed quickly on both sides.”
Neither Carroll nor Trinity is foreign to the AP state poll. Both programs show up regularly in the preseason poll or during the regular season. Last season, Carroll was No. 8 in the final state poll, conducted before the UIL playoffs.
In that poll, Cedar Hill received only three votes and wasn’t in the top 10, but the Longhorns went on to win the Class 5A Division II title.
“I know it’s exciting for all the communities, and I know that as competitive as our district is, every week is going to be like the playoffs,” Lineweaver said. “So in that sense, it’s exciting for everyone.”
Back-to-back Class 5A Division I champion Allen tops the Class 6A poll, while Katy is No. 2. Cedar Hill beat Katy last year for the Division II title.
Aledo is coming off a Class 4A (now 5A) state title last season and had an 11th-hour coaching change before opening practice this week. Defensive coordinator Steve Wood was promoted to head coach after Tim Buchanan became Aledo’s full-time athletic director.
Mansfield Timberview is No. 10 in the Class 5A poll.
“I try not to look at those things, but honestly, I think it gives our community a sense of where we are as a program and the direction we’re headed,” Timberview coach James Brown said. “We’re going to find out real quick how good that ranking is when we scrimmage Cedar Hill next week and then open up the season with Ennis.”
Ennis is ranked No. 2 in Class 5A.