We crossed a threshold toward the 2015 football season not long ago. The summer football bible – Dave Campbell’s Texas Football – reached mail boxes and newsstands.
Since 1960, football fans across the state eagerly await its arrival. For the can’t-live-without-football fan, this helps ease the sorrow of the summer’s dog days, especially all 31 days of July.
As has been a practice with our space, we reveal where our coverage teams are predicted in the preseason polls and the district races, then offer our reaction.
So let’s take a look:
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Class 6A Preseason Poll/Coaches Poll: Carroll is ranked No. 13 in the DCTF Top 40 and No. 5 in the Coaches poll. No other teams are ranked.
Reaction: The range between Carroll’s rankings is a bit odd. Coaches appear to be trusting in Carroll’s tradition and know there is a lot of young talent. The DCTF staff’s ranking makes sense, because the Dragons have a new quarterback and a pretty young defense.
Class 5A Preseason Poll/Coaches Poll: Grapevine, the only area 5A team, is not ranked.
Reaction: The Mustangs are coming off a 3-8 2014 season. That makes sense.
District 5-6A rankings: Playoff teams are Keller and Justin Northwest in Division I. Denton Guyer and Denton Ryan are projected to make Division II. The Top 4 order is Guyer, Keller, Ryan and Northwest. Keller Fossil Ridge is predicted fifth.
Reaction: What we feel comfortable proclaiming about this district is that the Guyer Bobcats should make the playoffs. They are led by highly touted junior quarterback Shawn Robinson.
Keller seems like a pretty safe playoff bet, with key figures in defensive end Houston Miller (the preseason defensive MVP), quarterback Caleb Griffin and running back Tyler Tutt returning.
After that, it’s pretty much anyone’s guess. Fossil Ridge is always a wild card because there’s always talent coming through that program. Northwest has some questions to answer in the skill positions. Keller Central team is always overlooked, but somehow makes the playoffs. Byron Nelson has to make major strides in its second year in 6A. Timber Creek has to find a way to get an early upset to make people pay attention.
District 7-6A rankings: Carroll and Colleyville Heritage are projected to finish as the two Division II playoff teams. The Top 4 order is Euless Trinity, Carroll, Coppell and Colleyville Heritage.
Reaction: In terms of the playoff teams, this is a repeat from 2014. Hurst L.D. Bell had a rough 2014 and lost head coach Mark Smith to SMU. Haltom and Richland have to pick off one of the top four to make the playoffs. Although Trinity has a new coach in Chris Jensen, the Trojans probably get the district championship nod because they play host to Carroll, which features the district’s offensive MVP in running back Lil’Jordan Humphrey. Despite all of its coaching turnover, there is enough talent at Colleyville Heritage for Joe Willis to work with and keep the Panthers’ playoff streak going.
District 6-5A rankings: Grapevine is projected to make the playoffs in the Division I bracket. The Top 4 is Lake Dallas, Birdville, Fort Worth Dunbar and Grapevine.
Reaction: The second year under Randy Jackson at Grapevine should see a rise in the win total. The amount of talent in the program is better. Plus, there is experience. This isn’t about making the playoffs. This is about producing a winning record and trying to make a playoff run, depending on if the Mustangs get the right matchups.
As a reminder, the first day of conditioning for teams that did not have spring football is Aug. 3. That applies to the area’s newest school, Northwest R.V. Eaton. Eaton is beginning as a sub-varsity program this fall. The other nine schools have their first day of conditioning on Aug. 10.
Even the best of us make mistakes. In last week’s column, we reported that new Grapevine baseball coach Steve Hutcherson was taking his first head coaching assignment. That was incorrect. Hutcherson has served as a head coach at other schools for six seasons.