4A DI Region II Top 25 Teams
8. Texarkana Liberty-Eylau
10. Mineral Wells
For the last two seasons, Argyle has been the cream of the crop out of region II. The team right behind them has been Kennedale, which was 25-2 the last two seasons with the only loses coming against Argyle in the playoffs. With the Eagles now out of the picture, will this propel Kennedale over the top? Liberty-Eylau, Terrell, Alvarado, Kaufman and Paris are all ranked inside the top 25, and should make this a competitive region.
Kennedale is the team to watch heading into this season. The Wildcats have an impressive 16 starters returning, and will be challenged in non-district with fellow region II rivals Terrell (14) and Alvarado (16) on the schedule. The Wildcats will have played three out of the top five teams in the region by the time the playoffs roll around. One of those teams will be district foe Mineral Wells. The Rams had one of their best seasons to date in 2015, and have seven coming back on each side of the ball to take that next step forward.
For the first time since the 2011 season, Alvarado advanced past the first round of the playoffs, falling to Kaufman in area, 15-10. The Indians may be better in 2016 with QB Kaleb Chesney (2318 yards, 29 TDs) and seven players returning on defense. Wilmer-Hutchins and Dallas Carter played a 3 OT thriller last season, and should make the other playoffs spots very competitive. Midlothian Heritage will be playing their first year of varsity football in 2016.
For a good portion of last season, the word going around East Texas was that Liberty-Eylau was the real deal and was going to be a contender in the playoffs. That was validated as the Leopards advanced all the way to the state quarterfinals before narrowly bowing out to Argyle, 32-29. Replacing QB Kemon Freeman (5,164 combined yards) will not be easy, but the supporting cast should be there. Paris was one team that challenged Liberty-Eylau and will need to also find a replacement at QB. Princeton has been better than average over the past 5 seasons, so the Panthers could be in the mix if they show improvement.
In terms of your top four teams, this could be the deepest district in the region. Terrell is new to the region and classification after a regional semifinal appearance in 5A. With half of the team returning, this should make Terrell a contender. Kaufman, Athens and Van are no slouches. Kaufman took down Terrell last season (28-12) and advanced to the third round. The Lions also won the div. II state 7-on-7 tournament in July. Van played Liberty-Eylau to a 7-point game and Athens was in the second round of the playoffs last season.