4A DI Region III Top 25 Teams
15. El Campo
17. Huffman Hargrave
Just like region II, a total of seven teams are included in our pre-season top 25 rankings. Near the top are a familiar pair in Carthage and Navasota, The two have combined for a total of six state championships since the 2008 season. Will one of those perennial powers continue to lead the charge, or will an upstart like Stafford throw a wrench into the mix for 2016?
It may not be the "district of doom", but this East Texas district should be one to watch in 2016. Carthage turned a lot of heads last year when they bounced Navasota in the 3rd round before bowing out to La Vega in the state semifinals. What makes this district stand out is the wide range of depth as there will be no off weeks. Henderson surprisingly missed out on the playoffs in 2015, but is expected to make a strong push this season and could contend for the district title. Bullard, Center, Kilgore and Tyler Chapel Hill will all be in the mix for a playoff spot.
Navasota has been one of the top dogs in the state for quite some time now. Will this be the year that the Rattlers take a step back or will the dominance continue? New coach Patrick Goodman will have some large shoes to fill with the departure of Lee Fedora in the off-season in addition to the loss of QB Shelton Eppler (TVCC) and WR Tren'Davian Dickson (Houston). Huffman Hargrave and Silsbee are two teams that are top 25 material and could challenge the Rattlers for the district title in 2016.
With North Forest moving down a classification, there could be a new favorite in this Houston district. The Bulldogs played both Yates and Kashmere last season, and had a 108-12 scoring advantage in those two wins. After that, the rest of the playoffs spots become more gray, but Worthing, with a 7-3 record last year, should be in the mix for one of the top spots.
Based on how last season went, we should expect a battle between Stafford and El Campo for the district championship. Stafford had a breakout season in 2015, going 11-1 with an area round loss to Carthage. El Campo has been the more consistent program, but did fall to Stafford last season in an offensive struggle, 14-8. Both teams return exactly nine starters, so upcoming talent could have a big say in who wins this district. Sealy, with their rich tradition of dominance in the 90s, is a team no one ever sleeps on.