TOP GAME TO WATCH
Gilmer Vs. Liberty-Eylau
A few select small schools will open up their season on Thursday. Regardless of the day, this will be on the top matchups to watch out of East Texas for week one. The Leopards have shown improvements each of the past three years. In 2014 and 2015, Coach Wells and his team had advanced all the way to the quarterfinals before falling to Argyle. Gone is MVP Kemon Freeman, but Lagaryon Carson returns and should be one of the top defensive lineman in 4A. Nothing really changed in Coach Turner’s first year in charge of the tradition rich Gilmer program. The Buckeyes won 14 games before falling to Celina in the state semifinals. Gilmer lost some quality kids off of that team, but Gilmer is one of those schools that can reload and not rebuild.
Josh’s Pick: Gilmer by 10.
Lucas Lovejoy Vs. Argyle
This may not stand out to a ton of people as being one of those “wow” type of openers, but this should give Argyle a good early feel of where their team stands. Lovejoy, out of 15-5A, was 8-4 in 2015, and fell to Terrell by just one point in the second round of the playoffs. The Leopards should make another run at the playoffs this season. Offensively, Argyle should light up the scoreboard again in 2016 as QB Dane Ledford returns after throwing for over 2,800 yards and 29 TDs in his junior season. Ledford has been committed to Tulane as of June.
Josh’s Pick: Argyle by 9.
Lorena Vs. China Spring
There is nothing like a good ole rivalry game to start off the season. These two Waco area squads are not in the same district, but we should still see plenty of fireworks. The Leopards have always been solid, but this could be Coach Ray Biles’ most complete team he has had in awhile. You combine that with a China Spring team that could be a state title contender, and you should get an excellent ball game. Both teams are multidimensional in their attack, and it may take 35-40 points to win this one.
Josh’s Pick: China Spring by 14.
La Grange Vs. Liberty Hill
La Grange will have one of the top recruits in the state in RB J.K. Dobbins, which is committed to Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes. With 13 other players surrounding such a great talent, you would have to expect to see this Leopards team to show improvement from their 7-4 bi-district finish a year ago. Whenever you think of Liberty Hill, you think of the slot-t. The Panthers burst on to the scene back in the mid-2000s with the unstoppable groudn game. Who’s defensive front is going to come through when it counts the most?
Josh’s Pick: Liberty Hill by 3.
Giddings Vs. Navarro
We go down a little further south for our last runner-up of week one. Giddings, which is also in 10-4A with La Grange, was clearly the best team in the district a year ago. The Buffaloes only loss of the season came at the hands of Bellville, a team they had beaten earlier in non-district, in the third round of the playoffs. Navarro has been about as consistent as they come the past four seasons. The offensive line will need some retooling, but QB Will Eveld and RB Jared Leal to return in the back field. LB Jake Wight is one of the top players in 4A to watch on the defensive side of the ball.
Josh’s Pick: Giddings by 3.
Wharton Vs. Sealy - Wharton by 1
La Vernia Vs. Wimberley - Wimberley by 7
Graham Vs. Sanger - Graham by 7
Atlanta Vs. Henderson - Henderson by 1