TPI 3A-Under State Tournament Team Capsules

We take a look at all 32 teams entered in the Small School State Tournament and give you who to watch and which teams are going to make the most noise this weekend at Texas A&M!!

West Orange Stark Mustangs

Qualified: Rice

Pre-Tournament Rank: 1

About the Mustangs: The Mustangs enter the first ever 3A-Under State Tournament as a favorite, after qualifying for the State Tournament with the big schools last year WOS showed they can compete with anyone. WOS features some of the best athletes in the entire tournament and they have speed to burn, RB DePauldrick Garrett is the big name who is fully capable of making plays in a 7 on 7 format. QB Ortavious Hypolite has progressed steadily over the summer as a passer and should continue his maturation process and could lead the Mustangs to a title.

Celina Bobcats

Qualified: Midwestern State

Pre-Tournament Rank: 2

About the Bobcats: Celina two years ago made a deep run against some of the big schools at the State Tournament before being eliminated in the Round of 16. Celina isn't used to losing in anything and that includes 7 on 7 where they are considered the top small school team in DFW. DB D'Anton Lynn is the headliner and he first made his mark at the 2005 State Tournament, he'll be a threat on both sides of the ball. QB Seth Davis is savvy and even though Celina won't overwhelm with athletes they execute flawlessly and are extremely patient. That combination will make CHS a tough out for anyone this weekend.

Diboll Lumberjacks

Qualified: Rice

Pre-Tournament Rank: 3

About the Lumberjacks: If there is one team who has the ability to stay with the athletes of West Orange-Stark it's Diboll. Man for man DHS can match up athletically with anyone, in fact the Lumberjacks showed just how close they are to the top of the field as they fell to WOS 33-32 in the championship game of the Rice SQT. RB/DB Ketarus Stanton is the ‘Jacks top player on both sides of the ball and is capable of doing some major damage. QB Kyle Prescott has come along better than anyone associated with Diboll would have expected and his play will go a long way in deciding the Lumberjacks fate this weekend.

Marlin Bulldogs

Qualified: Rice

Pre-Tournament Rank: 4

About the Bulldogs:Class 2A Marlin two years ago made their mark in Aggieland by advancing to the Round of 16, the Bulldogs are 7 on 7 veterans and they have some big time athletes including RB Travis Miller. QB Charles Hitchens developed in 2006 as a serviceable passer and besides Miller he's got RB Antonio Moore and WR Lee Diles to make plays. Marlin's athletes will make them a dangerous team for the entire tournament, but inconsistent play was a thorn in their side at Rice and unless they can get past that I think it'll be their undoing Friday.

Canton Eagles

Qualified: Tyler JC

Pre-Tournament Rank: 5

About the Eagles: Canton has advanced to the last two State Tournaments and with the advent of the 3A-Under Division they have emerged as a favorite after an impressive 5-0 performance at the Tyler JC SQT. QB Casey Bell leads the CHS offense and he's developed as a savvy leader who just doesn't make bad throws. RB Zach Cummings and DB Cody Yarborough are other top players for the Eagles, who will make a run but a lack of athleticism may hurt CHS in the later rounds of the tournament.

Bandera Bulldogs

Qualified: Cuero

Pre-Tournament Rank: 6

About the Bulldogs: Bandera much like #4 ranked Canton is making their third straight trip to Aggieland, the Bulldogs now with the 3A-Under Division have to be considered among the elite teams. Bandera qualified by winning the SQT at Cuero HS after failing to qualify at Rice University. Bandera is very similar to Canton as the Bulldogs are extremely efficient on offense and they are 7 on savvy, however they don't have the athletes some of the other top teams in the tournament and that may wind up being their undoing.

Rockdale Tigers

Qualified: Texas State

Pre-Tournament Rank: 7

About the Tigers: RHS returns to the State Tournament after a one year hiatus, the Tigers did qualify in 2005 and they have solid pedigree in 7 on 7 play. The headliner is RB Kortlin White, who has a great combination of size and speed. QB Mark Drake continues to impress this summer utilizing all of his weapons, on the defensive side of the ball the top player is DB Derek Evans. RHS finished 3rd at the Texas State SQT, but last week at their final tuneup they had an impressive 3-0 record and with their experience on the big stage they will be a threat.

Graham Steers

Qualified: Midwestern State

Pre-Tournament Rank: 8

About the Steers:Graham first made their mark on the state 7 on 7 scene by knocking off Stephenville to win the Granbury SQT last year and the Steers had a good showing at the State Tournament as well. The Steers have the highest profile coach in the State Tournament as University of Texas QB Colt McCoy coaches the Steers, his little brother Case McCoy was thrown into the fire as a freshman last year and he passed the test with flying colors. McCoy alone at QB should make the Steers a legitimate threat at A&M.

Glen Rose Tigers

Qualified: Arlington Bowie

Pre-Tournament Rank: 9

About the Tigers: Glen Rose is a team to keep an eye on, the Tigers have fared quite well in competition against some of the bigger schools in DFW. In fact in league play Glen Rose has played perennial 7 on 7 power Stephenville tough several times. GRHS is led by QB Derek Thompson who is a bit underrated but he's got a big time arm, his favorite target is speedy WR Hunter Harris. Glen Rose qualified for the State Tournament by winning the SQT at Arlington Bowie High School.

Gonzales Apaches

Qualified: Texas State

Pre-Tournament Rank: 10

About the Apaches:GHS rolled through the competition at the Texas State SQT and with a load of skill talent the Apaches are a definite sleeper team. It starts with QB Jacob Bird who leads the Apaches offense, he's got several capable skill players to get the ball to. RB/DB Rockeem Collins is a key player on both sides of the ball, RB Ryan Russell and WR Landon Bozka are also key weapons. Because the Apaches are from South Texas many may overlook them but that would be a big mistake.

Madisonville Mustangs

Qualified: Sam Houston State

Pre-Tournament Rank: 11

About the Mustangs:MHS has shown to be a competitive 7 on 7 team all summer, as in a SQT with the 5A-4A schools Madisonville more than held their own. Madisonville qualified for the state tourney by winning their pool Saturday. The Mustangs are close to home and that'll give them maybe somewhat of an advantage. Everyone will watch RB Chris Whaley who is an absolute beast, but his brother LB Alonzo Whaley isn't bad either. QB Kyle Morgan and WR Brock Taylor are the other top offensive players.

Elysian Fields Yellow Jackets

Qualified: Tyler JC

Pre-Tournament Rank: 12

About the Yellow Jackets:EFHS has the one trump card you need at the State Tournament and that's a big time QB, a hot QB can take you a long way in 7 on 7 and Tim Curry is the best QB in the 3A-Under Division. RB Dekivius Johnson and TE Antonio Brown are two of the top offensive weapons that Curry will look to, while on the defensive side of the ball CB Micah Smith at 6'3 has excellent height and can cover some ground. The Yellow Jackets are not a team to be taken lightly although a lack of depth may be a concern.

Pilot Point Bearcats

Qualified: Arlington Bowie

Pre-Tournament Rank: 13

About the Bearcats:Pilot Point is making their first ever trip to the State Tournament after qualifying with 3 other DFW 3A schools at the Arlington Bowie SQT. RB/DB Cooper Guthrie is the top player for the Bearcats who feature some solid young talent. Overall PPHS doesn't have anyone on paper that will blow you away but across the board they are solid and execute very well. They won't be an easy out for anyone on Friday. However with their youth it wouldn't be a total shock if they were knocked out on Thursday.

Athens Hornets

Qualified: Tyler JC

Pre-Tournament Rank: 14

About the Hornets: Athens has developed into a solid 7 on 7 team, the Hornets nearly qualified last year for the State Tournament but fell just short. Athens played Canton tough this year in the finals of the Tyler JC SQT and they have a solid group of athletes. The headliner for AHS is RB/DB Dhe'Ryan Jackson who simply makes plays, other weapons for the Hornets are RB Dexter Warfield and WR Carrington Floyd. QB Chase Knighton has stepped in and done a solid job at QB, the other top defender for AHS is CB Neagle Miller.

Pleasanton Eagles

Qualified: Texas State

Pre-Tournament Rank: 15

About the Eagles: Pleasanton is another team making their debut in the State Tournament this year as PHS has taken advantage of the opportunity given by having a 3A-Under Division. The Eagles finished as runner up to Gonzales in the Texas State SQT. The Eagles are led by QB Nike Salinas who had a big 2006 when he lead the Eagles on a deep playoff run, his top weapons are RB/DB Ray Baca and WR/DB Robert Benavides. The Eagles don't have a ton of speed so they'll rely on execution and the play of Salinas this weekend.

Aransas Pass Panthers

Qualified: Cuero

Pre-Tournament Rank: 16

About the Panthers:AP was a bit of a surprise by qualifying at the Cuero SQT upsetting some favored teams. The Panthers have some good skill talent which translates well to 7 on 7 despite their struggles in the fall last year. QB Jarrod Newman has good size and has a big arm and he's got some weapons at his disposal in 6'4 WR Nick Foreman and speedy WR/DB R.J. Hernandez who has been timed in the forty at 4.4. Another solid WR/DB is Tim Robles who is also the backup QB, Look for the Panthers to possibly make it to Friday action.

Lake Worth Bullfrogs

Qualified: Arlington Bowie

Pre-Tournament Rank: 17

About the Bullfrogs:Lake Worth is making their first trip to Texas A&M since 1999 when the Bullfrogs finished as the State Runner-up in the tournament's second year. LWHS doesn't run the spread offense like they did back then but the ‘Frogs have some talent. RB DeAndre Davis is a threat in the passing game along with WR Greg Kelly and TE Matt Harmon. DB Edgar Chavez is the top defender in the secondary and he's able to cover a lot of ground with his good speed and rangy build. The Bullfrogs qualified by advancing to the semi-finals at the Arlington Bowie SQT.

Navasota Rattlers

Qualified: Sam Houston State

Pre-Tournament Rank: 18

About the Rattlers:Navasota qualified on their homefield on Saturday as the Sam Houston State SQT was moved to NHS due to the heavy rains. The Rattlers took advantage by winning their pool, they have some great athletes led by RB Dexter Pratt and WR's Tre Mock and Brandal Jackson. QB Jacolby Stokes is talented but he's erratic at times also. NHS doesn't have the 7 on 7 pedigree of some of the top teams in the tournament but they do have the talent. In a one game setting the Rattlers are dangerous but the chance of losing to a less talented team also looms over the Rattlers who will have the advantage of playing close to home.

Normangee Panthers

Qualified: Rice

Pre-Tournament Rank: 19

About the Panthers: Despite being a Class 1A school, Normangee is not a team to be overlooked. NHS brings back a wealth of talent at the skill positions and they won't have too big of an issue with depth which is a surprise considering they are 1A. QB Justin Mullinax and his twin brother RB Jordan Mullinax are the top weapons on offense and in a pinch will contribute on the defensive side of the ball also. WR/DB Chandrick Evans is the main deep threat, the Panthers are a sleeper team.

Crane Golden Cranes

Qualified: West Texas A&M

Pre-Tournament Rank: 20

About the Golden Cranes: Crane is one of only two teams who will make the long trip out from West Texas for the State Tournament on the 3A-Under side. Crane has a ton of experience on both sides of the ball, led by WR/DB Chris Aguilar and QB Lloyd Chisum. The Golden Cranes will execute their offense and score some points however their overall lack of speed will hurt them on the defensive side of the ball as I can't see them getting enough stops to make any noise.

Melissa Cardinals

Qualified: Midwestern State

Pre-Tournament Rank: 21

About the Cardinals:Melissa came within a game of qualifying for the State Tournament a year ago, but this year the Cardinals make their debut at Texas A&M. MHS has been around less than 5 years but they've already developed a solid program as evidenced by their great season in the fall. They are led by QB Zach Williams and WR Charlie Cottrell, the Cardinals will be a tough out and may even be seeded a little low. If Melissa is taken lightly they'll sneak up on some teams this weekend!

Mabank Panthers

Qualified: Tyler JC

Pre-Tournament Rank: 22

About the Panthers: Mabank who qualified for the 2005 State Tournament was expected to qualify with relative ease for the 3A-Under State Tournament this year. Mabank however failed to make it out of pool play at Arlington Bowie and then they just barely got out of pool play before being drilled by Canton in the semi-finals of the Tyler JC SQT. QB Kolton Browning is a solid QB but apparently he doesn't have the weapons he needs to be a productive QB during 7 on 7 play. Mabank will be happy to just advance to Friday's action.

Lindsay Knights

Qualified: Midwestern State

Pre-Tournament Rank: 23

About the Knights: Class 1A Lindsay was a surprise qualifier at the Midwestern State SQT back on June 9, the Knights are led by QB Keith Hermes who is one of the more experience players on a fairly young team. LHS will have trouble matching up with the faster teams in the tournament and there is a lack of depth. I think winning a game in the State Tournament will be an achievement for a team who on paper looks overmatched.

Bridgeport Bulls

Qualified: Arlington Bowie

Pre-Tournament Rank: 24

About the Bulls: Bridgeport has long spread it out and thrown the ball all over the yard so 7 on 7 is nothing new to them. The Bulls will be able to score points on teams as they have a solid group of WR's led by James Kilpatrick Dustin Krebs and RB Aaron Holt. QB Cameron Green has improved as the summer has progressed and his play will determine if the Bulls can pull an upset or two and advance to Friday. The Achilles heel for the Bulls has long been a lack of speed on defense and that will be their undoing.

Hitchcock Bulldogs

Qualified: Sam Houston State

Pre-Tournament Rank: 25

About the Bulldogs: HHS qualified on the final weekend of SQT play by winning their pool at the Sam Houston State SQT. The Bulldogs are very athletic and can't be overlooked despite the low ranking. WR/DB Anthony McClain is a potential Division 1 recruit and could be a player who earns himself a scholarship with a big performance this weekend. HHS has some other strong WR's in Bradley Williams, Jordan Turner and Michael Sam. Hitchcock is a definite sleeper from the lower end of the rankings and they may be best equipped from this end of the rankings to pull an upset or two.

West Trojans

Qualified: Sam Houston State

Pre-Tournament Rank: 26

About the Trojans: West this year has made their first foray into SQT play and it paid off as they qualified Saturday after failing to advance out of pool play at the Arlington Bowie SQT. The Trojans are led by their top player QB/DB Jarred Harris. Harris has several solid options to throw the ball to but no real game breakers. Look for West to use the short passing game to move the ball but on the defensive side of the ball they may struggle.

LaVilla Cardinals

Qualified:Cuero

Pre-Tournament Rank: 27

About the Cardinals: LaVilla makes their first ever State Tournament appearance as they'll make the long trip up from the Valley. The Cardinals last year almost qualified for state with the big schools before being ousted in the semi-finals at the McAllen SQT. QB J.D. Cisneros leads the offense but he's got a lot of young skill players around him, on defense the top player is Rocky Rodriguez. LaVilla is a nice story but having to go against some of the deeper and faster teams will hurt the Class 1A Cardinals.

Palacios Sharks

Qualified:Cuero

Pre-Tournament Rank: 28

About the Sharks: Palacios is actually poised for a big season with a ton of experience and some big time players most notably LB Aaron Buckley. Qualifying for the State Tournament only enhances the optimism for a team who hasn't made the playoffs since 1964! PHS also some has some strong offensive talent in RB Henry Solis and WR/DB Russell Laws. Although, the Sharks likely won't be able to advance to play on Friday just making the State Tournament is a big confidence booster.

New Waverley Bulldogs

Qualified:Sam Houston State

Pre-Tournament Rank: 29

About the Bulldogs:New Waverly won a second chance qualifying game at the Sam Houston State SQT by one point to just advance to the State Tournament for the first time in school history. The Bulldogs have some speed to burn at RB with Jarvice Sykes and Tyren Watts along with WR Joseph Carrington. QB John Malak who moves to the position from WR last year is still learning but his progress has to be helped with the extra experience. NWHS athletically can match up but their lack of 7 on 7 experience will bite them against the top teams who know all the in's and out's.

Hardin Hornets

Qualified:Sam Houston State

Pre-Tournament Rank: 30

About the Hornets:The Hornets were the last team to qualify as late Saturday they defeated Houston 2nd Baptist 28-14 to clinch the final spot in the State Tournament. One of only 2 teams representing the Golden Triangle in the 3A-Under Division. HHS doesn't have much big name skill talent, but they do have a solid core of young players who will benefit greatly from the experience of qualifying for the State Tournament.

Harper Longhorns

Qualified:Texas State

Pre-Tournament Rank: 31

About the Longhorns: Class 1A Harper is another surprise guest to the State Tournament, the ‘Horns who are making their first trip to the big show are led by a defensive player. DB Sammy Winters has a nose for the ball like no other as he is an INT machine. QB Cutter Bernhard has a couple of solid weapons at WR in Colin Lee and Codie White. HHS won't make much noise but the experience is something that will help them greatly in the 2007 season.

Sundown Roughnecks

Qualified:West Texas A&M

Pre-Tournament Rank: 32

About the Roughnecks: Sundown wins the award for the longest trip as they'll travel 522 miles to College Station. The Roughnecks are led by speedy WR Tommy Serna and WR/DB Ryan Waygood, but it would be a huge achievement for the Roughnecks if they can escape Texas A&M with a single win.


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