Predicted Order of Finish
Division 1 Teams in All Caps
2. PARIS NORTH LAMAR
4. Van Alstyne
Outlook: The two 4A drop downs from Paris highlight this district which isn't very strong. Paris has more talent than anyone in the district but they have a nasty reputation for not getting it done in crunch time, while North Lamar might not be as talented at PHS but the Panthers have gotten it done in playoff time making the area playoffs in 2006. Commerce is a solid pick for third place as none of the other three teams in the loop are equipped to challenge just yet, although give Bonham another year and they could be poised to take the next step.
Team by Team
Paris Wildcats: Since that winning the 4A State Championship in 1988, Paris High has won a total of zero playoff games. In fact Paris has only made the playoffs twice! With the drop to 3A and six starters back on both sides of the ball second year HC Travis Smith hopes to get Paris on track. On offense Paris has some work to do as the five starters who did graduate were big time performers, including OU committ Stephen Good. QB Quin Rollerson is back to lead the offense, he had an excellent junior season throwing for 7 touchdowns. His top target will be Rodarius Barr who has several Division 1 schools interested. Walter Gunn is the playmaker in the ground game after a solid junior season. The Paris defense struggled some last year, but six starters back gives the Wildcat faithful hope. DE Wesley Martin is the playmaker on defense for Paris, he's got good size and can play both the run and pass with equal effect. While LB McKinley Burkett is one of the top playmakers on defense in the Class of 2010.
Paris North Lamar Panthers: Cody Sellars is expected to be the quarterback for PNL. AJ George will be the man with the rock most of the time. When Paris North Lamar goes to the air, Hunter Berry and Harrison Murphey will be top notch receivers. The offensive line will be pretty solid led by Packer McCarthy, Matt Green and Matt Kennedy. This is a legitimate 4A offensive line and they will be able to push around a lot of the 3A teams without that type of depth. There are questions on defense as PNL lacks the size and speed to slow down good offenses, especially the kind they'll see in the postseason.
Commerce Tigers: Commerce has dropped off from a perennial 3A powerhouse to a team that barely scrapes by each season. The three teams (Varsity, JV, Freshman) had a combined record of 4-25-2 last season. best athlete at quarterback theory applies to Terrance Walker. The 6'1, 175 pound junior played defensive end, running back and wide receiver last year. The team also gets back Derek Johnson at running back who was injured. The defense will be undersized and small relative to most good 3A teams. Arin Henley will play both ways and losing Terrance Walker to the offense will hurt. Andrew Nelson is the strongest player on the team. Two sophomores are expected to help on the defense. Dominic Mandujano played 4 games as a freshman and cornerback Tequaylon Brown will be asked to contro the secondary. Hope for Commerce will lie in a very good freshman class, maybe in two more years Commerce could make a move back to contention.
Van Alstyne Panthers: Former Allen OC Brian Polk returns 10 starters to the Van Alstyne Panthers - a team that hopes to improve on its 2-8 season last year. The best player on the team is Jake Willingham. A returning starter, the kid can flat out play. He is a playmaker and likes to have the ball in his hand. Tyler Kuster is a respectable running back and will complement Shane King pretty well. The defense doesn't boast a lot of names but should be adequate. VAHS only needs to beat Commerce and Bonham to make the playoffs so they'll be a team to watch.
Bonham Purple Warriors: It was a difficult debut season for Coach John Hall with the Bonham Purple Warriors in 2007 as Bonham limped to an 0-10 campaign. The Purples have high hopes heading into 2008 as 18 letterman return and in a new district things could be on the way up. The Purple Warriors have a big time playmaker on offense in RB Myron Roundtree and their Slot T attack is tough to stop. On defense Bonham has was porous allowing over 40 points a game in 2007, however with 8 starters back look for those numbers to also improve as it honestly can't get much worse.
Anna Coyotes: you want a formula for disaster, take a bad 2A team and move them up to 3A. Things don't get much better when that happens. Anna hasn't had a great football tradition and things aren't looking good. Ian Reutelhuber will be the quarterback this season. He had a good year last season putting up big numbers at times. EJ Dixon will be the running back with Emilio Diaz and Zach Sensat touching the ball occasionally. AHS will have trouble stopping people as they don't have the size or athletes to compete.
Players to Watch
Quinn Rollerson, QB Paris
A.J. George, RB/LB Paris North Lamar
McKinley Burkett, LB Paris
Derek Johnson, LB/RB Commerce
Myron Roundtree, RB Bonham