By Tony Adams
Anything and everything has its “national” day nowadays. If a pecan praline has its own national holiday, why can’t Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Fall Preview Guide have its own holiday?
Texas’ annual lexicon of logic, predictions and foresight hit the shelves last week. The 56th annual edition features Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Patrick Mahomes on the cover, while Austin Westlake head coach Todd Dodge and highly touted Chaparrals’ quarterback Sam Ehlinger on the foldout. It was a recreation of the 1963 edition, which featured the late Texas head coach Darrell K. Royal and former Longhorn quarterback Scott Appleton.
The guide featured previews of all things Texas football: the NFL, NCAA Division I, II and III, junior college, small college and high school.
Plenty of Belton love is shown in the guide, as the Tigers make their biennial move to Region I for the 2016 and 2017 Texas University Interscholastic League Class 6A football seasons.
The 2016 season is the chief focus of the “Bible of Texas Football” and the prediction from DCTF is the Tigers finishing second in District 8-6A. The Waco Midway Panthers, with new head coach Jeff Hulme at the helm, are predicted to finish in the top spot. Copperas Cove is predicted to finish third, followed by Killeen Shoemaker, Killeen Ellison, Harker Heights and Killeen.
The enrollment numbers have Belton as the top enrollment count in the district, reporting 3,197. Ellison is the highest Killeen ISD enrollment with a count of 2,842. Harker Heights came in with an enrollment of 2,557. Killeen reported an enrollment of 2,485. Shoemaker reported enrollment of 2,434.5. Midway reported enrollment of 2,410.5 and Copperas Cove reported enrollment of 2,230.5.
To eliminate confusion, San Angelo Central (reporting in at 2,862.5 enrolled) will not be in District 8-6A for football or volleyball. They play in District 2-6A in football; a district consisting of Amarillo Tascosa, Odessa High, Odessa Permian, Midland High, Midland Lee and Wolfforth Frenship. SAC is projected to finish first in that district.
Peyton Mansell was named the 2016 District 8-6A Preseason Offensive Most Valuable Player in the guide and Midway’s Leondre Robinson was named the Defensive MVP.
Quarterback Mansell, running back Davion Peoples, safety Garrison Vaughn, offensive lineman (converted to defensive lineman) Javon Chambers and linebacker John Harvey were listed as players to watch. Defensive end Logan Hall and backup quarterback Cameron Davis were named top juniors. Tight end Remington Lutz, linebacker Alex Aaron, safety Hunter Garrett, and offensive guard Jerrod Jackson were also named as prospects to watch.
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor are projected to finish in the top spot in the American Southwest Conference by DCTF and advises readers to circle Oct. 22 on your calendar. That is the day that Hardin-Simmons comes to Crusader Stadium for the regular season rematch, following the Cowboys’ last second 29-26 upset of The Cru, snapping UMHB’s 60-game regular season winning streak. HSU is projected to finish second, followed by Louisiana College, East Texas Baptist, McMurry, Sul Ross State, Belhaven and Howard Payne.
Defensive end Teidrick Smith (UMHB and ASC career sacks leader) is named as one of the top five players in the ASC to watch, along with fellow Crusader Broderick Jenkins at offensive guard, quarterback Easton Melancon from Lousiana College, defensive back Ryan Williams at McMurry and punter/kicker Nico Francino at Hardin-Simmons.