PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
Division 1 Team in all caps
1. TEXARKANA TEXAS HIGH
3. Mount Pleasant
4. Sulphur Springs
5. Paris North Lamar
For the past six years Texas High has dominated the Northeast Texas 4A district however this year the gap appears to have closed some as Paris is poised to give the Tigers a strong run. T High looks to be ver talented but they are young, while Paris is led by a strong senior class but the Wildcats have to prove they can a big game as they have stumbled down the stretch the past two seasons and missed out on the playoffs. Mount Pleasant and Sulphur Springs should both be much better as both Head Coaches are entering their second years at the helm at their respective schools while North Lamar is coming off their best season in school history.
TEXARKANA TEXAS TIGERS
2006 Record: 12-1 (lost to Copperas Cove 30-27 in the Division 1 State Quarter-Finals)
Outlook:For the first time in more than 3 years Texas High won't be led by Ryan Mallett at QB, Mallett who started the Tigers loss to North Crowley in the state semi-finals back in 2003 as a freshman is now at Michigan. Sophomore QB Nathan Sorenson will now step in to the role of QB and at 6'3 185 pounds he could be the next big time QB for Coach Norton's squad. Texas High could be state title material next year as they have a very talented junior class. SS Adrian Battle is a potential Division 1 prospect and he'll likley play a key role on offense as well. Brandon Brown is another top prospect on the defensive side of the ball as he was second team all 11-4A.
2006 Record: 6-4
Outlook:This is a do or die year for Paris, the Wildcats have been talented but for whatever reason they have failed to make the playoffs as two years in a row they've lost games late in the season to miss the playoffs. On offense the Wildcats will be led by RB Courtney Hill who was second team all 11-4A who ran for over 1000 yards and 13 touchdowns. PHS is anchored by a super talented secondary with 3 Division 1 prospects. Two Texas A&M commits highlight the secondary Keon Furtch and Jordan Fields and SMU commit Ladarrius Gunn. All 3 will also be counted on to make an impact on offense as well. The Wildcats offense took a hit as OL Stephen Good who committed to Oklahoma will likley miss the season with a shoulder injury.
MOUNT PLEASANT TIGERS
2006 Record: 5-6 (lost to Whitehouse 28-10 in bi-district)
Outlook:MPHS got back to the playoffs in surprising fashion last year behind a high powered ground game that put up some big time numbers. RB/LB Tevin Elliot will be a big time force for the Tigers after earning district newcomer of the year honors. DB Trenton Hill who has committed to Tulsa is a big time force along with first team all 11-4A DB Jacolby Stewart. LB Quinten Hoskins was also first team all 11-4A as the Tigers should feature one of the top defenses in the district. Despite the offense only returning 3 starters, MP typically has strong talent and the new ground based offense seems to fit the talent at hand quite well.
SULPHUR SPRINGS WILDCATS
2006 Record: 2-8
Outlook:Second year HC Greg Owens expects major improvement from the Wildcats after struggling in 2006. SSHS did lose 30 seniors but a large number of young players saw significant time late in the season. QB Brittan Diamond will likley lead the offense, and he's also a good LB. Versatile Tyrik Rollison will be used at a number of different positions on offense as a wild card type player after splitting time with Diamond at QB last year. WR DaQualin Evans is back after earning first team all 11-4A honors and he'll be the top target for whoever plays QB full time. On defense DT Rodney Evans leads the way after earning team all loop honors. SSHS with 7 returners on defense should be much improved on that side of the ball and if the offense comes around they'll be in the playoff hunt.
PARIS NORTH LAMAR PANTHERS
2006 Record: 8-4 (lost to Lake Dallas 14-7 in area playoffs)
Outlook:After 5 consecutive playoff appearances including the first playoff win in school history PNL may take a step back. Only 13 letterman return for the Panthers and only 2 starters are back on offense and both are offensive lineman. PNL the past 2 seasons has had 2 different players run for over 2000 yards, however the Panthers could move to RB by committee this year. Elijah Rater and Josh McDonald anchor what should be a solid defensive unit with 5 starters back.
2006 Record: 7-3
Outlook:Lindale finished 7-3 last year but missed out on the playoffs by going 2-3 in 11-4A play. The Eagles may wind up with a winning record in 2007 but a weak non-district slate full of 3A schools has a lot to do with that. For Lindale to compete at the 4A level they will need an upgrade in the non-district schedule. The offense has four starters back and they'll have to replace a lot of offense with the graduation of District Tri-MVP QB Lucas Shipman. RB Traevon Ray and big 6'6 WR Jacob Holmen will be counted on to step up as a new QB is broken in. LHS has six starters back on defense led by DT DaJuan Hart who could develop into a force.
FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Keon Furth WR/DB, Sr. Paris
Trenton Hill DB, Sr. Mount Pleasant
Adrian Battle, SS/RB, Sr. Texas High
Jordan Fields, WR/DB Sr. Paris
Brittan Diamond QB, Sr. Sulphur Springs