As is the case in many communities across the state this week, folks in Hood County are discussing high school football.
That’s what happens when “Dave Campbell’s Texas Football” hits stands.
Just like Christmas, Thanksgiving and the opening day of any hunting season, for many the release of the “Bible of Texas football” is more anticipated than the next episode of “Duck Dynasty.”
It’s been rumored some folks can remember “Dave Campbell’s” release date better than they can their own wedding anniversary. Not me, of course, as I know very well that my anniversary is two days after Thanksgiving every year (my wife never sees the humor in that joke).
The all-consuming question for each high school fan is, “Where is my team picked to finish in district?” And once they get their hands on a copy, the breeze from everyone zipping through the pages to their team could cool off a field full of cows in mid-August.
Locally, fans of three of the four teams we call our own saw good news. The Tolar Rattlers, North Central Texas Academy Pioneers and Cornerstone Crusaders are expected to return to the playoffs in their respective classifications.
Tolar is Class 2A Division I, North Central Texas is in TAPPS Six-Man Division III, and Cornerstone is TCAF Six-Man Divison II.
Granbury Pirate fans, to their dismay, learned that the famous publication has them predicted sixth in District 8-5A. If this is true, a streak of four consecutive bidistrict appearances will come to an end.
By the way, this prediction is not an insult, as I’ve already had someone suggest to me.
“That Dave Campbell never picks us to do anything!” the infuriated Pirate fan said.
“We’re going to be better than he thinks.”
ONE TOUGH LEAGUE
The Pirates might indeed be better than the magazine suggests, but in this district that might be hard to detect.
District 8-5A is also home to defending state champion Aledo, the only team in history to score 1,000 points. The Bearcats enter the season as the state’s No. 1 team, favored to win their first 5A state title to go with one in 3A and four in 4A.
It also houses Crowley and Everman, perennial powers that advanced two rounds in the postseason last year. Burleson is also in the field, coached by a former Aledo assistant.
And longtime rival Cleburne would have reached the postseason in just about any other district last year.
Talk about going from one extreme to the other. The cakewalk that was District 7-4A has been replaced with a field of land mines.
Also, “Dave Campbell’s” apparently hadn’t gotten word of quarterback Ryan Suitt’s intent to transfer to All Saints before publishing.
The Pirates will also be taking the field with a few new assistant coaches, including a new defensive coordinator as B.J. Carlton has left the program to focus on teaching.
But hey, without challenges in life, what would we all be? Kardashians?
Tolar head coach Mike Franklin has the right idea.
Upon learning his team was picked behind state powers Hico (No. 4) and Goldthwaite (No. 9), he said, “Nobody expects anything out of us. That’ll be our rallying cry.”
Hopefully, the Pirates have adopted the same motto. Make it a quest to prove those folks at “Dave Campbell’s” wrong like you did just two years ago when they had you picked fifth and you finished third.
While Suitt appears gone, and all-everything wide receiver Nick Doughty has long since transferred schools, many of the elements that helped the Pirates reach the postseason a year ago are back. Some important items have been removed, but the proverbial cupboard is far from bare.
How nice would it be if the Pirates surprised those at “Dave Campbell’s” and elsewhere and made a run at the playoffs?
It’s always fun when every team the Hood County News covers reaches the postseason, as has been the case in recent years.
That would be something to look forward to.
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