Tuesday night, we continue our 2016 high school football Training Camp Road Trip with a look at our area Class 1A, Division 2 teams.
This is actually Texoma's busiest classification, with seven teams across four districts in Regions II and III.
The Benjamin Mustangs are ready to start their third season since restarting their football program, and they have a new head coach. James Jackson steps in after being an assistant to Jacob Navarro last year. Numbers have been an issue for the Mustangs, one of the smallest football-playing schools in Texas, but that shouldn't be an issue this year.
"Looks like we're going to be about 15, 16, so about double," Jackson said. "We did double our players."
They also can take advantage of a group of incoming freshmen who experienced success last year.
"We've got a great group of 8th graders coming up to be freshmen this year," Jackson said. "They won district last year in junior high, so we're going to have some depth this year that we didn't have last year."
They also return all of their starters, including standouts like senior spreadback Justin Rainwater.
"I'm expecting great things from him," said Jackson. "He's been in the weight room this summer. And (junior receiver) Caleb Barrientes, too. Both of them were standouts last year, they're coming back. (Senior fullback) Lincoln Strickland, too, he's been working hard this summer, and we're expecting really good things from them."
Our only all-Texoma 1A, Division 2 district is District 9, which sees powerhouse Crowell drop down from Division 1. After 3-straight state title games, with 2 wins, they're a contender in the region, and maybe beyond. They've got a good returning core, with quarterback Tristen Hayes returning for his senior season, and his younger brother Skyler a force on defense as just a sophomore. They'll be surrounded by a strong cast including diminutive-but-tough senior receiver/running back Tyler Durham.
"He may not go under the radar this year," coach Nathan Hayes said about the 5'6" Durham. "I think he kinda came out last year, into his own. He is a very special kid, he plays with a lot of heart and he does a lot of good things for us."
They'll have to replace star running back Daniel Clark, but coach Hayes says they haven't quite figured that out yet.
"It might be Javier Aguilera, probably one of them," Hayes said. "Or Evan Santos, they'll be competing for that job."
Despite their pedigree Hayes doesn't see his team as the favorite, deferring to the defending district champs from Chillicothe.
"Chillicothe's been the district champs for several years, so they're the leaders right now," Hayes said. "We've got to take them out, so hopefully we can do that."
The Eagles' coach isn't so sure about that.
"Yeah... no," responded Chillicothe coach Clint Miller when he heard about Hayes' projection. "You know, they've been to the state game in Division 1, 3 years in a row, won it 2 years. I think they're probably the clear favorite."
Coach Miller says his team really won't be about individuals this year, but we did press him to talk about senior safety Dylan Reagan, who's expected to be a force for the Eagles' defense this year -- if he can stay healthy.
"He just does his job," Miller said. "He's gonna be about 5'10", weights probably about 180 pounds. You know, he qualified for state in the high jump last year. He's a good athlete."
The rest of the district is a bit of a question mark. The Vernon Northside Indians will have a new coach, as former Frederick (Okla.) Bombers coach Brett White crosses the border to try his hand at 6-man. Meanwhile, the Harrold Hornets could have numbers problems that will make it a challenge for them this season.
But coach Miller of Chillicothe says not to overlook them.
"Coach Templeton, he just does a good job," Miller said. "He's probably not going to have many players, but they're going to be fundamentally sound. They're going to do things the right way."
Moving to District 10, the Throckmorton Greyhounds are Texoma's lone representative. Last year, in coach Brad Hall's first season they started slow, but came on late to make the playoffs.
"I think it was a little unexpected, from some people," Hall admitted. "But I think we were confident as we were going into district that we could make it happen."
They'll have to find a new starting quarterback, as last year's starter won't be back. One name to look out for is freshman Aaron Hernandez, who has a chance to win that job in camp. Whoever gets that job will be looking frequently for big senior receiver Adam Dennis.
"I mean, we're going to have to find different ways to get him the ball, definitely," Hall said. "We're going to have to be creative, because a lot of teams are going to key on him as the year goes on. But we're looking at him to kinda be our leader on both sides of the ball."
With all four teams in the district coming off of playoff appearances last year, anything could happen in District 10, 1A Division 2.
"I think Aspermont's still the top of the district," Hall said. "They're one of the stronger teams out there. Rule, they have a lot of good players coming back. Lueders-Avoca, they're always hit-or-miss. You never know what to expect from them."
Finally, the Woodson Cowboys will be going back to the future, with Richard Sullivan once again taking up the reins as head coach. He served in that position in 2012 and 2013, before teaching, coaching golf and serving as district technology director the past few years. He'll need to break in a pretty young group, with 6 letterwinners gone and just 5 returning starters in 2016.
The Cowboys will be the first Texoma team in the classification to debut this year, coming up to Wichita Falls to face Wichita Christian's JV on Thursday, August 26th.
Wednesday night on Newschannel 6 at 6, we'll preview our 5 area Class 1A, Division 1 teams.
Benjamin Mustangs 2016 Schedule
Aug. 26 at Gold-Burg, 7:30
Sept. 2 vs Wilson, 7:30
Sept. 9 vs Notre Dame, 7:30
Sept. 16 at Abilene Christian, 7:30
Sept. 23 at Wichita Christian, 7
Sept. 30 vs Harrold, 7:30
Oct. 7 vs Moran, 7:30
Oct. 14 BYE
Oct. 21 vs Guthrie, 7:30*
Oct. 28 at Jayton, 7:30*
Nov. 4 at Patton Springs, 7:30*
Chillicothe Eagles 2016 Schedule
Aug. 26 vs Fort Elliott, 7:30
Sept. 2 at Higgins, 7:30
Sept. 9 vs Saint Jo, 7:30
Sept. 16 at Wichita Christian, 7
Sept. 23 at Motley County, 7:30
Sept. 30 at Paint Creek, 7:30
Oct. 7 vs Rotan, 7:30
Oct. 14 BYE
Oct. 21 at Crowell, 7:30*
Oct. 28 vs Northside, 7:30*
Nov. 4 vs Harrold, 7:30*
Crowell Wildcats 2016 Schedule
Aug. 27 vs Guthrie at Jayton (Sat), 8
Sept. 2 vs Gordon, 7:30
Sept. 9 at Knox City, 7:30
Sept. 16 at Notre Dame, 7:30
Sept. 23 vs Happy, 7:30
Sept. 30 at Valley, 7:30
Oct. 7 BYE
Oct. 14 BYE
Oct. 21 vs Chillicothe, 7:30*
Oct. 28 at Harrold, 7:30*
Nov. 4 vs Northside, 7:30*
Harrold Hornets 2016 Schedule
Aug. 26 at Patton Springs, 7:30
Sept. 2 vs Moran, 7:30
Sept. 9 at Hedley, 7:30
Sept. 16 vs Gold-Burg, 7:30
Sept. 22 vs Knox City JV, 7:30 (Thurs)
Sept. 30 at Benjamin, 7:30
Oct. 7 vs Woodson, 7:30
Oct. 14 BYE
Oct. 21 at Northside, 7:30*
Oct. 28 vs Crowell, 7:30*
Nov. 4 at Chillicothe, 7:30*
Northside Indians 2016 Schedule
Aug. 26 at Paint Creek, 7:30
Sept. 2 at Woodson, 7:30
Sept. 9 vs Wichita Christian, 7
Sept. 16 at Saint Jo, 7:30
Sept. 23 vs Gold-Burg, 7:30
Sept. 30 vs Motley County, 7:30
Oct. 7 BYE
Oct. 14 at Lefors, 7:30
Oct. 21 vs Harrold, 7:30*
Oct. 28 at Chillicothe, 7:30*
Nov. 4 at Crowell, 7:30*
Throckmorton Greyhounds 2016 Schedule
Aug. 26 at Jayton, 8
Sept. 2 vs Gorman, 7:30
Sept. 9 at May, 7:30
Sept. 16 vs Knox City, 7:30
Sept. 23 at Newcastle, 7:30
Sept. 30 vs Saint Jo, 7:30
Oct. 7 vs Aspermont, 7:30*
Oct. 14 at Lueders-Avoca, 7:30*
Oct. 21 BYE
Oct. 28 vs Paint Creek, 7:30*
Nov. 4 at Rule, 7:30*
Woodson Cowboys 2016 Schedule
Aug. 25 at Wichita Christian JV, 7
Sept. 2 vs Northside, 7:30
Sept. 9 vs Blackwell, 7:30
Sept. 16 at Newcastle, 7:30
Sept. 23 at Bryson, 7:30
Sept. 30 vs Lueders-Avoca, 7:30
Oct. 7 at Harrold, 7:30
Oct. 14 BYE
Oct. 21 vs Moran, 7:30*
Oct. 28 vs Strawn, 7:30*
Nov. 4 at Rising Star, 7:30*
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