If Dave Campbell’s Texas Football has it right, the 2009 high school football season will be a matter of feast or famine in Hays County, depending on which team one supports.
The preseason magazine, the summer release of which is something of a Texas tradition, picks Hays and Wimberley to win their districts. But it also picks San Marcos and Lehman to finish last in their districts. About Dripping Springs, the magazine has something of a deflating view, placing the Tigers out of the playoffs. The magazine doesn’t make private school district predictions, though the information about San Marcos Baptist Academy indicates that the Bears should improve.
By far, the local team with the most to anticipate, according to Texas Football, is Wimberley, ranked fifth statewide in the magazine’s preseason predictions for Class 3A. Despite a 5-5 finish last year, the editors are very high on the Texans largely due to the return of sophomore running back Dennis Smith, who carried for 1,275 yards as a freshman.
It certainly doesn’t hurt the Texans that Liberty Hill is in for a “re-loading” year. After winning state titles in 2006 and 2007, then finishing last year 14-1 with an appearance in the state semifinals, the Panthers return only one offensive starter and three defensive starters. Meanwhile, the Texans bring back seven starters on offense and eight on defense.
The magazine predicts Wimberley to win Region 8-3A, immediately followed by Liberty Hill. Both would go to the Division II playoffs. Third-place pick Burnet would be the district’s Division I representative.
The other local district winner in the magazine’s estimation is Hays, which blasted through a mediocre District 17-4A unbeaten last year and very well could repeat that performance in 2009. The Rebels won their first outright district championship in ten years last season before losing their first-round playoff game to Magnolia, 26-14.
The Rebels, who have opened up their offense in the last several seasons, figure to be as run-oriented as ever, for at least a little while, after learning this week that quarterback Sam Breyfogle will miss at least the opener after having his appendix removed.
The other Hays CISD high school, Lehman, is picked by Texas Football to finish last in District 17-4A. The Lobos have never won a district football game in three years of varsity history. However, they’ve got a 19-member senior class this time after going with only six seniors last season. The magazine does not account for the arrival of running back Richard Porsche, a junior transfer from Cibolo Steele.
Texas Football also picks San Marcos to finish last in District 27-4A, where the Rattlers lost all seven of their contests last season. In the magazine, head coach Steve Van Nest notes that this year’s group “will be a much faster team.” Van Nest said Wednesday morning that his team is ahead of last year’s in the learning curve at this point in the preseason.
Dripping Springs is coming back minus 28 seniors, which is the main reason the magazine picks the Tigers to finish fifth and out of the playoff running in District 25-4A. The Tigers return only eight starters, but that includes the dual quarterback rotation of Jacob Moore and Jeff Tuck.
Though the magazine doesn’t give district predictions for the private schools, indications have it that San Marcos Baptist Academy could make a big move up. After finishing 0-5 in Division II District 3 last year, the Bears return with 26 letter winners, including 10 offensive starters and nine defensive starters.