Under the Microscope: 5A DII District 8
Cover Photo via @CorsicanaFB on Twitter
We are wrapping up our coverage of 5A DII today with district 8! This district is made up of schools out east and should be one to keep an eye on. It has largely remained the same, though Crandall did move in after spending last year in 4A. Let’s take a look at how the district might shake out.
In 2019, former Southlake Carroll head coach Hal Wasson took over at Corsicana and led the Tigers to a 7-4 record in his first season at the helm. Corsicana fell to Denton Braswell in the playoffs but posted a sparkling 4-2 record against teams in its new district. Those two losses came against Ennis and Royse City, who both figure to be in the playoff hunt again as well. Anthony Young will be a catalyst on offense for the Tigers, who also return talent at wide receiver and in the secondary. I expect Corsicana to contend for a playoff spot in this district once again in 2020.
Crandall got its man! Former McKinney North offensive coordinator Kyle Hardin is the new captain of the Pirate Ship. He will be tasked with helping Crandall adjust to 5A competition after coming over from a 5A school. The Pirates are moving up from 4A DI to play in 5A DII. Crandall lost to eventual state champion Carthage and finished last season with a 10-3 record. There’s plenty to build on but also plenty to adjust to for the Pirates in 2020.
Ennis capped off an impressive 2019 season with a 12-2 record and a sparkling 6-0 record against teams in its new district. Ennis also lost to an eventual state champion, giving Aledo all it could handle. The Lions have a tradition of playing into December and will likely continue that tradition with plenty of returning talent. The Lions return wide out Laylon Spencer and talent along the offensive line. They're led up front by Dorion Strawn who will help protect quarterback Collin Drake. With so much returning talent from a team that pushed one of the best in the state to its breaking point in the playoffs, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ennis take the district championship in 2020.
Forney struggled last season, going just 2-8 and finishing 0-6 against teams in its new district. There is a foundation for the Jackrabbits to build on though. Returning senior leadership at skill positions on offense should be a strength, as well as talent returning in the front seven on defense.
North Forney Falcons
North Forney missed out on the playoffs last season despite a 7-3 record. The Falcons tied Greenville for the last playoff spot but lost to Greenville in district play. With that being said, North Forney should have playoff aspirations in 2020 with talent returning all over the field. Michigan State commit Kameron Allen returns at tight end while running back Ty Smith and quarterback Landon Heath should make an impact as well. The defense has plenty of returning talent in the front seven and in the secondary. Watch out for North Forney this fall.
Greenville finished 6-5 in 2019 and won a tiebreaker with North Forney for the final playoff spot. The Lions reward was a first-round date with a strong Frisco squad. Greenville returns highly recruited receiver Caleb Johnson and the Lions will need Johnson to have a big year if they want to make the playoffs again in 2020.
Royse City Bulldogs
Royse City capped off its 2019 season with a 9-3 record and a playoff win. The Bulldogs bowed out of the playoffs in the second-round against Aledo and have the returning talent to build on that playoff run in 2020. Three-star wide out Ketron Jackson is being recruited by more than a handful of schools and will be depended on heavily this season. Royse City has talent returning along the offensive line and at running back as well. I expect the Bulldogs to make the playoffs in 2020.
Sulphur Springs Wildcats
Sulphur Springs took a step back after a 6-4 record in 2018. The Wildcats finished just 1-9 in 2019 and were on the wrong end of several close losses. The Wildcats had a younger and inexperienced squad in 2019 and will look to flip the script in 2020 behind a more experienced group of players.
Team to Watch
My team to watch is the Crandall Pirates. I am interested to see how Crandall adjusts to playing against 5A competition and a whole slate of teams it hasn’t recently faced. I am also interested to see how coach Hardin adjusts going from offensive coordinator to head coach. I believe coach Hardin and the Pirates will have a good season and will make a run at a playoff spot.
Player to Watch
My player to watch is North Forney tight end Kameron Allen. The Michigan State commit will have a target on his back for being known as one of the better receivers in the district. I mentioned above that he will need to have a big season for North Forney to get into the playoffs. We'll be keeping a close eye on Allen and North Forney this fall.