In a district that was clearly led by Pampa and Levelland last year, things don’t seem to be much different in 2016 besides Estacado changing head coaches as Marcus Shavers comes in from West Mesquite to take over the Matadors. This district comes in as one of the few, if any, that every team has already qualified for the playoffs since there are only four teams in the district. How will that affect district competition? Will Levelland head back to the 4A Regional Semifinals? Can Pampa and Borger go further than the Area round in 2016?? Here is my outlook below, with key players that return to the gridiron this fall.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: NICK GERBER-LEVELLAND LOBOS
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: BRADEN PRICE- LEVELLAND LOBOS
Predicted order of finish:
1. Levelland (3-0)
2. Pampa (2-1)
3. Estacado (1-2)
4. Borger (0-3)
17 returning starters, the best dual-threat quarterback in 4A in West Texas, and an all-state defensive end come back to a team that already made history last year by advancing to the Regional Round for the first time in 50+ years. Coach Sanderson and Norman have a very quick offense, and a steady defense that can hold their opponent down long enough to win games in the fourth quarter. Qualin Miller and Daniel Hurn will be major keys to this attack if Levelland wants to advance further in the playoffs as I see them getting back to the Regional Round; it’s up to the Lobos to figure out a way to stop Wylie who will be there waiting on them again just like last year.
Coach Poynor has another loaded team in Pampa land this fall, led by Derek Norris and Jayson Thomas. Jayson is a beast at wide receiver and will demand a double team all year. Derek is a head-hunter at safety and will be tag-teamed with Bradey Porter at the linebacker position. Bryce Parker is also back with wide receiver Brendon Woelfle to anchor a high-scoring offense. Can they hold up late? Will injuries be an issue? If not they will contend for the district title, but more importantly, go a few rounds deep in the playoffs.
Two wins and a playoff loss in the bi-district round of the playoffs last year brought about change to Estacado. In comes Marcus Shavers; a energy-laden coach with high expectations for Estacado, and very high expectations of himself as well. He has the talent on the roster with the likes of Tyrese Nathan, Roc Sanders, and D’Anta Thomas, but can they get on the same page in a hurry as brutal non-district schedule awaits them? I actually think they are about to surprise some people and they will win at least five games this season.
Coach Day and the Bulldogs are still in district 1-4A, but Seminole left…Puzzling to say the least. With that said, they made the playoffs last year and go to the Area round and gave Abilene Wylie a fight before losing the game, 31-0. Since they are already in the playoffs they will be trying their best to avoid finishing last and seeing Andrews in the bi-district round of the playoffs; which would equal a certain elimination by the Mustangs. Miguel Rangel will make some noise at the linebacker spot for the Bulldogs and may garner an all-state selection when it’s all said-and-done.