The 4A classification is packed with good 806 teams in 2016, but will any of the teams from West Texas make a run at the title? Or better yet, will they make it out of the Regional Round? We have some potential teams that can go a long way but it will depend on health, luck, and catching a good break every once in a while. Here is my top five teams that have a chance to really make some noise in 2016.
#1. PERRYTON RANGERS
District 1-4A DII
The Rangers already went to the third round last year, and that included a fox sports game of the week in the second round where they crushed Anna, 57-35. They lost 46-0 to Celina in the Regional Round, but with all due respect, only a few teams around Texas could actually play with them. In 2016, the Rangers have 17 starters back and arguably the best receiver in that district in Dalton Rigdon; the receiver who caught eleven touchdowns in 2015. Xavier Rivera will lead another strong defensive front seven as well for the “rangernation”. Hadley Allred will lead at the quarterback position and should have an outstanding year. All things considered, these guys should be right back in the third round, maybe against Celina again too.
#2 LEVELLAND LOBOS
DISTRICT: 1-4A DI
The Lobos come into 2016 with a vigorous mindset; a mindset to get further than the Regional Round where they lost pretty handily to Wylie last year. Nick Gerber, the best dual-threat quarterback in West Texas, is back for his Senior year and ready to make history just like last fall when they advanced to the Regional Round for the first time in 50+ years. Qualin Miller and his 1,000 yards return, and Jeffry Elliot with his 88 receptions, 1,300+ yards and 16 touchdowns is back at receiver for what was an already dangerous offense ran by Coach Norman and Sanderson. They will have a district deciding game against Pampa for 1-4A DI on November 4th, and then set themselves on their path to destiny. It will be a good year for the Lobos and their defense, as they return all-state defensive lineman, Braden Price.
#3. BROWNFIELD CUBS
DISTRICT 1-4A DII
The Cubs.. The ultimate unknown for 2016. I can’t get a good read off the team. They could easily go all the way, or the Cubs could easily lose in the bi-district round again. The highlight player is Jaelyn Nolan; who holds six Division One offers so far as an athlete/quarterback. But, the surprise player that could have a deadly impact for Brownfield this fall is Darius Kyle at the linebacker/tight end position. 6’6″ and 220 pounds, he has the measurables to go play big time college ball and this year will dictate a large sum of that consideration. Jezrell Griffin is also a tall, tough wide receiver and will make a severe impact as well on offense and defense for Coach Welps. Can Isiah Hood, Dakota Oliver, and others step up and play championship ball for Brownfield?
#4. PAMPA HARVESTERS
DISTRICT: 1-4A DI
Pampa, the pride of Harvester land, is ready to roll this season and come equipped to make a serious run in 4A DI. Jayson Thomas averaged 25 yards a catch last year and was all-district first team at the wide receiver spot with 1,222 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. Brendon Woelfle also had 738 yards and twelve touchdowns to aid the aerial assault for Pampa. Defensively, Bradey Porter and Derek Norris complete a hard-nosed back-end of the defense that will lay some licks on defenders and cause some turnovers in the process. Coach Greg Poynor knows he has what it takes, but will depth be an issue this year for Pampa? If not, they can win the 1-4A district again this fall.
#5 BUSHLAND FALCONS
DISTRICT: 1-4A DII
Coach Jimmy Thomas only has eight returning starters this fall for the Falcons but that shouldn’t stop Bushland from fielding a competitive team in district 1-4A DII. Colton Moore will be the quarterback for this year’s edition of the Falcons, and Bostyn Andrews returns in the backfield as well as Gage Climer at receiver. They all will be guarded by a hell of an offensive lineman in Erik Smith, who is 6’3″, 260, and runs a 5.1 40-yard dash! Will all that be enough to replace players like Kameron Smith and Kyle Love who put up gargantuan numbers last fall for Bushland?