2013 Football Preview: Carthage Favored in Strong District 20-3A
District 20-3A has only five teams, but its top three teams in 2012 combined for 28 victories.
The 2013 season should be another strong campaign for 20-3A, which features league favorite Carthage, Jasper, and Center, programs that played seven playoff games last season with a cumulative postseason record of 4-3.
Carthage is ranked second (Associated Press) or first (multiple preseason publications) in Class 3A entering the year, while Jasper and Center return plenty of talent and could each play multiple playoff games this fall.
District 20-3A Preview
- Blake Bogenschutz, Sr., QB, Carthage
- DeAnthony Cuney, Sr., LB, Jasper
- Terrance Cuney, Sr., RB, Jasper
- Terrell Cuney, Sr., OL, Jasper
- Terian "Tee" Goree, Sr., WR, Carthage
- Dalton Horton, Jr., QB, Center
- Brent Loggins, Jr., QB, Huntington
- Tevin Pipkin, Sr., RB, Carthage
- B.J. Vinson, Jr., DE/LB, Diboll
- Kiounis Williams, Sr., LB, Center
- Oct. 18 -- Center at Carthage
- Oct. 25 -- Carthage at Jasper
- Nov. 8 -- Center at Jasper
1. Carthage Bulldogs
Coach: Scott Surratt
2012 finish: 11-3 (Class 3A Division I state semifinalist)
Returning starters: 10 offensive, 5 defensive
Players to watch
- QB Blake Bogenschutz, Sr., 6-1, 180 (committed to UTSA; 185 of 335, 2,870 yards, 38 TDs, 9 INTs; 2 rush TDs)
- RB/DB Tevin Pipkin, Sr., 5-10, 165 (238 carries, 1,645 yards, 13 TDs; 28 catches, 338 yards, 1 TD)
- WR/S Terian "Tee" Goree, Sr., 6-2, 170 (66 catches, 1,261 yards, 17 TDs)
- WR O'Keeron Rutherford, Sr., 6-5, 181 (43 catches, 599 yards, 8 TDs)
- RB/FS Bryian Bolton, Jr., 5-10, 175 (30 carries, 302 yards, 6 TDs; 74 tackles, 8 INTs, 7 PBUs, 1 defensive TD)
- OT Adrian Goodacre, Sr., 6-4, 315 (committed to ULL)
- OG/DL Mario McCain, Sr., 6-0, 220 (60 tackles, 19 for loss, 6 sacks, 6 forced fumbles)
- OG Griffin Bankhead, Sr., 6-2, 300
- C Cade Clinton, Sr., 6-3, 230
- OT Dillon Husar, Sr., 6-1, 240
- WR/CB Keldrean Strong, Sr., 5-11, 165 (21 tackles, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble)
- OLB D'vodney Brooks, Sr., 6-3, 205 (54 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery, 1 defensive TD)
- TE/DE Marquise Guinn, Soph., 6-4, 220
- DE Jarrod McLin, Soph., 6-3, 220
- OLB Tra Leary, Sr., 5-9, 160 (34 tackles, 10 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- MLB James Marshall, Jr., 6-0, 200
- K Jimmy Gonzalez, Sr. (5 of 7 FGs, long 42, 63 of 65 PATs)
Offense: Carthage and Tenaha are the only teams in East Texas that return 10 offensive starters. Offensive-minded head coach Scott Surratt enters his seventh year at Carthage with very high expectations for his offense after averaging 42.1 points per game during last year's trip to the Class 3A Division I state semifinals.
The skill positions are loaded with veterans, none with more experience than the backfield tandem of Blake Bogenschutz and Tevin Pipkin. Bogenschutz has a 20-7 record as Carthage's starting quarterback and is fewer than 1,500 yards and 22 touchdown passes shy of school career records in both categories. Pipkin enters his senior season fifth on Carthage's all-time rushing list and needs 1,778 rushing yards to tie Kris Briggs' school career record (5,130). Bryian Bolton, perhaps Carthage's fastest player, could see more carries this fall after flashes of stardom as a sophomore, when he was an all-region pick on defense.
Bogenschutz has his two favorite targets from last year lining up outside once again. Terian "Tee" Goree's monster junior season ranks among the top three single-season receiving performances in Carthage history, while going-on-6-foot-6 target O'Keeron Rutherford had a huge 7-on-7 summer and is primed for a big senior year.
But perhaps the most important part of Carthage's 2013 offensive equation is an offensive line that returns intact after starting 14 games together last season. Ragin' Cajun commit Adrian Goodacre and Griffin Bankhead will give Carthage what should be one of 3A's biggest left sides, while Mario McCain (guard) will start on the O-line for the fourth consecutive year.
Two names who could emerge on offense are senior receiver Keldrean Strong and 6-foot-4 sophomore Marquise Guinn, who may start the opener at tight end.
Defense: While Carthage returns virtually its entire offense, the defense is another story. Texas A&M signee Isaiah Golden is one of Carthage's five graduated front-seven defenders. Leading tackler/middle linebacker Trent Jackson and defensive tackle K'Aelin Ware are gone after each started two years for the Dawgs.
Matching last year's totals of 43 takeaways and 27 sacks won't be easy for the rebuilt Carthage defense, but there is definitely talent on the field.
McCain will be the stalwart again after playing extensively on the defensive line the last three seasons. Outside linebackers D'vodney Brooks and Tra Leary gained valuable experience during the second half of last season, and two big sophomores -- Guinn and Jarrod McLin -- should get early opportunities to lock down defensive end spots.
The secondary features three returning starters in Strong at cornerback and safeties Bolton and Goree. While this unit was the inexperienced part of last year's defense, the secondary should be Carthage's strength on this side of the ball to start 2013.
2013 Outlook: Carthage is ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press preseason 3A poll, but No. 1 by Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine and TheOldCoach.com's Friday Night Football.
Preseason hype has become the norm for Surratt and the Dawgs. They enter the season as the clear favorites in a strong District 20-3A that also features Jasper and Center, teams that could potentially play multiple playoff games this fall.
The key for Carthage will be limiting turnovers. They killed the Dawgs at the end of the season, no more so than the 29-25 state semifinal loss to El Campo, which trailed Carthage 25-14 in the fourth quarter. If Carthage limits its offensive mistakes, the firepower and experience should compensate for any early growing pains in the rebuilt front seven.
The road to the 3A Division I final four may be tougher than last year with the addition of a fourth playoff team in each district. Defending 3A Division II champion Navasota could await Carthage in the second round. But even with a tougher road to Arlington, ETSN.fm believes Carthage has the weapons to get to a fourth state championship contest in six years.
2. Jasper Bulldogs
Coach: Darrell Barbay
2012 finish: 9-3 (Class 3A Division II Region III area finalist)
Returning starters: 6 offensive, 6 defensive
Players to watch
- C Terrell Cuney, Sr., 6-3, 260 (committed to Texas)
- LB DeAnthony Cuney, Sr., 5-10, 230 (145 tackles)
- RB Terrance "Tiki" Cuney, Sr., 5-9, 215 (1,295 rushing yards, 20 TDs)
- QB Steve Walker, Sr., 5-10, 185 (1,517 passing yards, 14 TDs, 4 INTs; 1 rush TD)
- TE/OLB Shawn Jones, Sr., 6-1, 225
- WR/DB Chris Spikes, Jr., 6-1, 175 (3 INTs)
- WR/DB Jamarcus Reed, 6-2, 175
- RB/LB Deroddrick Hadnot, Sr.
- OL Ashton Limbrick, Sr.
- WR Zack Craig, Sr.
- LB Markeith Collins, Sr.
- LB Ike Hawthorne, Jr.
- DB Daniel Adams, Jr.
- ATH Quentin Williams, Soph.
Offense: A year after averaging 39.8 points per game, Jasper should once again possess a potent offense. Steven Walker returns after throwing for more than 2,632 yards and 30 touchdowns during the last two seasons, while Terrance "Tiki" Cuney is primed for a huge senior year after rushing for almost 1,300 yards as a junior.
They should have a solid offensive front blocking for them. Texas-bound center Terrell Cuney is the leader of that group, while Ashton Limbrick returns after gaining valuable experience in 2012.
Walker should have quality targets in the passing game. Chris Spikes and Jamarcus Reed are both big, athletic pass-catchers, while Shawn Jones is a physical blocker and adept receiver when he's asked to be.
Defense: Jasper's defensive unit was also strong last season, when the Bulldogs limited opponents to 18.3 points per game. That number was even lower -- 14.5 per game -- prior to Jasper's 59-14 second-round loss to eventual Class 3A Division II state champion Navasota.
DeAnthony Cuney, the brother of Tiki Cuney and cousin of Terrell Cuney, returns after leading Jasper in tackles each of the last two years. He'll be a four-year varsity veteran this fall and enters his senior season with 365 career tackles, 145 of which came last season.
He's the stalwart of a strong Jasper linebacking corps that also includes veterans Markeith Collins, Deroddrick Hadnot, Ike Hawthorne, and Jones.
Jasper will need some improvement in the secondary. Of the Bulldogs' three 2012 losses, two came to teams that have strong passing attacks: Carthage and Navasota. Jasper yielded a combined 108 points to those two teams.
2013 Outlook: In his first season at the helm, head coach Darrell Barbay led Jasper to three more wins than the 'Dogs had in 2011, when they finished 6-5. With a 9-3 campaign under their belt, is the next step competing for a Region III title?
Maybe. With the addition of a fourth playoff team in each 3A district, Jasper and Carthage are the likely Division I representatives from District 20-3A. Obviously, that keeps Jasper in the same playoff bracket with the other Bulldogs with whom they share a district. There's no doubt that Carthage is the 20-3A favorite entering the season, but Jasper would be the district favorite in the majority of 3A leagues across the state.
Another thing to remember: Jasper hosts Carthage on Oct. 25. That 96-mile trip isn't an easy one and should give Jasper an especially solid home-field advantage. Jasper also hosts Center in the regular-season finale in another game that should have big implications in the district race.
The bottom line is even if Jasper doesn't knock off Carthage in October, Barbay's squad should still be a very tough team come November. While ETSN.fm isn't predicting it just yet, we feel obligated to mention the possibility of an 20-3A-dominated D-I Region III championship game in the fourth round of the playoffs.
3. Center Roughriders
Coach: Kevin Goodwin
2012 finish: 8-3 (Class 3A Division II Region III bi-district finalist)
Returning starters: 6 offensive, 6 defensive
Players to watch
- LB Kiounis Williams, Sr., 5-10, 200 (130 tackles)
- QB Dalton Horton, Jr., 6-3, 185 (86 of 163, 1,144 passing yards, 12 TDs, 11 INTs; 46 carries, 112 yards, 2 TDs)
- ATH DeJalen Preston, Sr., 6-1, 170 (13 catches, 220 yards, 3 TDs; 8 carries, 66 yards, 3 TDs; 51 tackles, 4 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries)
- WR Kam'Ron Parks, Soph., 6-5, 195
- WR Caden Rainbolt, Jr.
- ATH Josh Burns, Jr.
- OL C.J. Garner, Jr.
- OL Adam Reeves, Jr.
- OL Trey Yarbrough, Sr., 5-10, 270
- DB Jemarcuss Jones, Sr.
- TE/LB Jack Ford, Jr.
- DL Jose Vallejo, Sr.
- K Luis Garcia, Sr., 5-8, 155
- RB DaCorey McGhee, Soph.
Offense: Center graduate and fifth-year head coach Kevin Goodwin has more than half of his starters back from last year, but the Roughriders definitely lost some talent to graduation.
K.J. Garrett is the name that immediately comes to mind. The 5-foot-9, 178-pound running back almost gained 1,800 rushing yards and scored 19 times in a huge senior season that led the Roughriders to an eight-win campaign. Replacing his playmaking ability and reliability will not be an easy task.
Fortunately for Center, starting quarterback Dalton Horton was only a sophomore last season. He started every game, throwing for more than 1,100 yards, a dozen touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. His 6-foot-3 frame gives him a high ceiling for development, and with an entire season of starting experience under his belt, Horton will likely take on a larger decision-making role directing Center's offense.
Center also lost its top three pass-catchers, but DeJalen Preston should slide into a key receiving role after flashing big-play ability last year, when he scored seven times on fewer than two dozen touches. Kam'Ron Parks could be the "next big thing," as the saying goes, for the Roughriders. Goodwin speaks highly of him, and rightly so when considering his athleticism and size for an incoming sophomore.
Defense: Like the offense, Center's defense returns six starters, none more important than linebacker Kiounis Williams, who is one of Goodwin's top veteran leaders.
Williams led the Roughriders with more than 130 tackles a season ago for his second consecutive triple-digit tackle campaign. Williams' laser-timed 4.66-second 40-yard dash was the second-best of the 12 linebackers at ETSN.fm's Recruiting Combine on May 19 in Tyler, while his 17 bench reps of 185 pounds were fourth-best. His return will help Center cope with the loss of graduated outside linebacker Derrick Thomas, who finished second on the team in tackles in 2012.
Perhaps the biggest offseason blow to Center's defense was Texas defensive back commit Johnny Shaw's move to West Orange-Stark. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound safety has two more seasons of high school football after recording 88 tackles, five interceptions, two forced fumbles, and three recoveries as a sophomore.
Center's mix of returning starters and big holes left from offseason departures should make the Roughriders' quest to hold opponents to the same respectable points-per-game average (20.4) as they accomplished last season.
2013 Outlook: The 2012 season marked the second time in Goodwin's first four years that he led the Roughriders to eight wins. Those are Center's closest eight-win campaigns since the 'Riders won at least eight contests five times in a six-year span from 1991-96.
Center placed third in District 20-3A last season, but played tough games against second-place Jasper and first-place Carthage, losing 27-21 and 45-29, respectively, to those teams. The Roughriders once again appear to slotted at No. 3 in the league entering the season, but third in 20-3A is as good as second or higher in many other 3A districts.
Finding a new running back is a crucial part of what Center must accomplish during a trying non-district schedule. If Horton continues to develop and Williams continues to lead on the defensive side of the ball, eight wins are not out of the realm of possibility, and neither is more than one playoff game.
4. Diboll Lumberjacks
Coach: Shane Adair
2012 finish: 2-8
Returning starters: 7 offensive, 7 defensive
Players to watch
- DE/LB B.J. Vinson, Jr., 6-1, 220
- QB/DB Raive Sheppard, Sr., 5-9, 160 (445 passing yards)
- LB Isaac Hernandez, Jr., 5-8, 185
- WR/DB Sammy Scott, Sr., 5-9, 165
- DB Michael Garcia, Sr., 5-9, 160 (48 tackles)
- RB/LB Leo Rodriguez, Sr.
- OL Juan Rangel, Jr.
- RB Deverick Thompson, Jr.
- DL Fernando DeJesus, Soph.
- TE/DE Matthew Evans, Sr.
- ATH Cielance Bailey, Sr.
Offense: Third-year head coach Shane Adair has seven returning offensive starters to help the Lumberjacks improve on the 10.4 points per game they average in 2012.
Quarterback Raive Sheppard is back after starting a couple of games toward the end of the season and will likely team with new tailback Deverick Thompson to give the Lumberjacks a solid backfield.
Sammy Scott could be Sheppard's top target. He snagged eight passes for 173 yards in limited action last season.
Defense: The District 20-3A schedule was obviously a drag on the Lumberjacks' defensive unit. After surrendering 24.8 points per game in six non-district contests, Diboll allowed 35.3 per game in league play, including 47.0 in the matchups with the district's three playoff representatives. Those three opponents outscored Center 141-14.
Fortunately for Diboll, seven defensive starters return to work on lowering those averages. Defensive back Michael Garcia had a solid junior season with almost 50 tackles, while sophomore B.J. Vinson played extensively off the edge of the Lumberjacks' defense and could blossom into one of the district's defensive stalwarts in 2013. His combination of size and athleticism should make him one of the best edge defenders in 20-3A.
2013 Outlook: Diboll is a perfect example of the type of team that should greatly benefit from the addition of a fourth playoff team to Class 3A districts. With the top of the league looking similar to how it did last fall, Diboll simply needs a win against Huntington to qualify for the postseason.
Huntington, which has a 4-46 record during the last five seasons, hosts Diboll on Nov. 8 in a regular-season finale that will likely decide the fourth playoff spot from 20-3A. Diboll won last year's meeting 27-0 and appears to be well on its way to being an improved team in 2013.
Pushing into the top three of the district's is not likely, though returning 14 starters should give Adair and company a chance to approach .500 for the season if they catch a few breaks during the non-district schedule.
5. Huntington Red Devils
Coach: Ryan Soderquist
2012 finish: 0-10
Returning starters: 5 offensive, 5 defensive
Players to watch
- QB Brent Loggins, Jr. (1,000 yards total offense)
- RB Jemichael Brown, Sr., 5-8, 160
- RB/LB Tanner Evett, Jr.
- OL Clay Boston, Sr., 5-11, 250
- OL Shawn Sims, Sr., 5-10, 220
- RB/DB Michael Cartwright, Sr.
- LB Matt Treadway, Jr.
Offense: One of Huntington's biggest bright spots is the return of quarterback Brent Loggins, who threw for 800 yards and ran for 200 more last season.
Huntington will need a big season from him and continued improved play from its offensive line to increase its paltry scoring average of 8.2 points per game from last season.
Defense: Huntington yielded at least 49 points six times last season, though its offensive struggles did no favors for the Red Devils' defense.
Linebacker Tanner Evett led Huntington in tackles as a sophomore last year and should be a leader once again on this year's unit.
2013 Outlook: New head coach Ryan Soderquist has an extremely difficult task ahead of him as he takes over a program that has never won more than three games in a season. Huntington has done that only four times in its 31-year history, and not once since 1999.
Huntington endured its eighth winless season in program history a year ago and has only 10 starters back with which to build. The addition of a fourth playoff spot in Class 3A puts the Red Devils closer to their first postseason bid in school history, but they will need significant improvements across the board to achieve that, especially considering the strength of the top three projected teams in District 20-3A, plus the likelihood of a significantly improved Diboll squad that beat Huntington 27-0 last season.
Huntington's best chances for wins appear to be in its first three contests against Cleveland Tarkington, Palestine Westwood, and Splendora. Winning two of those games would go a long way in taking a step in the right direction for the first-year coaching staff.