If a sure thing existed in the world of Texas high school football, it would be found in District 11-A Division II.

Tenaha, the reigning Class A D-II state finalist, has 20 starters returning and Mount Enterprise has gone at three rounds deep in the playoffs the last three years. The rest of the district was a combined 5-26 last season, so it appears Tenaha and Mount Enterprise are safe bets to reach the playoffs once again in 2013.

 

District 11-A Division II Preview

Munday's Tyrone Dockins (33) gets a stiff arm from Tenaha's Chavis Gregory (12) during the Moguls' 42-14 win in the Class A Division II state championship game last December at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. (© Christopher R. Vinn/www.etsn.fm)

PLAYMAKERS

  • Keontas Davis, WR/DB, Sr., Tenaha
  • Chavis Gregory, RB, Sr., Tenaha
  • J.R. Hill, QB, Sr., Tenaha
  • Justin Johnson, RB, Jr., Mount Enterprise
  • Joshua Leadon, QB, Sr., Mount Enterprise
  • Patrick Sanders, DB, Jr., Mount Enterprise
  • Denzelle Williams, DL, Sr., Tenaha

 

TOP GAMES

  • Mount Enterprise at Tenaha, 7:30 p.m., Oct. 18
  • Evadale at Mount Enterprise, 7:30 p.m., Nov. 8
  • Evadale at Burkeville, 7:30 p.m., Oct. 26

 

1. Tenaha Tigers

From left, Tenaha's Keontas Davis, Cobe Caraway, J.R. Hill and Chavis Gregory joke around after practice at Tiger Stadium last December. (© Christopher R. Vinn/www.etsn.fm)

Coach: Terry Ward

2012 finish: 10-5 (Class A Division II state finalist)

Returning starters: 10 offensive, 10 defensive

Players to watch

  • RB Chavis Gregory, Sr., 5-10, 210 (239 carries, 1,581 yards, 23 TDs)
  • WR/DB Keontas Davis, Sr., 6-1, 160 (49 catches, 993 yards, 13 TDs; 8 INTs)
  • DL Denzelle Williams, Sr., 5-11, 190 (95 tackles, 13 sacks)
  • QB J.R. Hill, Sr., 5-11, 160 (1,557 passing yards, 19 TDs; 618 rushing yards, 3 TDs)
  • RB Cobe Caraway, Jr., 5-8, 165 (87 carries, 794 yards, 8 TDs)
  • LB Jacoby Ivy, Sr., 5-10, 185 (97 tackles)
  • WR DeAndre Thomas, Jr., 6-1, 160 (25 catches, 311 yards, 3 TDs)

 

Offense: The 2012 Tigers struggled on offense early on without the graduated state-champion quarterback Reginald Davis, but by the time district play rolled around, Tenaha's young playmakers began coming into their own. Tenaha averaged less than

Tenaha's Denzel Williams (33) pursues Overton running back Jessie Roach (25) during the Tigers' 42-8 second-round playoff win last November. (John Krueger, ETSN.fm)

20 points per game in getting off to a 2-4 start, but posted an average of 37.7 the rest of the way in reaching its second consecutive state title game. And the good news for Coach Ward: Tenaha has 10 of 11 starters back offensively.

At the top of the list of returners is the formidable trio of Hill, Gregory and Davis, who could all put up monster numbers in what is expected to be another long postseason run for Tenaha. But it's not just those three; Tenaha is loaded with depth at the skill positions, something extremely unusual for a school its size (enrollment of 124). Caraway, who saw extended playing time as a sophomore, will spell Gregory in the backfield. And Thomas gives Hill another big target on the edge to deliver the ball downfield.

Defense: Tenaha is just as loaded on the defensive side with 10 returning starters as well. The anchor up front is Williams, who bullied his way to 13 sacks and more than 30 tackles for loss in a breakout junior campaign. Gregory, Hill and Davis are also strong defenders, capable of having just as big an impact on defense as they do on offense.

2013 outlook: With 20 total starters returning to the fold, anything less than a third consecutive trip to the state title game may be viewed as a disappointment. Tenaha is ranked No. 1 in Class A Division II by both Dave Campbell's Texas Football Magazine and the Old Coach Network's FNF magazine. Tenaha has a brutal non-district schedule, which includes games with Garrison, Alto, West Sabine and San Augustine, but it should be smooth sailing after that until the playoffs for the Tigers.

 

2. Mount Enterprise Wildcats

Mount Enterprise's Joshua Leadon. (© Christopher R. Vinn/www.etsn.fm)

Coach: Scott Holzhauer

2012 finish: 9-4 (Class A Division II Region III semifinalist)

Returning starters: 4 offensive, 5 defensive

Players to watch

  • QB Joshua Leadon, Sr., 5-10, 170 (23 catches, 444 yards, 5 TDs)
  • RB Justin Johnson, Jr., 5-7, 140 (1,163 rushing yards, 17 TDs)
  • DB Patrick Sanders, Jr., 5-9, 160 (57 tackles, 4 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • DB Christian Hammett, Soph., 5-10, 160 (60 tackles, 3 INTs)
  • DL Colby Moore, Sr., 5-8, 185 (61 tackles)
  • DL Tony Burns, Jr., 5-7, 185
  • OL/DL Jaime Mejia, Sr., 6-0, 195

 

Offense: With the loss of 2,700-yard rusher Hunter Ammons and starting quarterback Zach Moore (a 2012 first-team all-district selection) to graduation, there will be plenty of holes to fill on the offensive side of the ball for Mount Enterprise. Coach Holzhauer is

Mount Enterprise's Justin Johnson. (© Christopher R. Vinn/www.etsn.fm)

expected to hand the offense over to Leadon, who started at receiver a season ago. The backfield cupboard isn't completely bare with the return of starting tailback Johnson, who had a breakout sophomore season last year.

Defense: The Wildcats have five staters back on defense, including Sanders, who should anchor Mount Enterprise's defensive backfield after a solid sophomore season. The defensive line might be where the Wildcats are the strongest with the return of Moore and Mejia.

2013 outlook: Mount Enterprise has played at least three rounds in the playoffs the last three years, with two of its postseason exits at the hands of district rival Tenaha. If the Wildcats are to keep that impressive strike alive, finding capable replacements for the loss of Ammons' production will be first on the list of priorities. There doesn't appear to be a real serious threat to Mount Enterprise for second place in the district, but another lengthy postseason will be dependent on a group of newcomers.

 

3. Evadale Rebels

Coach: Mark Williams

2012 finish: 3-8 (Class A Division II bi-district finalist)

Returning starters: 5 offensive, 5 defensive

Players to watch

  • OL Tristan Reeves, Sr., 5-10, 215
  • QB/DB Logan Hare, Jr., 6-0, 170
  • OL Corey Byrum, Sr.
  • RB Jacob Conner, Sr., 5-10, 165
  • WR Dalton Cravy, Sr.

 

2013 outlook: In a five-team district, two wins are good enough to make playoffs. And that's exactly what Evadale accomplished last year with wins over Burkeville and Sabine Pass. Its other district games against powers Tenaha and Mount Enterprise were a different story as the Rebels were outscored by a combined score of 73-24. The good news for Evadale is that its two league victims were a cumulative 2-18 in 2012. And with 10 total starters back, there should be enough to keep the Rebels in good shape for another postseason berth.

 

4. Burkeville Mustangs

Coach: Darius Ingram

2012 finish: 1-9

Returning starters: 11 offensive, 11 defensive

Players to watch

  • QB Donovan Wysinger, Soph., 6-1, 180
  • DL Robert Hunt, Jr., 6-4, 210
  • LB Garrett Stillwell, Sr., 6-1, 210
  • OL Brenton Hutton, Sr., 5-11, 250
  • LB Billy Craft, Jr.

 

2013 outlook: Burkeville captured a state title back in 2001, but the Mustangs have only made the playoffs once since 2005. You can't complain about having every single starter back from the previous season, but there is still work to be done. The Mustangs were outscored by an average score of 43-13, and were blown out by Evadale 49-6 in a game that eventually gave Evadale the third and final postseason spot from the district.

 

5. Sabine Pass Sharks

Coach: Dustin Driskell

2012 finish: 1-9

Returning starters: 7 offensive, 4 defensive

Players to watch

  • DB Khalil Francis, Sr., 5-7, 165
  • LB Alexander Defrancis, Sr., 5-10, 190
  • OL Kevin Guidry, Sr., 5-9, 220
  • RB Davon Chagrios, Sr., 5-11, 170
  • DE Mario Gonzales, Jr., 6-0, 175

 

2013 outlook: In many ways it was a season to forget to the Sharks, who failed to win a district game. Sabine Pass was outscored 162-37 in its four district games in 2012, but half of its starters are back to help put the previous year in the rear-view mirror.