2013 Football Preview: Simms Bowie Aims for Eighth Consecutive Playoff Berth in District 8-A Division I Race
Simms Bowie has reached the postseason each of the last seven seasons, but there's a not-so-silver lining to that feat.
Bowie has not advanced beyond the first round any of those seasons. The Pirates' last playoff win came in 2001, when they finished 6-6.
With eight offensive starters back, fifth-year head coach Eddy May will try to get the Bucs their first playoff win in 12 years.
District 8-A Division I Preview
- Cody Adams, Sr., RB/LB, Simms Bowie
- Lucas Banker, Sr., LB, Honey Grove
- Brandon Fisk, Sr., QB, Wolfe City
- David Hernandez, Sr., LB, Quinlan Boles
- Jeremy Patt, Sr., QB, Honey Grove
- Cyrus Tucker, Sr., OL, Simms Bowie
- Justin Wilkinson, Sr., RB/LB, Wolfe City
- Oct. 11 -- Wolfe City at Honey Grove
- Oct. 18 -- Simms Bowie at Quinlan Boles
- Oct. 25 -- Wolfe City at Simms Bowie
- Nov. 1 -- Simms Bowie at Honey Grove
1. Honey Grove Warriors
Coach: Brian Lewis
2012 finish: 10-1-1 (Class A Division I Region II semifinalist)
Returning starters: 4 offensive, 5 defensive
Players to watch
- QB Jeremy Patt, Sr. (1,717 total yards, 19 total TDs)
- LB Lucas Banker, Sr. (123 tackles)
- LB Bobby Newman, Soph.
- LB D.J. Lipstraw, Sr.
- OL Jacob Price, Sr.
- RB Patrick Harris, Soph.
- LB Carter Patrick, Jr.
2013 Outlook: Thirteen starters are gone from last season's district champion and regional semifinalist squad, but veteran quarterback Jeremy Patt returns after running and throwing for more than 800 yards apiece. That will help the Warriors as they try to match the 42.0 points per game they averaged a year ago.
Winning a second consecutive District 8-A Division I championship will be significantly tougher than last year's league crown, but the Warriors won their games convincingly enough a year ago and have the right pieces back in their nine returning starters to be the district's preseason favorite.
2. Wolfe City Wolves
Coach: Travis Smith
2012 finish: 6-6 (Class A Division I Region II area finalist)
Returning starters: 9 offensive, 9 defensive
Players to watch
- QB Brandon Fisk, Sr., 5-10, 175 (97 of 195, 1,340 yards, 12 TDs
- RB/LB Justin Wilkinson, Sr., 6-0, 210 (120 carries, 1,115 yards, 6 TDs; 176 tackles)
- RB Darrell Wooten, Sr., 5-10, 235 (124 carries, 855 yards, 8 TDs)
- WR Malik Gaffney, Sr., 6-1, 185 (30 catches, 678 yards, 5 TDs; 5 INTs)
- OL Koby Wilkinson, Jr., 5-10, 280
- TE Colton Quirl, Sr., 6-5, 205
2013 Outlook: After a 54-13 district-opening loss to Honey Grove, Wolfe City bounced back with four consecutive wins before falling in the second round of the playoffs. All but four of the Wolves' starters are back for what could be a big season for Wolfe City.
Brandon Fisk, Justin Wilkinson, Darrell Wooten, and Malik Gaffney give head coach Travis Smith all of the offensive firepower he needs to help the Wolves improve on the 19.9 points per game they averaged in 2012.
3. Simms Bowie Pirates
Coach: Eddy May
2012 finish: 5-6 (Class A Division I Region II bi-district finalist)
Returning starters: 8 offensive, 5 defensive
Players to watch
- RB/LB Cody Adams, Sr., 5-10, 165 (775 rushing yards, 11 TDs; 96 tackles)
- OL Cyrus Tucker, Sr., 6-3, 315
- QB Colton May, Sr.
- OL Matt Ellison, Sr.
- RB Will Watts, Jr., 5-10, 175
- RB T.R. Brown, Sr.
- OL Jhorden Amason, Sr.
- LB Austin Pritchett, Sr.
- LB Rhett Wilkerson, Sr.
- OL Blake Plunk, Sr.
- OL Spencer McDaniel, Jr.
Offense: Fifth-year head coach Eddy May welcomes back all but three of his offensive starters from a unit that averaged only 19.3 points per game last season, but finished the year stronger with 28.3 per contest in the final seven games (3-4).
Cody Adams is primed for a big season after a breakout junior campaign, while quarterback Colton May is also back. They will have the luxury of running behind an experienced and large offensive line led by 6-foot-3, 315-pound Cyrus Tucker.
Defense: Bowie returns only five defensive starters from a group that limited opponents to a respectable 20.4 points per game last season.
Just like he's expected to be on offense, Adams will be key cog defensively from his linebacker spot after registering almost 100 tackles in 2012. He'll get help from fellow linebacking veterans Austin Pritchett and Rhett Wilkerson, who returns after missing his junior season with an injury, according to May.
2013 Outlook: Simms Bowie appears to have the experience back on offense to snag its eighth consecutive playoff appearance.
The question for the Pirates: will they snap their 12-year playoff win drought? Possibly. Where they finish in the District 8-A Division I race should have an influence on that.
Bowie lost to the top two teams in the district -- Honey Grove and Wolfe City -- last season by a combined 12 points. The Pirates bring back more key pieces than Honey Grove and lost to Wolfe City by a field goal. If they continue progressing in their slot-T offense, they could be the darkhorse in the league championship race.
4. Quinlan Boles Hornets
Coach: Gordon Jordan
2012 finish: 5-5
Returning starters: 5 offensive, 7 defensive
Players to watch
- LB David Hernandez, Jr., 6-0, 195 (113 tackles)
- RB Ross Bostick, Sr., 5-7, 158 (843 rushing yards)
- RB Devan Harris, Sr., 5-7, 155 (787 rushing yards)
- RB/LB Cameron Walker, Jr., 5-11, 182
- DT Randall Preston, Soph.
- OL Kory Kent, Sr.
- DB Bailey Isom, Jr.
- RB Josh Monroe, Jr.
2013 Outlook: Quinlan Boles should have a solid rushing attack with the return of Ross Bostick and Devan Harris, a duo that combined for more than 1,600 yards in 2012.
What the Hornets must avoid is faltering after a fast start, which is what happened last season. Boles fattened its record early against three teams that finished with a combined record of 5-24. After those three contests, which the Hornets won by a cumulative score of 136-25, Boles went 2-5, including four consecutive losses to finish the season.
The Oct. 18 home date vs. Simms Bowie could potentially decide the third playoff spot from District 8-A Division I. After all, that's exactly what happened last year when Bowie beat Boles 28-27.
5. Celeste Blue Devils
Coach: Demetrius Rector
2012 finish: 3-7
Players to watch
- LB Colton Smith, Sr.
- LB Austin Shatto, Sr.
- LB Tim Herman, Sr.
- OL Jacob Smith, Sr.
- OL Jordan Wright, Jr.
- RB Keith Lynch, Sr.
- RB Zach Brumfeld, Jr.
- OL Nick Garza, Sr.
- WR Ricky Lewis, Sr.
- DL Colton Blackstock, Sr.
2013 Outlook: Celeste faces an uphill battle in the quest for a playoff berth. The Blue Devils struggled to score last season, averaging 16.2 points per game. That average included only 11.8 points per game in District 8-A Division I play.
Nevertheless, the Blue Devils can find encouragement in their results against Quinlan Boles and Wolfe City. Each of them beat Celeste by only one point apiece.
Celeste is a long shot to qualify for the playoffs, but with more consistency and new faces emerging as playmakers, could maybe make a run at the third spot.