2014 Football Preview: East Texas Public School Class A — Six-Man Programs
UIL six-man football got a name change in February. East Texas has quite a bit to offer the new "Class A," despite having just five programs participating in the state's smallest public school classification.
Here you will find all you need to know about Apple Springs, Karnack, Leverett's Chapel, Oakwood and six-man newcomer Union Hill.
East Texas Public School Class A -- Six-Man Preview
- Paco Chavez, Sr., S, Leverett's Chapel
- Jordan Hawkins, Sr., DL, Oakwood
- Adrian Lee, Soph., LB, Apple Springs
- Wendell Stafford, Sr., RB, Karnack
- Trevor Williams, Sr., RB, Apple Springs
District 15-A Division I
Union Hill Bulldogs
Coach: Jerry Brakel
2013 finish: 0-7 in 11-man Class A
Returning starters: N/A
2014 outlook: Union Hill is a mystery to six-man teams, but the Bulldogs don't have any recent experience in their new game. The school was part of the former Class A which is now considered Class 2A and the smallest group of 11-man football teams. It takes some time to adapt to the six-man style yet this is the best thing that could have happened for the program. Union Hill was not competitive in its five games played last season, and it forfeited its final two contests of 2013.
The Bulldogs have played six-man football before, however. They were a regional power in the 1940s prior to moving up to 11-man ball. Union Hill has a nice student body to pick from. It is the second largest school in the district behind Campbell with 90 students.
Campbell went 4-6 last season, but the team returns eight experienced starters. The league power is Savoy. That team reached the regional finals last year and is projected to perform at a high level again. Irving Universal rounds out the district. It finished 3-6.
District 16-A Division I
Apple Springs Eagles
Coach: Cody Moree
2013 finish: 8-3 (bi-district finalist)
Returning starters: 2 offensive, 2 defensive
Players to watch
- RB Trevor Williams
- WR Jordan Freeman
- QB Dalton Coleman
- LB Adrian Lee
- K Jeffry Rhoden
2014 outlook: The Eagles will have to replace 10 starters from last year's bi-district finalist team, including quarterback Dylan Coleman to graduation and a college football career at East Texas Baptist University, but the team has quite a few weapons to rally behind.
Running back Trevor Williams rushed for 19 touchdowns on the way to a 1,049-yard junior campaign. Receiver Jordan Freeman (6-1, 168) is a nice, tall target for new quarterback Dalton Coleman to throw to in the wide open six-man game.
Senior linebacker Adrian Lee is a seasoned veteran and a player Apple Springs can count on to guide its defense. Jeffrey Rhoden is a valuable kicker. He made 32 of 44 PATs last season and will anchor the special teams units once again.
District 16-A only has three teams competing in football this season, so the odds are favorable the Eagles can make the postseason once again.
Leverett's Chapel Lions
Coach: Matt Everett
2013 record: 8-3 (bi-district finalist)
Returning starters: 5 offensive, 4 defensive
Players to watch
- QB/S Paco Chavez
- DT Colby Shaw
- RB Keiton Vaugn
- LB Billy Hall
- DT Blake Myrick
2014 outlook: Returning the majority of a team that reached the playoffs a season ago is definitely a major advantage. Leverett's Chapel ranks second in District 16-A in terms of impact lettermen. Chester leads the league with five offensive and defensive starters. But Chester went 2-7 last season and 0-3 in the district, including blowout losses to both Leverett's Chapel and Apple Springs.
Paco Chavez is one to watch for the Lions. He won regional recognition as both a quarterback and a safety. Defensive tackle Colby Shaw led the team in tackles last season and returns to his spot on the line. The running game should not be a problem for Leverett's Chapel. Running back Keiton Vaughn (6-0, 165) runs a 4.6 40-yard dash and will be difficult to catch in the open field.
Considering the district consists of just three teams and the Lions are the best mix of returning starters and overall records, this is a team that is expected to make a run into the playoffs.
District 15-A Division II
Coach: Sterling Stewart
2013 finish: 1-9
Returning starters: 4 offensive, 4 defensive
Players to watch
- RB Wendell Stafford
- ATH Cartavious Green
- WR Keylon Johnson
- WR Ismael Ruiz
2014 outlook: Karnack had a rough go at it in 2013, but the core of its team is intact and the squad is a year older. There's not much to worry about in the running game. Wendell Stafford is a very athletic and versatile player in all aspects of the Dragons' game plan. As a running back, Stafford shouldered the load last season and returns for the same positional duties.
The receiving unit is strong with two good targets in Keylon Johnson and Ismael Ruiz. Cartavious Green and Stafford make up two pieces of what should be an improved defense.
The smallest school in District 15-1A Division II, the work is obviously cut out for Karnack. The league's four other teams all finished with winning records and three of the schools return 10 or more players.
Coach: Mike Heckathorn
2013 finish: 7-5 (area finalist)
Returning starters: 2 offensive, 3 defensive
Players to watch
- DT Jordan Hawkins
- C Cameron Litchfield
- RB Kolt Haley
- QB David Allen
2014 outlook: Oakwood only has 42 students, compared to Mt. Calm's 54, but the Panthers coaching staff enjoys an excellent rate of student participation. The squad will have 11 lettermen returning for the 2014 season versus six players lost to graduation. Of course, losing Damiyne Durham to Baylor basketball hurts.
There's a lot to like about this little school. The Panthers should be contending with six-man heavyweight Fannindel and Mt. Calm for one the district playoff spots. Oakwood will be working in a new quarterback to replace Durham. David Allen is expected to assume the role.
With center Cameron Litchfield up front and running back Kolt Haley to Allen's side, there shouldn't be a lot of offensive struggles. Defensive tackle Jordan Hawkins recorded 43 tackles in just five games played last season. The Panthers also will enjoy a talented defensive backfield consisting of Austin Suptrine, Henry Velaquez and Cody Smith.