District 12-2A Division II is loaded with strong teams returning from the 2013 season.

Five out of six teams in the freshly realigned district, including Groveton, made the playoffs a year ago. This will be a fun district to watch play out.

The problem is, there are only four playoff spots up for grabs.

Is Groveton up for the challenge?

 

District 12-2A Division I Preview

Groveton QB Brandon Kemper. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)
 PLAYMAKERS
  • Brandon Kemper, Sr., QB, Groveton
  • Kelvin James, Sr., ATH, Groveton
  • Jordan Cannon, Sr., QB, Centerville
  • Cade Harris, Sr., RB, Centerville
  • Kyle Harris, Sr. QB, Centerville
  • Kyle Hopkins, Sr., TE/DE, Hull-Daisetta
  • Cade Huckaby, Sr., QB/CB, Hull-Daisetta
  • Dillon McLaughlin, Sr., RB/LB, Lovelady
  • Atreal Ostiguin, Sr., DE, Anderson-Shiro
  • Daylan Williams, Jr., RB, Anderson-Shiro
  • Emmanuel Williams, Jr., RB/LB, Lovelady

 

TOP GAMES
  • Oct. 10 -- Hull-Daisetta at Groveton
  • Oct. 17 -- Groveton at Centerville
  • Nov. 7 -- Lovelady at Hull-Daisetta

 

1. Centerville Tigers

Coach: Kyle Hardee

2013 finish: 11-2 (Class A regional semifinalist)

Returning starters: 7 offensive, 8 defensive

Players to watch

  • QB Cade Harris, Sr., 6-0, 170 (487 passing yards, 189 rushing yards)
  • RB Tulley Pickens, Sr., 5-11, 170 (13 TDs, 1,247 rushing yards)
  • FB Trevor Goolsby, Jr., 6-0, 185 (17 TDs)
  • QB Jordan Cannon, Sr., 6-2, 185 (289 rushing yards, 222 passing yards)
  •  LB Kyle Harris, Sr., 5-10, 200 (96 tackles)

 

2014 outlook: Centerville returns important offensive skill pieces of its multiple wing scheme. Quarterback Jordan Cannon, fullback Trevor Goolsby, quarterback Cade Harris and running back Tulley Pickens combined for more than 1,600 yards on the ground last season in 13 games.

The big question is, can an overhauled offensive line be as dominant as it was last season? The Tigers reached the Division II regional semifinals last season with the big boys leading the way.

Centerville's defense returns eight starters. That's always a good thing.

The Tigers' district schedule is fairly neutral with two games against 2013 playoff teams at home and two on the road.

 

2. Groveton Indians

 

Groveton running back Kelvin James. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

 

Coach: Brandon Craus (first year)

2013 finish: 6-5 (Class A bi-district finalist)

Returning starters: 8 offensive, 6 defensive

Players to watch

  • RB/ATH Kelvin James, Sr., 5-9, 175
  • QB Brandon Kemper, Sr., 6-0, 190
  • ATH Colton Parten, Jr., 6-2, 220
  • RB/ATH Dekedrick Odom, Sr., 5-9, 170

 

Offense: The Indians should have a powerful unit fueled by quarterback Brandom Kemper, running back Kelvin James and running back Dekedrick Odom. Kemper won first-team all-district honors last season in District 12-2A Division II and James earned a second-team mention. The unit returns eight starters from a team that reached the playoffs last season.

Defense: James and Odom also have roles at skill defensive positions and should aid the Indians loss of five starters from last year's team. The group has some room to improve after averaging four touchdowns against per season to 26.5 points scored per game. But that was an improvement over the 2012 numbers. Defensive end Colten Parten's 6-2, 220-pound frame should give the Tribe an edge against most offensive lines they run across.

2014 outlook: Groveton faces considerable tests this season.

Centerville, a newcomer to the district topped, the Indians 63-14 in the two teams' bi-district match last season. The Indians did defeat Anderson-Shiro within the league and got the best of Hull-Daisetta in non-district play. Those teams' cores remain the same.

Groveton has some good athleticism and enough experience to make a serious run at the District 12-2A Division II crown.

 

3. Hull-Daisetta Bobcats

Coach: Stan Hodges (first year)

2013 finish: 4-7 (Class A area championship finalist)

Returning starters: 6 offensive, 6 defensive

Players to watch

  • QB/LB Cade Huckaby, Sr., 6-3, 205 (1,734 rushing yards)
  • RB/DB Martin Doucet, Sr., 5-9, 170 (10.9-second run in the 100m dash)
  • TE/DL Kyle Hopkins, Sr., 6-3, 260

 

2014 outlook: Cade Huckaby could be the best offensive player in the district and gives the Bobcats hope this season. Hull-Daisetta has a nice group of returning players and some depth with 17 returning lettermen not considered returning starters.

The squad has playoff experience and will look to build on its 4-7 record in 2013. It also should have some confidence. After starting last season 0-6, the team won four-straight games and fell to Alto in a five-point loss in the second round of the playoffs.

 

4. Lovelady Lions

Coach: Kerry Therwhanger

2013 finish: 5-7 (Class A regional semifinalist)

Returning starters: N/A

Players to watch

  • RB Emmanuel Williams, Jr.
  • RB/LB Dillon McLaughlin, Sr. 5-9, 190
  • TE/DE Taylor Connell, Jr., 6-3, 220

 

2014 outlook: Lovelady made a good run in the playoffs after finishing the regular season 3-6 a season ago. The Lions are another team with postseason experience under their belt. Emmanuel Williams was a first-team all-district selection last season in Class A District 12 Division II and Dillon McLaughlin adds good size to the running lineup. Taylor Connell will be a force both offensively and defensively with a great football frame.

Games against Groveton, Hull-Daisetta and Anderson-Shiro should determine Lovelady's playoff fate.

 

5. Anderson-Shiro Owls

Coach: Andy Sexton (first year)

2013 finish: 5-5 (bi-district finalist)

Returning starters: 7 offensive, 7 defensive

Players to watch

  • FB/DE Artreal Ostiguin, Sr., 6-2, 210
  • RB Daylan Williams, Jr., 5-9, 185
  • C Sam McClaskey, Jr., 5-11, 240

 

2014 outlook: A strength Anderson-Shiro owns is its experience factor. It made the playoffs last season. However, the team was seriously outgunned by the likes of Corrigan-Camden, Groveton and its playoff opponent -- Crawford -- last season. The Owls will have to improve on a margin of defeat of 167-52 against those three higher-end teams to reach the postseason. Adding Centerville into the new district certainly does not do Anderson-Shiro any favors.

Pivotal game wins against Hull-Daisetta, Lovelady and West Hardin will go a long way toward the cause.

 

 

6. West Hardin Oilers

Coach: Steve Stewart

2013 finish: 3-6

Returning starters: N/A

 

2014 outlook: West Hardin has a tough road ahead after a 3-6 campaign a year ago and an 0-2 record against district foes making the move with it into the overhauled district, Hull-Daisetta and Lovelady.