Colmesneil had a tough go at it last season. Will things be different this year?

The Bulldogs return a district-best 17 players and bring back 22 letter winners in total from a 1-9 team. Maybe a second year of experience is the answer for the program.

Evadale and Iola have been top performers for years. Will those squads maintain their status?

Don't look now, but the dead-in-the-water Sabine Pass program turned a major corner last season and became one of the state's best comeback stories.

Then there's Hull-Daisetta trying to defend its one-third share of the district title.

There are a lot of moving parts around Colmesneil and its pursuit of a playoff berth. This district appears to be on the up-and-up.

So, are the Bulldogs in or out? ETSN.fm's District 12-2A Division II picks are just a scroll away.

District 12-2A Division II Preview

PLAYMAKERS

  • WR/DB Tyler Dykes, Sr., Iola
  • WR/DB Jamyus Jones, Sr., Sabine Pass
  • RB/LB Zalan Lewis, Sr., Burkeville
  • QB/DB Kameron Lindsey, Sr., Colmesneil
  • RB B.J. Peterson, Soph., Hull-Daisetta
  • RB/LB Colton Renick, Sr., Iola
  • WR/DB Daniel Sam, Sr., Sabine Pass
  • QB Tyler Torres, Sr., Evadale
  • RB/DB Coy Williams, Sr., Evadale

TOP GAMES

  • Oct. 13 -- Evadale at Hull-Daisetta
  • Oct. 20 -- Colmesneil at Hull-Daisetta
  • Oct. 27 -- Hull-Daisetta at Sabine Pass
  • Nov. 3 -- Sabine Pass at Colmesneil
  • Nov. 3 -- Iola at Evadale
  • Nov. 10 -- Colmesneil at Burkeville
  • Nov. 10 -- Hull-Daisetta at Iola

1. Iola Bulldogs

  • Coach: Dwayne Ross
  • 2016 finish: 8-5 (2A D-II regional semifinalist)
  • Returning starters: 7 offensive, 7 defensive
Players to watch
  • WR/DB Tyler Dykes, Sr., 5-9, 155 (1,300 total yards, 20 TDs)
  • RB/LB Colton Renick, Sr., 5-10, 180 (186 tackles)
  • K/P J.D. Funderburk, Jr.
  • DB Adam Crenshaw, Soph., 6-1, 175 (4 INTs)

2017 outlook: Iola, one of three district co-champions a season ago, returns the most starters of all four teams that qualified for the playoffs and retained perhaps its best two athletes in receiver Tyler Dykes and linebacker Colton Renick.

Dykes is an all-purpose offensive weapon with an emphasis at receiver. He scored 20 total touchdowns en route to a regional semifinal appearance.

Renick recorded a team-best 186 tackles through just 13 games.

Thirteen starters are back in total with nine on the defensive side. The unit was the district's best a season ago, and Evadale's second-ranked set of defenders were nowhere near the number.

Iola held all five district opponents to a combined 95 points and surrendered 22.1 points per game through the course of the season.

The key for the Bulldogs will be to live up to district expectations. District 11-2A Division II -- with Tenaha and Overton at the top -- is a vastly superior district from top to bottom, so a high finish will allow Iola to escape the best of the best in the bi-district playoff round.

2. Evadale Rebels

  • Coach: Mark Williams
  • 2016 finish: 10-2 (2A D-II regional semifinalist)
  • Returning starters: 3 offensive, 8 defensive
Players to watch
  • RB/DB Coy Williams, Sr., 5-11, 190 (1,661 yards, 24 TDs; district MVP)
  • QB Tyler Torres, Sr., 5-10, 185
  • RB/LB Will Farr, Soph., 6-2, 185

2017 outlook: The Rebels have an incredibly seasoned defense. A majority of the players are three-year starters and allowed 26.4 points per game against district competition as juniors.

However, Evadale's offense took a massive beating to May graduations. Just three of 11 starters earned serious offensive experience in 2016.

The good news is, two of the offensive starters are running back Coy Williams and quarterback Tyler Torres. Williams won the district's Offensive MVP award last season and finish the year with 1,661 rushing yards in just 12 games.

The awful news is the Rebels have to break in almost an entirely new offensive line to protect its two stars.

Decent non-district games against Warren, Deweyville, West Hardin and Hemphill will have to suffice in the development of the offensive line.

3. Hull-Daisetta Bobcats

  • Coach: Stan Hodges
  • 2016 finish: 7-4 (2A-DII bi-district finalist)
  • Returning starters: 5 offensive, 5 defensive
Players to watch
  • RB B.J. Peterson, Soph., 5-10, 180 (1,430 yards, 15 TDs)
  • QB Bryce Fregia, Sr., 6-2, 195 (440 yards, 8 TDs)
  • RB/DB Shawn Taylor, Jr., 5-9, 155

2017 outlook: Hull-Daisetta improved from 2-10 to 7-4 the past two seasons and bring back its most important offensive weapons in running backs B.J. Peterson and Shawn Taylor.

Peterson ran for more than 1,400 yards as a freshman out of the Wing-T and Taylor is back after an injury-riddled sophomore campaign.

Ten starters are back in total. They're evenly divided between offense and defense.

The Bobcats averaged 42.4 points per district game and surrendered about 30 points.

4. Sabine Pass Sharks

  • Coach: Jason Thibodeaux
  • 2016 finish: 6-5 (2A D-II bi-district finalist)
  • Returning starters: 6 offensive, 6 defensive
Players to watch
  • WR/DB Jaymus Jones, Sr., 6-0, 165 (464 yards, 4 TDs)
  • WR/DB Daniel Sam, Sr., 6-2, 185
  • OL/DL Shane Foreman, Jr., 5-11, 205

2017 outlook: The Sharks were one of the most improved teams in the state regardless of classifications last season. They jumped from 0-10 to 6-5 with a bi-district playoff appearance, and they bring back a majority of the team.

Jaymus Jones is expected to have a big impact on defense as a backfield player after a solid previous season on offense. Dave Campbell's Texas Football projects him as the district's Defensive MVP.

Offensively, Sabine Pass' most experienced players are along the line. Jones and Daniel Sam are good perimeter players to help a first-year quarterback yet to be named.

 

5. Colmesniel Bulldogs

  • Coach: Ross McMurry
  • 2016 finish: 1-9
  • Returning starters: 8 offensive, 9 defensive
Players to watch
  • QB/DB Kameron Lindsey, Sr., 5-9, 160 (1,300 total yards, 13 TDs; 77 tackles, 3 INTs)
  • OL/DL Josh Adaway, Sr., 6-4, 310
  • OL/DL Dillon Tompkins, Jr., 6-5, 325

Offense: Colmesneil's offense didn't really stand a chance in 2016 with the defensive issues, but it has room to improve.

Quarterback Kameron Lindsey is back to lead the Slot-T offense as are seven other offensive returning starters.

Bookends Josh Adaway and Dillon Tompkins are important assets. Both players play above 300 pounds and are very rare specimens for the 2A Division II level.

Hopefully, experience plays a factor this season. The squad scored just 86 points in district play before hanging 74 points on Burkeville to avoid a winless year in Week 11.

Defense: Nine players are back from a defensive unit that allowed 46.8 points against in district play. Aside from the Burkeville win, all nine of the Bulldogs' losses came by double digits.

Kameron Lindsey was a bright spot on defense on top of being the starting quarterback. He made 77 tackles and picked off three passes as a strong safety.

Bottom line, the defense has to improve for Colmesneil to reach the postseason.

2017 outlook: Colmesneil has the most returning starters of all six district teams with 17 returning starters and an additional five letter winners.

Experience has to count for something, but both sides of the ball should be striving for better numbers this season.

Deweyville, Cross Roads and Mount Enterprise come up first on the non-district schedule. All of those games should be competitive for Colmesneil and could set the tone for the rest of the season.

6. Burkeville Mustangs

  • Coach: Kenneth Thomas
  • 2016 finish: 0-10
  • Returning starters: 4 offensive, 4 defensive
Players to watch
  • RB/LB Zalan Lewis, Sr., 5-9, 165

2017 outlook: Burkeville is, by far, the smallest school in the district with 87 students in the entire building.

Eight letter winners graduated from the team last season and six return. All of the starters will have duties on both sides of the ball.

The Mustangs can't afford injuries or grade issues from any of their players to have a chance in the league.