After an impressive 11-2 season, the Bulldogs must cope not only with the loss of blue-chip recruit Dominique Wheeler but head coach Paul Parsons as well.

Wheeler, now enrolled at Texas Tech, amassed more than 1,400 total yards a year ago. Parsons left after compiling a 36-22 record in five seasons at the helm.

Crockett rolled to a 2011 district championship and reached the Class 2A Division I state quarterfinals before being eliminated by Tatum 34-33 in a classic. Despite the loss of Wheeler, there are some building blocks remaining for new head coach Joe Kettler, who served as Parsons’ offensive coordinator.

Senior linebacker Devin Chambers returns to a defense that allowed less than 20 points per game in 2011. Chambers racked up 104 tackles a season ago. Also back for Crockett is wide receiver Michael McKnight, who had more than 500 receiving yards and four touchdowns last year. Returning offensive linemen Tevin Collins and Thomas Hickman should bolster Crockett along the front line.

Crockett shouldn’t have any trouble winning the district again, resulting in a first-round bye for the playoffs. Depending on how the bracket shakes out, the Bulldogs could be in store for a rematch with Tatum. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine has Tatum No. 3 in its preseason poll with Crockett at No. 8.


The 2A & Below Countdown

No. 6: Elysian Fields

No. 7: New Boston

No. 8: Hughes Springs

No. 9: San Augustine

No. 10: Tenaha