Shakeem Jefferson’s record-setting days are over at New Boston, but the Lions hope another game-breaking back can pick up where Jefferson left off and guide New Boston into the playoffs once again.

Damien Haskins, New Boston’s 5-9, 210-pound tailback who has committed to Memphis, takes over the feature back role from Jefferson, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards each of the past two seasons, including a 2,800-plus campaign in 2011. Haskins was the thunder to Jefferson’s lightning and will have three veterans blocking for him in the middle of the line: guard Wesley Holmes, center Wes Teague and guard Colin Gholston.

New Boston will test itself early with non-district games against DeKalb (season opener) and three Class 3A schools: Pleasant Grove, Pittsburg and North Lamar. New Boston’s home showdown with Daingerfield, which beat the Lions 54-48 in 2011, could decide the District 8-2A Division I championship, although a road trip the following week to Redwater and home contest against Hooks may not be easy.

And regardless of the Lions’ playoff seed, they’ll probably have to go through Daingerfield yet again to claim the Region II title. A potential third-round matchup with Winnsboro, the District 7-2A Division I favorite, would precede a regional championship against the rival Tigers.

The 2A & Below Countdown

No. 8: Hughes Springs

No. 9: San Augustine

No. 10: Tenaha