The Chapel Hill Bulldogs delivered on all the preseason promise in 2011, winning the school’s second state championship with 20-19 victory over Alvarado in the Class 3A Division I final.

That was the final high school game for 29 seniors, meaning fourth-year head coach Thomas Sitton and the Bulldogs will have their work cut out in trying to defend their crown. Chapel Hill has just three returning starters back from last season’s wire-to-wire No. 1.

However, that does not account for junior quarterback Andrew Black, who transferred in from Jacksonville after putting up almost 2,400 total yards as a sophomore. Impact players from last season’s title winners include senior fullback/linebacker Tre Allen (6-0, 225), who was perhaps the Bulldogs’ most versatile player in 2011.

Allen, who started on the offensive line as a sophomore, took to his new role with ease by rushing for 231 yards and six touchdowns and making 29 receptions for 358 yards and two TDs.

A pair of juniors -- safety Joseph Clark and linebacker Wesley Thompson -- will anchor and young and inexperienced defense. Clark led the team in tackles a year ago with 139, while Thompson wasn’t far behind with 95.

Chapel Hill will need to grow up fast. How’s this for six-game start to the schedule? Lindale, Whitehouse, Carthage, Palestine, Henderson and Gilmer. That doesn’t include dates with Bullard, which went three rounds deep a year ago, and a Kilgore team that reached the Class 4A quarterfinals in 2011.

If the Bulldogs are somehow able to come away from that monster of a schedule and earn a spot in the playoffs, they’ll be more than prepared for whatever comes their way in November and December.


3A Countdown

No. 6: Palestine

No. 7: Atlanta

No. 8: Van

No. 9: Jasper

No. 10: Rusk