For those who thought there was no way District 16-3A could get any deeper than the last two years, the UIL produced a day of reckoning last February.

When area 4A powerhouse Kilgore dropped in classification, it landed in this behemoth of a league that has produced five state championships since 2004. If recent history is any indication, big things may be in store for Kilgore in its first season in 3A. When Henderson dropped from 4A in 2010, the Lions caught fire in the playoffs and claimed the school’s first state title.

If Kilgore is to follow Henderson’s formula, some work needs to be done on the offensive end where the Bulldogs bring back just three starters. Gone are the two-headed backfield monster of L.D. Anthony (now at TCU) and Dondra Halton that combined for more than 2,300 yards during Kilgore’s run to the 4A Division II quarterfinals.

The defense, however, has the potential to be best in the area regardless of classification. And it all starts with linebacker A.J. Davis (6-0, 220), who bullied his way to 179 tackles a season ago.

He teams with returning safety Cooper Coldiron, who racked up 133 stops of his own a season ago. Linebacker Jake Brantley rounds out the trio of returning 100-plus tacklers.

There’s no sure thing in the “District of Doom.” And it’s not out of the question to suggest that Kilgore’s potential playoff run in 3A Division I will be tougher than the path it took in 4A D-II last year. Stephenville, Argyle, Paris, Carthage and Waco La Vega are all possible postseason opponents for Kilgore.


3A Countdown

No. 4: Henderson

No. 5: Chapel Hill

No. 6: Palestine

No. 7: Atlanta

No. 8: Van

No. 9: Jasper

No. 10: Rusk