In the 1990s and early 2000s, the Jacksonville Indians were among the most successful in all of East Texas.

Thanks to then-head coach Danny Long and a trio of quarterbacking brothers named Randy, Josh and Luke McCown, Jacksonville was the model of consistency.

From 1996-2002, Jacksonville compiled a 67-20 record that included four seasons with 10 wins or more. But in the nine years since, the Indians are just 46-51 and have advanced past the first round of the playoffs just once.

Following last season’s 4-6 performance, officials at Jacksonville decided to go in a different direction by hiring Chapel Hill assistant Chris Taber as its new head coach.

Taber’s never been a head coach before, his track record as an assistant speaks for itself. In the two previous years as the Bulldogs offensive coordinator, Chapel Hill’s spread attack was among the most explosive in the state, helping Chapel Hill to a 28-2 record and last season’s 3A D-I state title.

Despite losing last season’s district newcomer of the year in quarterback Andrew Black, who ironically transferred to Chapel Hill, Taber should have plenty to work with in 2012.

The strength of the Indians is undoubtedly their speed at the skill positions. Receivers Darrell Minifee and Dadrian Franklin, along with running backs Chris Ruffin and Stacey Cummings, give Taber and Jacksonville the pieces needed to execute a fast-paced, explosive offense.

The real questions surrounding Jacksonville are the interior lines, where the Indians are a little thin compared to past years.


5A/4A Countdown

No. 8: Whitehouse

No. 9: Hallsville

No. 10: Lindale