Judging by 2017's performances, the new District 10-2A Division II will leave a lot to be desired. None of the league's six teams finished with a winning record last year, and just one actually managed a win in the postseason.

While there might not be any headliners, this could be the area's most wide-open district.

Maud, Mount Enterprise, and Clarksville all made the playoffs last year, but they did so with a combined 9-25 record. The remainder of the district -- Detroit, Simms Bowie, and Overton -- was 5-24.

On the other hand, every team aside from Overton returns at least 13 starters, which should lead to improved play in 2018.

District 10-2A Division II Preview

Overton RB/LB Hudson Rogers. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

PLAYMAKERS

  • RB/LB Rayne Bailey, Jr., Maud
  • OL Trenton Croke, Sr., Detroit
  • QB Miles Davis, Sr., Detroit
  • RB Kendre Miller, Jr., Mount Enterprise
  • QB Derrick Jackson, Jr., Mount Enterprise
  • RB/LB Luke Osburn, Sr., Overton
  • OL/DL Skyler Pate, Sr., Maud
  • WR/DB Deontae Ricks, Sr., Clarksville
  • RB/LB Deont'a Tavie, Sr., Clarksville
  • TE/DL Kutter Walker, Sr., Simms Bowie

 

TOP GAMES

  • Maud at Clarksville, Oct. 12
  • Mount Enterprise at Maud, Oct. 19
  • Simms Bowie at Detroit, Oct. 19

 

1. Maud Cardinals

  • Coach: Allen Cross
  • 2017 finish: 5-7 (2A Division II area finalist)
  • Returning starters: 8 offensive, 7 defensive

Players to watch

  • RB/LB Rayne Bailey, Jr., 5-7, 175
  • OL/DL Skyler Pate, Sr., 6-1, 300
  • OL/DL Chance Sprague, Jr., 5-11, 250
  • WR/DB Hunter Thomas, Sr., 5-10, 150
  • WR/DB Cade Townsend, Sr., 5-10, 150

2018 outlook: Maud is the only school in this six-team district that won at least five games in 2017, and also the lone team to earn a playoff victory. And with 15 starters returning from last year's area finalist, the Cardinals are comfortably positioned as the district favorite. Most of Maud's strength on the offensive side of the ball rests with its line, which brings back Skyler Pate and Chance Sprague, who are arguably the best linemen duo in the district. Head coach Allen Cross will need a few skill-position players to step up, but junior running back Rayne Bailey is one he shouldn't have any concerns about after he put up almost 600 yards and six touchdowns of offense a season ago. Defensively, Maud allowed opponents an average of 37 points per game, but with seven starting defenders returning, that number should come down significantly..

 

2. Mount Enterprise Wildcats

  • Coach: Scott Holzhauer
  • 2017 finish: 3-8 (2A Division II bi-district finalist)
  • Returning starters: 8 offensive, 7 defensive

Players to watch

  • RB Kendre Miller, Jr., 6-2, 190
  • QB Derrick Jackson, Jr., 6-3, 165
  • WR/DB/K Johnathon Wright, Sr., 6-2, 175
  • OL/DL Jamar Thompson, Jr.
  • ATH Christian Newman, Jr., 5-8, 130
  • OL/LB Zach Johnson, Jr., 5-9, 150
  • FB/SS Tanner Fitzgerald, Jr.
  • RB Antwon Berry, Soph., 5-4, 130

Offense: It was a struggle to score points for Mount Enterprise last season. The Wildcats averaged a little more than 14 points per game in 2017, but with eight starters returning on that side of the ball, head coach Scott Holzhauer is hopeful his team will be a little more explosive this fall. Junior running back Kendre Miller could be the district's most complete back after he posted a 1,000-yard season in a breakout sophomore campaign. Much of the offense's success will hinge on how quickly new quarterback Derrick Jackson, a receiver last year, can adapt to the position. Expect two-way standout Johnathon Wright to have an increased role at wide receiver in 2018.

Defense: The Wildcats' defense didn't do itself many favors last season, allowing foes an average of more than 33 points per game. Holzhauer brings back seven starters to his defensive unit, including a handful of juniors who saw signifiant playing time as sophomores. Wright and Tanner Fitzgerald will patrol the secondary, while lineman Jamar Thompson and linebacker Zach Johnson give Mount Enterprise a formidable one-two punch with its defensive front.

2018 outlook: Despite winning just three games all of last season, things are looking up for Mount Enterprise. With 15 of 22 starters returning, coupled with the Wildcats being grouped in a district full of sub-.500 performers from 2017, expect Mount Enterprise to challenge for another playoff spot. While Maud is the clear-cut favorite at the season's outset, if Jackson can settle into the quarterback spot and Wright emerges as a legitimate weapon in the receiving corps, the Wildcats just might have an outside shot at a district title.

 

3. Clarksville Tigers

  • Coach: Dewaski Davis
  • 2017 finish: 1-10 (2A Division II bi-district finalist)
  • Returning starters: 6 offensive, 7 defensive

Players to watch

  • RB/LB Deont'a Tavie, Sr., 6-2, 185
  • WR/DB Deontae Ricks, Sr., 5-9, 162
  • QB/DB Quaydrian Scales, Jr.
  • OL/DL Markeath Taylor, Sr., 6-2, 240
  • DB Tre'Derrian Rose, Jr.

2018 outlook: Not many teams can win just one regular-season game and qualify for the playoffs, but that's exactly what Clarksville accomplished last year.. More than half of the Tigers' starters from 2017 return, giving head coach Dewaski Davis hope that his team can improve on last year's win total and then some. Deont'a Tavie might be the district's best overall player, and he will lead Clarksville both on offense at running back on the defensive side of the ball as a linebacker. Keep an eye on quarterback Quaydrian Scales and receiver Deontae Ricks, who could help Clarksville's offense improve on last year's points-per-game average of 11.6.

 

4. Detroit Eagles

  • Coach: M.K. Hamilton
  • 2017 finish: 2-8
  • Returning starters: 10 offensive, 10 defensive

Players to watch

  • QB Miles Davis, Sr., 5-11, 165
  • RB/LB Jayden Goodwin
  • WR Joel Hinson
  • OL Trenton Croke, Sr., 5-10, 230
  • RB/LB Tyrone Rosser

2018 outlook: No team in District 10-2A Division II returns more starters than Detroit, which brings back all but two of 2017's starters. The Eagles suffered through a 2-8 campaign last season, so head coach M.K. Hamilton is banking on all of that experience to pay major dividends moving forward. Davis, a legitimate dual-threat quarterback, will lead on the way for Detroit's offense after posting more than 2,200 yards of total offense as a junior. Last season the Eagles allowed a little more than 30 points per game, but with veterans like Jayden Goodwin and Tyrone Rosser back in the fold, Detroit could turn into the district's top defense this fall.

 

5. Simms Bowie Pirates

  • Coach: Eddy May
  • 2017 finish: 2-7
  • Returning starters: 8 offensive, 7 defensve

Players to watch

  • RB/LB Noah Woodruff, 5-8, 155
  • RB/DB Ethan Fields, Soph., 5-8, 145
  • TE/DL Kutter Walker, Sr., 6-4, 260
  • OL/DL Ty Watts, Sr., 5-10, 245
  • OL/DL Lucas Stephenson, Sr., 5-10, 270
  • OL/DL Whitt Rogers, Soph., 5-8, 230
  • TE/DL Evan Williams, Jr., 5-10, 210
  • WR/DB Tyler Crabtree, Jr.

Offense: It was a frustrating 2017 season for the Simms Bowie offense, which averaged a shade less than 20 points per game. The Pirates showed flashes at times, reaching the 30-point plateau on a couple of occasions, but sputtering to games of less than 20 points six times. With new head coach Eddy May, who had previously served as the Pirates' boss, Bowie thinks it can get back in the business of scoring with regularity. May will implement the Wing-T offense with Noah Woodruff and Ethan Fields expected to see the bulk of the rushing attempts. They'll run behind a seasoned offensive line, which features Ty Watts, Lucas Stephenson, and Whitt Rogers.

Defense: Bowie struggled on the defensive side of the ball in 2017, allowing opponents an average of more than 43 points per game. Seven returning starters are at May's disposal, many of whom will play both ways. The Pirates surrendered at least 40 points in a game five times in 2017, so in order for Bowie to realistically contend for a playoff spot, the defense must show major signs of improvement.

2018 outlook: Ordinarily there is a steep learning curve when a new coaching staff takes over. But in the case of Bowie, that transition might not be as daunting given May's familiarity with the kids in the community. The good news for the Pirates is that the district appears to be wide open. And a strong non-district showing could go a long way in preparing Bowie for success once district play begins.

Overton RB/LB Luke Osburn. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

6. Overton Mustangs

  • Coach: Justin Arnold
  • 2017 finish: 1-9
  • Returning starters: 3 offensive, 2 defensive

Players to watch

  • RB/LB Luke Osburn, Sr., 5-8, 160
  • LB Hudson Rogers, Sr., 5-11, 185
  • QB Cole Marshall, Jr., 5-7, 145
  • RB/DB Nathan Palmer, Sr., 5-11, 165
  • OL/DL Garrett Worley, Sr., 5-11, 250

Offense: The 2017 season was one to forget for Overton, which won just one game and was outscored by an average of almost 27 points per game. The Mustangs hired Justin Arnold to head the program in the offseason, and the new boss will undoubtedly have his work cut out.

Overton QB Cole Marshall. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

Just three offensive starters come back, which might not be such a bad thing, considering Overton managed less than 18 points per game a season ago. Expect senior running back Luke Osburn to shoulder much of the load on the offensive side of the ball after his 1,100-yard, 13-touchdown season in 2017.

Defense: As difficult as it was for the Mustangs to be competitive on offense last year, it might have been an even bigger disappointment for the defense. In 2017, opponents averaged a whopping 44.7 points per game, which in effect kept Overton from seriously challenging for wins on a week-to-week basis. Arnold is hopeful that with the all-district linebacker Hudson Rogers returning to anchor that side of the ball, the Mustangs can at least be more difficult to score against this fall.

2018 outlook: The good news for Overton is that 2A heavyweights Tenaha and Timpson each moved up to Division I, and an up-and-coming Grapeland team is part of a another district. The fact that none of the six teams in this league sported a winning record in 2017 should at least make Coach Arnold's first season in charge something a little more that a rebuilding year.