The new District 10-A Division II is home to four first-year coaches: Maud, Cumby, Overton, and Union Hill. The one team with the same coach it had in 2011 -- Detroit -- looks like the district's preseason favorite.

But 10-A D-II could be one of the more wide-open districts in 2012. Maud's recent success has set a solid standard, while Cumby returns almost all of its starters and Overton is optimistic under new coach Josh Barton, a former Mustang assistant.

District 10-A D-II promises to be one of the more closely contested races in East Texas.

1.Detroit Eagles

Coach: Lance Connot (second season, 7-4)

2011 Record: 7-4 (1A Division II Region III area finalist; lost 59-0 to Chilton)

Returning starters: 7 offensive (multiple), 6 defensive (multiple).

Players to watch

  • RB Devonya Bell, Sr., 5-11, 175 (60 carries, 352 yards, 4 TDs)
  • OL Lane Allen, Jr., 6-1, 285
  • QB Trevor Reger, Jr., 5-9, 160 (29 of 67, 505 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs)
  • LB Lane Manginell, Sr., 5-10, 155 (109 tackles)
  • LB Devin Ervin, Sr., 5-11, 180 (96 tackles)
  • OL Keith Henderson, Jr., 5-11, 180
  • OL Clay Taylor, Sr., 6-2, 215
  • OL Matthew Brown, Sr., 6-2, 220
  • TE Brandon Erickson, Jr., 5-10, 195
  • RB Toby Moss, Jr. 5-9, 165
  • WR Brandon Crawford, Jr., 5-11 165
  • TE Lane White, Jr., 5-11, 175
  • OL Trevor Cato, Jr., 5-8, 220
  • OL Blake Westbrook, Jr., 5-9, 205
  • DB Travis Bryant, Sr., 5-10, 170

2012 Outlook: With 13 starters back from a seven-win team, Detroit may be the preseason favorite to win the District 10-A Division II championship. That is, if the Eagles have the firepower back to turn the tide on last year’s 27-0 non-district loss to Maud, a new district foe. Trevor Reger and Devonya Bell should give the Eagles a nice 1-2 backfield punch, and Lane Allen and the offensive line have good size for the 1A level. The linebacker duo of Lane Manginell and Devin Ervin will lead a defense that returns six starters from a unit that held opponents to 13.4 points per game during the 2011 regular season. Detroit also has the advantage of being the only team in the new 10-A D-II with the same head coach as last season.

2.Maud Cardinals

Coach: Matt Langley (first season)

2011 Record: 6-4

Returning starters: 4 offensive (spread), 5 defensive (3-4).

Players to watch

  • OL Caleb Herring, Sr., 6-3, 250
  • QB Jared Miller, Sr., 5-4, 170 (82 carries, 515 yards, 7 TDs)
  • LB Brody Jennings, Sr., 5-6, 190
  • DE Caleb Collins, Jr., 5-10, 175 (46 tackles)
  • FS Tim McClendon, Soph., 5-9, 165 (1 INT)
  • ATH Richard Conkleton, Jr., 5-11, 165 (2 of 11, 97 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT)
  • OL Matt Brown, Jr., 6-0, 295
  • WR Kyran Richardson, Jr., 6-0, 160

2012 Outlook: Maud is a hard read. The Cardinals won six games a year ago, including a 27-0 win against Detroit and 28-12 victory against Overton, both of which are now district opponents. But Maud returns only nine starters, and what may be the Cardinals’ two biggest district games -- vs. Cumby and vs. Detroit -- are both on the road. Factor in a possible darkhorse candidate in Overton, and the race for the five-team league’s three playoff spots is awfully crowded.

3.Cumby Trojans

Coach: Gary Parrish (first season)

2011 Record: 6-5 (1A Division II Region III bi-district finalist; lost 39-31 to Beckville)

Returning starters: 10 offensive (double slot), 8 defensive (4-3).

Players to watch

  • OL Glen Goode, Sr. (graded 85 percent)
  • RB Colton Speights, Sr. (126 carries, 603 yards, 7 TDs)
  • TE Caleb Penland, Sr., 6-0, 190 (13 catches, 172 yards, 4 TDs)
  • LB Cody Anderson, Soph. (89 tackles)
  • DL Jaden Duck, Jr., 6-2, 210
  • RB Brandon Jones, Sr., 5-6, 135
  • OL Charlie Potts, Sr., 6-1, 220 (3-for-3 PATs; 22 punts, 34.9 average, 60 long)
  • OL James Evans, Sr., 5-8, 215
  • WR Luke Sartin, Sr., 5-10, 170 (3 of 4, 195 yards, 1 TD; 3 INTs)
  • RB Nick Folse, Soph., 6-0, 170
  • QB Dustin Heer, Jr., 5-10, 155

2012 Outlook: Cumby has the most experience back of any team in the new District 10-A Division II, returning almost its entire offense and most of its defense. Colton Speights is in line for a big rushing campaign. Glen Goode and Caleb Penland are two proven blockers who could usher Speights to a 1,000-plus rushing yardage effort. Although Ed Perez is gone after leading the Trojans for five years, first-year coach Gary Parrish has been on the staff and already knows the players. Combined with the most returning starters in the district, that could mean a league title for Cumby, which should be in the thick of the district playoff race.

4.Overton Mustangs

Coach: Josh Barton (first year)

2011 Record: 4-6

Returning starters: 5 offensive (pistol), 5 defensive (multiple).

Players to watch

  • OL/DE Greg Moore
  • ATH Jesse Roach
  • QB K.J. Luster
  • WR Tre Thompson
  • WR Damion Dennis
  • CB Jeff Phillips

Strengths: Defensive line, skill position depth. Greg Moore could be a force at defensive end given his large frame and experience. Moore’s versatility could also give Overton the option of moving him around since he’s played linebacker before. Jesse Roach is one of several skill players the Overton coaching staff believes can be dependable and productive, and K.J. Luster should get opportunities to shine running the Mustangs’ pistol offense.

Weaknesses: Offensive line. An apparent llack of depth on the offensive front could be a concern. Much like his role on the defensive line, Moore will anchor the offensive front as well, but if he or another starter goes down with an injury, Overton may not have the experience in the reserves to cope well with it. Quality offensive line play will be needed for the new offense to run like the new coaching staff hopes.

2012 Outlook: The Mustangs should benefit significantly from a new district, which does not include Carlisle and Big Sandy, two teams that beat up on the Mustangs in 2011. Maud, which beat Overton 28-12 last season, is the one holdover from the Mustangs’ district schedule a year ago. That said, Overton could be a darkhorse in the District 10-A Division II race. First-year coach Josh Barton is a former Overton assistant and knows the program well, while new offensive coordinator Seth Drennan appears to have plenty of options to use in the Mustangs’ pistol offense. Overton earning a playoff berth might not be a safe bet, but it’s certainly not out of the question. That would break a postseason drought dating to 2005.

5.Union Hill Bulldogs

Coach: Jerry Brakel (first season)

2011 Record: 1-8

Players to watch

  • RB Darin Lewis
  • RB Marcus Lawton
  • ATH Datravion Duffey

Strengths: Backfield. Lewis, Lawton and Duffey give first-year coach Jerry Brakel plenty of ball-carrying options. The Bulldogs will need big seasons from those players to improve on the 13.3 points per game they averaged in 2011.

Weaknesses: Defense. Union Hill has a lot of question marks on both sides of the ball, but one thing is for sure: The Bulldogs cannot allow 40.8 points per game like they did a year ago. Perhaps a new staff can turn what was a weakness last season into a strength in 2012.

2012 Outlook: Union Hill has not won more than three games in a season since 2006, when the Bulldogs finished 9-3 under former head coach Buddy Blair. Union Hill will have a very hard time having that kind of season in 2012. The Bulldogs aren’t favored to earn one of the league’s three playoff spots, but District 10-A Division II isn’t top heavy like its 11-A D-II brethren (Tenaha and Mount Enterprise), so turning the trend and earning their first playoff appearance in five years isn’t out of the question. Union Hill will need significant improvement to achieve that considering 42-22 and 43-14 losses to Cumby and Detroit, respectively, during the 2011 non-district schedule.