There aren't many Class 2A East Texas players more talked about than Hemphill junior quarterback Justin Twine. And with good reason.

Twine accounted for more than 3,330 yards of total offense with 50 touchdowns in just 10 games.

District opponents, which include league favorite Corrigan-Camden, will be kept busy during the week preparing for the budding superstar.

 

1. Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs

Coach: Seven Armstrong (10th season, 75-33)

2011 Record: 9-4 (2A Division II Region III semifinalist; lost 41-21 to Arp)

Returning starters: 5 offensive, 5 defensive

Players to watch

  • RB/LB Carlos Inguanzo, Jr., 5-9, 220 (85 carries, 608 yards, 7 TDs; 110 tackles)
  • DB Andrew Harvey, Sr. (3 INTs)
  • RB Keegan Mitchell, Soph., 5-5, 155
  • LB Haden Armstrong, Jr., 5-10, 190
  • OL Kyle Vance, Sr., 6-1, 215
  • LB Chris Caballero, Sr.
  • OL Cesar Felipe, Sr.
  • DL Kaleb Romero, Sr.
  • LB Chris Taylor, Sr.
  • OL Tim Burley, Sr.

Strengths: Head coach Seven Armstrong, who enters his 10th season at the helm at Corrigan-Camden, brings back about half of his starters from last year’s state quarterfinalist team. Included among the returnees is RB/LB Carlos Inguanzo (5-9, 220), who enjoyed a breakout sophomore season in 2011. The district’s newcomer of the year ran for more than 600 yards and seven touchdowns, while racking up 110 tackles on defense. Spelling Inguanzo in the backfield will be diminutive but speedy sophomore Keegan Mitchell (5-5, 155). Armstrong will also welcome back center Kyle Vance, who enjoyed one of the best seasons by an offensive lineman in Armstrong’s tenure. Defensively, senior defensive back Andrew Harvey is back after recording three interceptions a season ago.

Weaknesses: The Bulldogs have quite a bit to replace on offense, including three running backs and their starting quarterback. Kendrick Horace, Derrick Petty and Charlie Cooper combined for more than 3,000 yards and 50 touchdowns last season, while Patrick Parker came through with some big throws down the stretch for the Bulldogs in 2011. The defense and offensive line play will need to be strong early, until the new skill position players begin to feel comfortable on Friday nights.

2012 Outlook: Despite to some heavy-duty changes on offense, Corrigan-Camden is still considered a heavy favorite to win the district title. Another long run through the playoffs will depend on how quickly the young group on offense adjusts to the speed of varsity-level football. A potential area-round matchup for the Bulldogs could be against either Hughes Springs, Elysian Fields, Garrison or Frankston -- none of them would be considered sure things.

 

2. Hemphill Hornets

Coach: Ken Stanley (second season)

2011 Record: 5-5

Returning starters: 7 offensive, 8 defensive

Players to watch

  • QB Justin Twine, Jr., 6-0, 190 (51 of 93, 819 yards, 16 TDs; 2,478 rushing yards, 34 TDs)
  • WR Luke Byley, Sr., 5-7, 155 (15 catches, 302 yards, 3 TDs)
  • DB Rudy Weaver, Soph., 5-10, 170 (85 tackles)
  • OL Dillon LeBlanc, Sr., 6-4, 265
  • TE Marcus Bell, Sr., 6-2, 210

Strengths: The conversation begins and ends with the electrifying quarterback Justin Twine, who got everyone’s attention as a sophomore in 2011. The 6-0, 190-pounder threw for 819 yards and 16 touchdowns, but it was his numbers on the ground that raised eyebrows. In just 10 games, Twine ran for 2,478 yards and 34 touchdowns. Luke Byley figures to be Twine’s top target in the passing game after 15 receptions for 302 yards and three TDs. In all, seven starters are back from an offense that averaged 51 points per game in 2011 and eclipsed the 60-point plateau on five occasions.

Weaknesses: Despite the gaudy numbers on offense, the Hornets defense held Hemphill back in a major way. Hemphill allowed 50 points on average, including two games where it allowed more than 70. Eight starters are back from that side of the ball, but all defenders will need to step their game up if Hemphill is to have the monster season it’s capable of.

2012 Outlook: Hemphill, as talented offensively as any team in the area, is loaded enough to surprise with a district championship and even a long playoff run. The Hornets improved five games in head coach Ken Stanley’s first year on the job, which followed an 0-10 campaign. With Twine back, another five-game improvement could be a possibility depending on how much progress is made on defense.

 

3. New Waverly Bulldogs

Coach: M.K. Hamilton (third season, 11-12)

2011 Record: 6-6 (2A Division II Region III area finalist; lost 31-7 to Lexington)

Returning starters: 5 offensive, 9 defensive

Players to watch

  • RB John McCowan, Sr., 6-0, 192 (214 carries, 1,143 yards, 4 TDs)
  • RB LeAntra Humphrey, Sr., 5-9, 202
  • FB/LB Glenn Hogle, Sr., 5-10, 215 (126 tackles, 2 sacks)
  • RB Dominique Humphrey, Soph., 5-6, 155
  • NG Michael McDaniel, Sr., 6-2, 200

2012 Outlook: It would be difficult to find a bigger backfield in all of 2A than that of New Waverly where three backs average 200 pounds, including senior John McCowan (6-0, 192), who ran for 1,143 yards and four touchdowns in 2011. Running back LeAntra Humphrey and fullback Glenn Hogle are both listed at over 200 pounds. Hogle also doubles as a linebacker where he had 126 tackles and two sacks a season ago. With nine defensive starters returning, the Lions have a chance to be the district’s best stop unit. New Waverly reached the second round of the playoffs last season, but its chances of going a step further in 2012 will hinge on an offense that must replace six starters.

 

4. Groveton Indians

Coach: Kevin Parker (fourth season, 14-17)

2011 Record: 3-7

Returning starters: 8 offensive, 8 defensive

Players to watch

  • RB J.B. Smith, Sr., 5-9, 180 (958 rushing yards, 14 TDs)
  • DL Sean Raines, Sr., 5-9, 225 (78 tackles)
  • DT Weston Due, Jr., 6-1, 225
  • QB Brandon Kempner, Soph., 6-1, 215
  • WR/DB Jerome Runnels, Sr. (4 INTs)

Strengths: Head coach Kevin Parker and his Groveton Indians suffered through their second 3-7 season in three years in 2011, but expectations are up entering the new year with 16 returning starters. Senior running back J.B. Smith could be the district’s running back after a breakout junior in campaign in which the 5-9, 180-pounder rushed for 958 yards and 14 TDs. Big things are also expected from quarterback Brandon Kempner (6-1, 215), who gained valuable experience as the starting QB as a freshman. The front and back ends of the Indians’ defense should be in good shape as well with linemen Sean Raines and Weston Due and defensive back Jerome Runnels returning to the fold.

Weaknesses: Even though the Groveton players have a ton of experience, the Indians were winless in district a season ago and have not yet proven they’re capable of big things. A big point of emphasis will on defense where Groveton allowed more than 31 points per game and 43.2 in district play. After beginning last season 3-2, Groveton headed into the offseason on a sour note with five consecutive losses by a combined score of 216-85. Time will tell if the way last season ended will have any lingering effects.

2012 Outlook: Groveton has enough playmakers back on each side of the ball to make a serious push toward the playoffs. The question will be how much the Indians closed the gap on the rest of the district, because New Waverly, Hemphill and Deweyville all return the majority of their starters.

 

5. Deweyville Pirates

Coach: Christopher Babin (first season)

2011 Record: 5-4

Returning starters: 6 offensive, 7 defensive

Players to watch

  • WR Trey Bussell, Sr., 6-3, 170
  • RB Ryan Collins, Jr., 5-11, 170
  • QB Brent Waldrup, Soph., 5-7, 165
  • FS Cody Dupui, Jr., 5-7, 165
  • OL Daniel Brinson, Sr., 6-2, 260

2012 Outlook: The Deweyville Pirates enter the football season with a new coach roaming the sidelines in Christopher Babin, who took over for Russell McDaniel after a stint as Lumberton’s offensive coordinator. There is a good nucleus of returning starters for the new coach to work with, which includes sophomore quarterback Brent Waldrup, junior running back Ryan Collins and senior wideout Trey Bussell. The district appears top-heavy with Corrigan-Camden and New Waverly at the top, but the third playoff spot could be up for grabs. Hemphill and Groveton combined to go 8-12, and Anderson-Shiro is a first-year program. Deweyville’s first postseason berth since 2006 is not out of the question.

 

6. Anderson-Shiro Fighting Owls

Coach: Dwayne Ross

2011 Record: First-year varsity program

Players to watch

  • RB Jamal Brooks, 5-9, 160
  • DE Brady Derrett, 5-10, 190
  • QB John McDonald, 5-10, 190
  • WR/DB Derrick Sciola, 6-2, 175
  • RB Dakota Yargo

2012 Outlook: No one really knows what to expect from Dwayne Ross and his first-year varsity program. One positive for the Fighting Owls is the success their undefeated JV squad had in 2011. Big things are expected from running back Jamal Brooks (5-9, 160) as well as receiver Derrick Sicola and quarterback John McDonald. It will be difficult for a program new to varsity competition to challenge for a playoff spot right away, but there appear to enough quality athletes to sustain a winning team in two or three years.