The Edgewood Bulldogs might feel a bit like a fish out of water in District 7-3A Division II this season.

None of Edgewood's seven district foes were on the schedule in either of the previous two years. The Bulldogs bring back 13 starters from last season's 9-3 area-round finalist, but it remains to be seen what type of challenges their new district opponents will present.

Buffalo won 10 games and went a couple rounds deep in the playoffs in 2017, and returns 17 of those starters.

Palmer just missed the postseason last year, Rice reached the area round last year but graduated most of is starters, Mildred and Dallas Gateway made the playoffs last year, while Blooming Grove and Scurry-Rosser are looking to bounce back from rough seasons.

District 7-3A Division II Preview

Edgewood RB Carter Bates. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

PLAYMAKERS

  • QB Brayden Allen, Sr., Edgewood
  • QB/DB Creed Baker, Jr., Mildred
  • WR/DB Isaiah Banks, Sr., Dallas Gateway
  • RB Carter Bates, Sr., Edgewood
  • DL Jack Bussey, Sr., Scurry-Rosser
  • QB Tanner Carlisle, Jr., Rice
  • QB/LB Adrian Cisneros, Jr., Palmer
  • TB Robert English III, Sr., Dallas Gateway
  • TE Caden Fraser, Sr., Scurry-Rosser
  • FB/DE Kenya Glasco, Sr., Blooming Grove
  • QB Colton Green, Sr., Buffalo
  • DB/LB Wesley Greenlee, Sr., Palmer
  • RB Dee Robinson, Sr., Rice
  • QB/LB Carson Rucks, Jr., Blooming Grove
  • DL Chase Thompson, Sr., Buffalo
  • RB/DB Quintavis Turner, Sr., Mildred

 

TOP GAMES

  • Crockett at Buffalo, Aug. 31
  • Rice at Mildred, Oct. 19
  • Buffalo at Edgewood, Nov. 2

 

1. Buffalo Bison

  • Coach: Brandon Houston
  • 2017 finish: 10-2 (3A Division II area finalist)
  • Returning starters: 9 offensive, 8 defensive

Players to watch

  • DL Chase Thompson, Sr., 6-0, 185
  • QB Colton Green, Sr., 6-2, 180
  • RB Hector Dominguez, Sr., 5-7, 180
  • WR/DB Dirk Kilgore, Sr., 6-0, 165
  • WR Jamaul Randle, Jr., 5-11, 150

2018 outlook: Buffalo's 10 wins last season were its most since 1961, and with 17 starters returning from last year's area finalist, the Bison have big expectations this season. Buffalo averaged almost 40 points and more than 350 rushing yards per game, and with all but two starters coming back to the offense, expect those numbers to climb in 2018. Hector Dominguez will get most of the carries at running back, but senior Colton Green will do his fair share of running from the quarterback spot. Defensively, lineman Chase Thompson is about as good as it gets at the Class 3A level. Fellow senior Dirk Kilgore is a playmaker out of the secondary. The Bison are rightfully district favorites, but a loaded Region II field including Gunter, Holliday, Comanche, Jacksboro, and Lexington await in the postseason.

Edgewood's (from left) Efrain Muniz, Jayden Morgan, Jordan Davison, and Eduardo Muniz. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

2. Edgewood Bulldogs

  • Coach: Kevin Bachtel
  • 2017 finish: 9-3 (3A Division II area finalist)
  • Returning starters: 6 offensive, 7 defensive

Players to watch

  • RB Carter Bates, Sr., 5-9, 160
  • QB Brayden Allen, Sr., 6-0, 155
  • DE Cooper Stone, Sr., 5-11, 180
  • WR/OLB Eduardo Muniz, Sr., 5-10, 165
  • WR/DB Efrain Muniz, Sr., 5-8, 160
  • MLB Jayden Morgan, Sr., 6-2, 185
  • OL Joe Martinez, Sr., 5-9, 190
  • WR/DB Jordan Davison, Sr., 6-0, 160
Edgewood QB Brayden Allen. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

Offense: Edgewood lost quarterback Trey Erwin to graduation but head coach Kevin Bachtel feels good about his replacement, senior Brayden Allen. The rest of the offense should be in good shape with the return of running back Carter Bates, who put up more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage in 2017. Jordan Davison, and both Eduardo and Efrain Muniz will be counted on for big plays at receiver, while Joe Martinez anchors what will be a relatively inexperienced offensive line. It might be asking a lot for Edgewood to equal last season's scoring average of 40.9 points per game, but the Bulldogs should have no trouble moving the ball with regularity.

Edgewood DE Cooper Stone. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

Defense: Improvement will need to be made on the defensive end for Edgewood, which surrendered an average of almost 26 points per game in 2017. With seven defenders returning with starting experience, expect that number to come down in 2018. Cooper Stone headlines the defensive line at rush-end, while Jayden Morgan and Eduardo Muniz form one of the top linebacking duos in the district. Efrain Muniz and Davison also have big potential on defense in the secondary.

2018 outlook: Edgewood has reached the playoffs in each of the last six seasons, and with more than half of their starters returning from an area finalist, the Bulldogs are once again safe bets for the postseason. Edgewood will be Buffalo's closest competition for the district championship. All three of the Bulldogs' non-district games -- Commerce, Caddo Mills, and Lone Oak --  are against opponents from last season. Edgewood went 2-1 in those games a year ago, defeating Commerce and Lone Oak by a combined 36 points. Everyone else on the Bulldogs' schedule is new, so it's hard to know exactly what to expect.

 

3. Palmer Bulldogs

  • Coach: Don Waddle
  • 2017 finish: 5-5
  • Returning starters: 8 offensive, 7 defensive

Players to watch

  • QB/LB Adrian Cisneros, Jr., 5-11, 160
  • DB/LB Wesley Greenlee, Sr., 6-1, 165
  • OL/DL Caleb Hernandez, Sr., 6-3, 275
  • WR/DB Dylan Villasenor, Sr., 5-8, 150
  • WR/DB Jeremy Robinson, Sr.

2018 outlook: Palmer just missed out on the playoffs last season despite ending the year on a three-game winning streak. The Bulldogs' four-game losing skid to begin district play ultimately cost them a shot at the postseason. Fortunately for Palmer, all four of those teams -- Sunnyvale, Kemp, Maypearl, and Grandview -- are in a different district this season. Buffalo and Edgewood are a cut above Palmer, and Rice went two rounds deep in the playoffs a year ago, but the remainder of the league is mediocre at best. Palmer is returning 15 starters from last year's 5-5 squad, which should give it a leg up on the competition for one of the district's playoff spots.

 

4. Rice Bulldogs

  • Coach: Andy Mills
  • 2017 finish: 7-5 (3A Division II area finalist)
  • Returning starters: 5 offensive, 3 defensive

Players to watch

  • RB Dee Robinson, Sr., 5-8, 210
  • QB Tanner Carlisle, Jr., 6-2, 175
  • DB Elizhsh Nezar, Jr., 6-1, 170
  • RB/LB Isaac Canales, Sr.
  • LB Austin Scott, Sr., 6-1, 220

2018 outlook: Rice managed to make the playoffs last season, and pick up a win in the postseason. Things could be more difficult for the Bulldogs this year with just eight starters coming back. However, one of those returners is senior running back Dee Robinson, who rushed for more than 2,100 yards and 26 touchdowns a season ago. Quarterback Tanner Carlisle is back after a solid sophomore campaign that included 1,400 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2017. The defense was hit hardest by graduation as eight new starters will be on the field. Games against Palmer, Mildred, and Blooming Grove will be critical to Rice's playoff chances this fall.

 

5. Mildred Eagles

  • Coach: Cody Fagan
  • 2017 finish: 6-4 (3A Division II bi-district finalist)
  • Returning starters: 7 offensive, 6 defensive

Players to watch

  • RB Quintavis Turner, Sr.
  • QB/DB Creed Baker, Jr.
  • OL/DL Preston Kindle, Jr.
  • WR/DB Jake Thomas, Sr.
  • RB/DB Bishop Harris, Soph., 6-0, 180

2018 outlook: Since reaching the state championship game in 2012, Mildred has yet to win a playoff game, compiling a mediocre overall record of 23-29 in the time since. Last season, Mildred was eliminated in the first round by this district's preseason favorite, Buffalo, 35-19. The Eagles' two league losses in 2017 came by a combined 18 points -- 45-35 to Rice and 25-17 in double overtime to Clifton. So head coach Cody Fagan knows his team has the capability of competing for one of the four playoff spots from 7-3A Division II. Senior running back Quintavis Turner is the key to an offense that looks to be even better than the unit that averaged 33 points per game a season ago.

 

6. Blooming Grove Lions

  • Coach: Lawrence Williams
  • 2017 finish: 4-6
  • Returning starters: 5 offensive, 5 defensive

Players to watch

  • FB/DE Kenya Glasco, Sr., 5-7, 200
  • QB/LB Carson Rucks, Jr., 5-11, 175
  • OL/DL Carlos Flores, Jr., 5-9, 200
  • TE/LB Camden Rucks, Sr., 6-1, 205
  • OL/DL Tanner Drain, Jr., 6-2, 285

2018 outlook: It was a struggle for Blooming Grove to move the ball in 2017, averaging just 18 points per game on opposing defenses. Several new faces will be on the field on offense for the Lions this season, which means head coach Lawrence Williams will be counting on leadership from players like fullback Kenya Glasco and quarterback Carson Rucks to get things turned in the right direction. Like the offense, the Blooming Grove defense will be breaking in a half-dozen new starters. If the Lions wish to compete for the playoffs, they needed the wave of newcomers to match the level of the returning starters.

 

7. Dallas Gateway Gators

  • Coach: Antorio Kelly
  • 2017 finish: 4-8 (3A Division II area finalist)
  • Returning starters: 6 offensive, 7 defensive

Players to watch

  • TB Robert English III, Sr., 5-9, 155
  • WR/DB Isaiah Banks, Sr., 5-10, 175
  • QB/DB AD Shaw, Sr., 5-9, 140
  • FB/LB Courtney Montgomery, Jr., 6-0, 156
  • OL/DL Jalen Roberson, Sr., 6-5, 290

2018 outlook: Dallas Gateway reached the playoffs last season, and managed to secure a first-round victory. It figures to be much more difficult for the Gators this time around with their move up from 2A Division II to 3A Division II. Gateway brings back 13 starters, including tailback Robert English III and Isaiah Banks, but the level of competition they will see in 2018 will be much greater than the year before. Finding wins on the schedule is a difficult proposition at present time.

 

8. Scurry-Rosser Wildcats

  • Coach: Jeff Cleveland
  • 2017 finish: 0-10
  • Returning starters: 5 offensive, 6 defensive

Players to watch

  • DL Jack Bussey, Sr., 6-3, 230
  • TE Caden Fraser, Sr., 6-1, 205
  • OL/DL Brandon Laird, Sr., 6-3, 290
  • DB Brandon Birmingham, Jr., 5-10, 145
  • OL Andy Pool, Sr., 5-8, 285

2018 outlook: How does a team come back from an 0-10 season? Everyone will find out in the case of Scurry-Rosser, which has just one win total in the last two years. Exactly half of the Wildcats' starters from a season ago come back, including standout defensive lineman Jack Bussey, who was a bright spot in an otherwise dismal year for Scurry-Rosser. Tight end Caden Fraser is a big target in the passing game, but the Wildcats are in desperate need of more offensive playmakers. Scurry-Rosser averaged just 10.7 points per game in 2017.