The general feeling was that the Gilmer Buckeyes were a year ahead of schedule in 2012. Gilmer began the year with several new faces on the offensive side of the ball, but ended up playing for its fourth state title since 2004.

Fast forward a year and the expectations couldn't be any higher for Gilmer, which returns 13 starters from last season's 3A D-II state finalist.

The Buckeyes bring back 2,900-yard passer Tanner Barr (6-1, 180), 1,200-yard rusher Kris Boyd (6-0, 175), Texas A&M commit Josh Walker (6-1, 220) at linebacker and slew of other playmakers at the skill positions, including Jaidon Parrish (6-1, 185), Devondrick Dixon (5-9, 180) and Chase Tate (5-8, 150).

Despite being so young on offense, Gilmer averaged 37.4 points per game last season and 41.6 over its final 11 games. So believe it or not, those numbers could be even higher with the experience the Buckeyes bring back on that side of the ball.

The defense will be anchored by Walker, but he's not alone. Defensive lineman Demarco Boyd enjoyed breakout success last season as a freshman, and linebackers Ardarius Johnson and John McPherson give Gilmer a formidable front seven.

Gilmer's schedule is a formidable as ever, but the Buckeyes have never shied away from the spotlight of big games in coach Jeff Traylor's 13-year tenure. The "District of Doom" title may once again come down to the regular-season finale when Gilmer travels to Kilgore. But regardless of who wins, Gilmer figures to be a huge favorite to return to Arlington and play for another state title.

ETSN.fm 2013 Preseason East Texas Class 3A Poll