ETSN.fm 2013 Preseason Class 5A/4A Poll: No. 10 Hallsville
Kicking off ETSN.fm's preseason East Texas Class 5A/4A top 10 is a Hallsville program coming off back-to-back playoff appearances.
Several key cogs from last year's 7-4 team are gone, such as new Abilene Christian offensive lineman Hayden Wall, Tarleton State linebacker Cayden Ferrill, and quarterback Austin Toney. Wall was a first-team selection to the 2012 ETSN.fm East Texas Super Team.
But head coach David Plunk, who enters his ninth season leading the Bobcats, welcomes back eight offensive starters from a team that averaged 30.9 points per game.
Macailyn Wilder is back after running for 862 yards and 18 touchdowns as a run-first quarterback last season, while Andre Jones returns after leading the 'Cats in receiving with 49 catches for 692 yards and two scores. Senior Stephon Dunn, who got experience at quarterback last season playing for the Longview Lobos, should also see time running the Bobcats' offense.
Another weapon will be senior kicker Paden Brown, who hit all nine of his field-goal attempts and all but one of his PAT tries in 2012.
Defensively, the Bobcats return only five starters and must replace a three-year starter in Ferrill. Plunk will lean on veteran linebacker Tyler Martinez and big junior defensive back Dewayne Johnson (6-2, 210) to hold down the back seven early in the schedule. Hallsville yielded 24.3 points per game last season, which shouldn't be an out-of-reach goal if the new faces jell with the system.
The Bobcats won't be a favorite to win the District 14-4A crown, especially with a final three-game stretch of at Sulphur Springs, vs. Mount Pleasant, and at Texas High. Nevertheless, ETSN.fm expects Hallsville to make its third consecutive playoff appearance.