Region III in Class 3A Division II may be the most competitive in the entire state, regardless of classification.

The Crockett Bulldogs can attest to that.

Despite fielding one of the most talented teams, Crockett fell short of claiming a regional championship by two rounds. Its two losses came to regional finalist Newton in the District 10-3A opener, and to eventual state semifinalist Arp in the third round of the playoffs.

Crockett is hoping to clear the hurdle in 2017, and the Bulldogs begin the year ranked No. 10 in our preseason Class 3A poll.

With 12 returning starters, there is plenty of reason for optimism.

Crockett, however, will have to replace a healthy contingent of playmakers from an offense that averaged more than 40 points per game in 2016.

Derrick Sherman and Alton Owens should figure into the plans quite extensively on offense, while linebacker Reginald Lockhart anchors a defense that brings back eight starters from a season ago.

Newton will once again be the favorite to claim the 10-3A title, which would leave Crockett in the same position as last year.

Another loaded field in Region III will await the Bulldogs in the playoffs.

ETSN.fm Preseason Class 3A Poll

  • No. 10: Crockett Bulldogs