Brook Hill senior WR/DB Parker Galbraith. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

You talk to players on the 2016 Bullard Brook Hill roster, last season was just an aberration. It won't happen again for as long as it took for it happen.

We tend to believe the Guard, who had not missed the playoffs since their first year of competition in 2005 until last season. We see them back in the mix for a playoff spot one year removed from a 5-5 campaign that ended with them playing their best ball of the season.

Brook Hill will begin the season ranked fourth in ETSN.fm's Class 2A/Private Schools Poll. The ranking puts the Guard just ahead of Tyler Bishop Gorman in the No. 5 spot as well as Class 2A participants San Augustine, Shelbyville, Groveton, Joaquin and Big Sandy in ascending order.

The good news for the aforementioned 2A teams is, with Brook Hill and Gorman now in the poll, none of them are viewed worse than the 8th-best local team in the overall classification.

Maybe one or both of the remaining East Texas private schools will join the poll deeper into the countdown, moving the 2A schools even further up in their own class.

You'll see over the next few days.

The Guard will begin the season with a new head coach. Scott Ryle joined the program after three seasons guiding North Cobb Christian High School in Georgia.

Ryle, an Illinois native, does have some Texas experience as well. He was an assistant at Fort Worth Southwest Christian prior to taking the main job at North Cobb Christian.

Brook Hill's cupboard is hardly bare, but it will be tough to overcome the loss of receiver Seth Brasher to a baseball career at Louisiana Tech. Despite team struggles, Brasher caught 55 passes for 1,288 yards and 12 touchdowns off a season-ending ACL injury as a junior.

The tandem of Parker Galbraith and Alec Kitt might be enough to help the Guard overcome the loss of its brightest star. Both are big targets that can free up other passing lanes as much at catching the ball themselves.

Ryle also might have inherited an upgrade at the quarterback position. Former Bullard quarterback Hood Taylor is in the fold and should be a two-year solution.

Offensive athleticism is further enhanced by running backs Jordon McGowen and Brooks Parham. McGowen will begin the season with Division II college football interest.

All of the athletes mentioned can also lend a hand on the defensive side of things. McGowen and Parham, in particular, thrive as linebackers.

There are challenges toward making a playoff run, though.

Obviously, Gorman is one team in the way. The other East Texas teams might be as well.

But Dallas Christian, coming off its second straight TAPPS Division II state championship game appearance, has at least tied for a share of districts involving at least one East Texas team the past five seasons. And adding TAPPS Division III state runner-up Cedar Hill Trinity Christian did none of the district teams any favors.

Still, this should be a good Guard team.

2016 Brook Hill Guard Football Schedule

[table id=1381 /]

ETSN.fm Preseason Class 2A/Private Schools Poll