ETSN.fm Preseason Class 4A Poll: No. 4, Chapel Hill Bulldogs
In coach Thomas Sitton's five years at Chapel Hill, the Bulldogs' program has soared to new heights. Since 2009, Chapel Hill has played for a state championship, won a state title and advanced to the state quarterfinals.
Chapel Hill's 45-19 record over the past five seasons is the best in school history. And while two of the five years ended without trips to the playoffs, when the Bulldogs have gotten there, they'e done serious damage.
Sitton's career playoff record is 12-2 with both losses coming to East Texas programs -- Henderson in the 2010 3A Division I title game and Kilgore in last season's 3A D-I regional final.
Chapel Hill must replace the production of several key performers from a season ago, most notably quarterback Andrew Black, who totaled more than 4,100 yards and 49 touchdowns as a senior. Wesley Thompson, a 1,000-yard rusher, and Gabriel Robinson, a 1,000-yard receiver, are also gone. The defense was hit by graduation as well, after the loss of FBS signees Keith Minor (Cincinnati) and Shaquille Warren (ULM) off the defensive line.
Despite returning just six total starters from a year ago, expectations still remain high at Chapel Hill. The Bulldogs are ranked just outside of the Class 4A AP preseason top 10, and figure to present serious challenges to both Carthage and Kilgore -- last season's 3A D-I title game participants -- in district.
Junior fullback and linebacker Reggie King is one of the most talented players on the roster, senior wideout Jeffery Minor has the potential for a breakout season, Delenis Garrett and Ja'Braylon Franklin give the Bulldogs options at running back and the offensive line is expected to be strong once again this fall.
Defensively, senior Rex Cicero will team with Jeremy West and A.J. Mosley to form what has the makings for a good D-line, while King, Garrett and junior Deundre Phillips should provide Chapel Hill with great stability at the linebacker spot.
Chapel Hill will get ready for its run in 9-4A D-I with non-district games against Lindale, Whitehouse, Paris, Port Neches-Groves and Tatum.
2014 Chapel Hill Bulldogs Schedule
|Aug. 29||at Lindale||L 21-17|
|Sept. 5||vs. Whitehouse (at Rose Stadium, Tyler)||L 52-42|
|Sept. 12||Paris||W 51-41|
|Sept. 19||vs. Port Neches-Groves (at Abe Martin Stadium, Lufkin)||L 53-20|
|Sept. 26||Tatum||W 42-39|
|Oct. 10||*at Brownsboro||W 56-20|
|Oct. 17||*Palestine||W 76-36|
|Oct. 24||*at Kilgore||W 38-21|
|Oct. 31||*at Henderson||L 37-14|
|Nov. 7||*Carthage||L 28-21|
|Nov. 15||vs. Huffman Hargrave (at Lufkin)||W 57-43|
|Nov. 21||vs. Navasota (at Conroe)||L 49-28|