Pittsburg isn't a team getting a lot of love at the state level, but we believe the still somewhat young Pirates are a real threat to contend to the District 7-4A Division I crown with 15 starters returning to the 2014 team from a squad that made the area round of the playoffs last season.

They're going to get a good test from Gladewater on Sept. 5 at the Bears' Jack V. Murphy Stadium.

It's the No. 9 game in ETSN.fm's top 25 match ups of the 2014 season, and it begins a rough two-game, non-district stretch for Pittsburg with a trip to New Boston the very next week.

The Pirates return eight offensive starters, including the core of a big line. That will be a nice challenge for Gladewater defensive tackle and long-time Texas A&M verbal commitment Daylon Mack.

Pittsburg linebacker Fre'Zarrian Harrison anchors a defense returning seven starters from last year's team. He'll also play some running back. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

The 315-pounder anchors a Bears defense with eight returning starters.

Gladewater had a rocky regular season a year ago, but it came alive in the playoffs. The squad made a run to the Class 3A Division I Region II championship game and has 18 returning staters overall.

The Bears are a District 6-4A Division II favorite entering the season.

Pittsburg's defense won't be an easy group to get behind. The unit features good looking players in linebackers Fre'Zarrian Harrison and Sir Charles Perkins. There are two returning players on the defensive line and two more experienced players in the secondary.

Gladewater's defensive unit has received more attention. Mack is considered one of the best defensive linemen in the nation. Junior defensive end Quanterious Turner isn't much smaller and will likely field college interest during the season.

Safety Daylon Gordon holds up the back end of the Bears defense.

There's a lot to like about the two teams offensively as well.

Gladewater running back James Reese had about 1,700 rushing yards last season. A good group of receivers on the roster create a one-two punch.

Pittsburg quarterback Billy Kimble could emerge as a player to watch this season. Combined with running back Tray Walker and several two-way starters, including Harrison and Perkins, the Pirates should be equally potent on the offensive side.

This game could go many ways. Buckle up.

ETSN.fm's Top 25 Games of 2014