Unbeaten Franklin Still the 11-2A D-I Favorite, But Can Elkhart + Crockett Break Through?
It's clear after five weeks, the Franklin Lions are once again the favorites to claim the District 11-2A Division I championship, but a few surprises within the league could make for an interesting finish.
Elkhart, which finished just 2-8 last year, went 4-1 in non-district on the legs of senior running back Jeffery Wilson. The talented back, who has FBS offers from New Mexico State, North Texas, Texas State and ULM, has rushed for 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns.
The Elks' non-district run featured wins over 1A powers Alto (36-35) and Joaquin (34-28 in overtime). Elkhart lost to both teams by a combined score of 97-49 in 2012.
Crockett was just 1-9 last season, but the Bulldogs have already eclipsed last year's win total by going 2-3 in non-district. Crockett picked up wins over Lexington (35-34) and Class 3A Rusk (22-14), but has lost three straight entering Friday's action.
Franklin (5-0), ranked No. 8 in the latest Associated Press Class 2A poll, has dominated its 2013 opponents. The Lions' run-heavy offense is averaging 52.4 points per game, while the defense is allowing only 16.6. However, the combined record of Franklin's five opponents -- Hearne, Riesel, Lexington, Caldwell and Austin St. Michael's -- is just 4-20.
Teague, last season's district runner-up, looks to be in good shape for a return trip to the playoffs. The Lions are 3-2, but have impressive non-district wins over Buffalo (58-13), Groesbeck (56-22) and Waco Reicher (53-20). Running back John Love has torched opposing defenses to the tune of 1,135 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Trinity is also 3-2 and has victories over Groveton (30-6), Grapeland (52-16) and New Waverly (22-10) to its credit. However, those three teams are a combined 4-11. The Tigers suffered a 31-14 loss to Alto in their non-district finale two weeks ago.
Palestine Westwood (1-4) struggled during non-district. The Panthers were outscored 223-93, and their lone win came against a 1-4 Huntington team.
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* -- denotes playoff berth
Friday's District 11-2A Division I Openers
- Crockett at Elkhart
- Frankston at Palestine Westwood
- Trinity at Teague