Wide Open District 13-3A Race Features Only One Team with a Winning Record So Far This Year
Few East Texas districts seem to be as hard to predict entering this week's round of league openers than District 13-3A.
Atlanta (3-2) is the district's only team with a record north of .500. ETSN.fm preseason pick Liberty-Eylau is 2-3, but has faced some tough competition. Defending district champion Paris is 1-4 after facing a daunting non-district schedule.
Atlanta has won 3 of 4 games since a lopsided season-opening loss at Gilmer. Two of those wins were especially impressive -- 48-35 vs. perennial Class 2A power Daingerfield and 32-14 against Class 4A Mount Pleasant.
That win against the Tigers is probably the most intriguing of any of 13-3A's teams' non-district victories. Mount Pleasant also played Liberty-Eylau and beat the Leopards 34-20. However, Mount Pleasant was at full strength against L-E, which was missing senior standout Davion Hall in that contest. When Atlanta beat Mount Pleasant two weeks ago, the Tigers were without starting running back T.L. Taylor (564 rushing yards) and senior cornerback Ladarius Craddock, who has 10 interceptions since the beginning of last year.
Liberty-Eylau has also suffered losses to Class 4A Texas High and fellow 3A program Celina, one of the state's most storied programs. Those losses, which were closer than their 22-point and 16-point margins suggest, skew L-E's record a bit.
Pittsburg has had its only injury troubles, which have contributed to the Pirates' three-game slide that sends them to Friday's district opener at Paris North Lamar with a 2-3 record. Nevertheless, the Pirates have also played a relatively tough schedule as their three losses have come against teams with a 14-3 cumulative record.
Paris has suffered four lopsided losses, but those came against teams with a 17-5 combined record. Pleasant Grove is also 1-4 with losses to strong 2A teams in New Boston and Tatum, while North Lamar may be the hardest team to gauge entering district play. The 2-3 Panthers have lost to 2A Commerce and Bonham -- teams that are a combined 3-8 -- but have wins against fellow 3A schools Canton and Quinlan Ford.
The jumbled district race is hard to decipher right now, but a few key games should have a huge impact on determining the champion and playoff qualifiers.
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* -- denotes playoff berth
Friday's District 13-3A Openers
- Pleasant Grove at Liberty-Eylau
- Pittsburg at Paris North Lamar
- Paris at Atlanta