’s Class 2A East Texas preseason poll begins with Big Sandy in the No. 10 spot.

Things look pretty good for the Wildcats despite the fact head coach Larry Minter is forced to replace 13 starters from last year's Class 2A Division I bi-district finalist squad. Many key pieces from that team were younger players.

Explosive running back Seth Burk headlines returners. As a sophomore, he ran for 850 yards on just 60 touches -- an average of 14.1 yards per carry.

Big Sandy's defense is the absolute early strength though. It brings back five of the nine starters, including linebacker Nic Kilburn.

Kilburn recorded 104 tackles his junior season and is now 6 feet and 165 pounds. He played last season at 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds.

Austin Restine is back to shore up the defensive line at tackle. He recorded 74 tackles in last year's 11-game campaign, a nice number for someone at his position.

The Wildcats' district is dramatically different. Their only familiar league opponents this year will be Hawkins and Union Grove.

Big Sandy split those games last season, a huge win against Hawkins and a four-point loss to Union Grove. Both of those opponents return the bulk of their teams.

Cayuga, Cross Roads and Kerens make up the other half of the new league. Only Cayuga, which returns nine starters, reached the playoffs -- with a 2-8 regular season record.

Kerens, however, returns 16 starters from last year's 4-6 team.

There should be room to run for all four teams that qualify from District 10-2A Division I. And both Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine and The Old Coach's Friday Night Football magazine peg Big Sandy as the league champion.

The adjacent District 9-2A Division I is easily the region's weakest. Only one team reached .500 in the regular season last year, Wolfe City.

2016 Big Sandy Wildcats Schedule

Aug. 26QuitmanW 43-8
Sept. 2at AltoL 44-21
Sept. 9at ClarksvilleW 56-15
Sept. 16HarletonW 34-18
Sept. 23Mount EnterpriseW 51-0
Sept. 30OPEN
Oct. 7*Cross RoadsW 70-7
Oct. 14*KerensW 35-33
Oct. 20*at Union GroveL 28-20
Oct. 28*HawkinsW 62-19
Nov. 4*at CayugaL 39-35
Nov. 10(BI-DISTRICT): vs. Simms BowieW 48-0
Nov. 19(AREA): vs. San AugustineL 50-47 Preseason Class 2A/Private Schools Poll

  • No. 10: Big Sandy