Shelbyville broke out last season. Do the Dragons have anything left in the tank?

We think so.

Jason Ferguson's squad will begin the year ranked seventh in's Class 2A/Private Schools Poll on the heels of a 2A Division I regional championship game appearance a year ago. Shelbyville is ranked ahead of No. 10 Big Sandy, No. 9 Joaquin and No. 8 Groveton.

You'll notice all four of East Texas private schools participating in TAPPS are still available to come into the poll. If one of those four gets placed further down the poll, that means Shelbyville is better than the seventh-best 2A team.

Time will tell.

The Dragons are a mix of half-and-half this season. Twelve starters are gone from the four-round-deep team a year ago and 10 remain.

Defense will be the team's strength at the outset of the season.

Defensive back Terrell Cartwright is back after recording 100 tackles and four interceptions last season as is linebacker and negative yardage leader Trace Brittain. Together, they're two of six experienced players on that side the ball.

Shelbyville averaged about 12 points against per game last season.

However, Ferguson will have to find seven good new starters on the offensive side to fully rebuild a unit that averaged 26 points a game. Then we can start talking about a fourth-round appearance and beyond.

Great non-district contests against Arp and Corrigan-Camden just before hopping into District 11-2A Division I play should have the Dragons as prepared as possible for some real tests in games that matter.

Joaquin is already ranked.

Alto, San Augustine and Carlisle also could be challenges. If not ranked challenges.

2016 Shelbyville Dragons Schedule

Aug. 26at ElkhartL 42-28
Sept. 2HemphillW 20-6
Sept. 9GarrisonL 37-19
Sept. 16at ArpL 62-14
Sept. 23at Corrigan-CamdenL 40-26
Sept. 30OPEN
Oct. 7*San AugustineL 40-24
Oct. 14*at JoaquinL 29-18
Oct. 21*CushingW 35-18
Oct. 28*at CarlisleL 48-0
Nov. 4 *AltoL 54-13 Preseason Class 2A/Private Schools Poll