What a way to start the season in Class 2A, huh?

Tatum’s exploits are well-known statewide. The Eagles won back-to-back state titles in 2005-06 (3A D-II, 2A D-I) and fell in the 2007 2A D-I championship. Arp has had a lot of success lately, too, winning at least 10 games three of the last four years and six times since 2000.

But unlike Tatum, state championship hardware has eluded Arp, which has reached the quarterfinals six times and played in the state semifinals only once (2000).

This season, that could change.

Arp, which visits Tatum on Aug. 31 in a high-profile season opener, will try to start a promising 2012 campaign with a win against a Tatum team ranked No. 6 in the preseason Associated Press poll. Arp has garnered preseason respect as well as the top vote-getter outside the poll, putting the Tigers one point behind 10th-ranked Muleshoe.

Arp’s skill players, including Mikechell Potts, Michael Roberson, and John Hawkins, will face a tough task running on Tatum’s defensive front, which features 6-4, 292-pound tackle Tristan Durden and 6-3, 300-pound tackle Cambron Beall. That duo gives Tatum one of the largest defensive fronts in 2A.

The winner will be off to a strong start, but there’s no reason for the loser to fret too long. Besides losing to a quality opponent, the loser must recover quickly since it will face a quality opponent the next week -- Paul Pewitt for Arp, Winnsboro for Tatum.

Top 25 Games of the Year

No. 8: John Tyler vs. Corsicana

No. 9: Henderson vs. Chapel Hill

No. 10: Henderson vs. Kilgore

No. 11: Carthage vs. Chapel Hill

No. 12: Kilgore vs. Chapel Hill

No. 13: Chapel Hill vs. Gilmer

No. 14: Alto vs. San Augustine

No. 15: Texas High vs. Sulphur Springs

No. 16: Waco La Vega vs. Palestine

No. 17: Hughes Springs vs. Elysian Fields

No. 18: Gilmer vs. Atlanta

No. 19: Whitehouse vs. Carthage

No. 20: Daingerfield vs. New Boston

No. 21: Carlisle vs. Big Sandy

No. 22: Palestine vs. Jacksonville

No. 23: Tenaha vs. San Augustine

No. 24: Gilmer vs. Daingerfield

No. 25: John Tyler vs. Tyler Lee