District 16-5A was so tough last year that the race was over with one week still to play.

We think it could be that way again this season with the Dragons and Wildcats once again sitting on the bubble as Halloween weekend begins. No disrespect to them, that's just how it is with John Tyler and Ennis as the evenly divided favorites and the rest of the eight-team league expected to be even stronger than last season.

The Oct. 30 meeting of Nacogdoches at Whitehouse is a big one. So big that it checks in as the No. 6 game as ETSN.fm counts down the top 25 regular season football games of 2015.

Nacogdoches senior safety Corey Lane was one of the heros in last year's game with Whitehouse. He recorded a 21-yard pick-six. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

It's the Dragons' second appearance on the list. Their game against Lufkin, another defining game for their season, is ranked No. 8.

Whitehouse will also play in the No. 17 top game, a non-district meeting against Chapel Hill.

The two teams in this game met on Halloween night last year, and it was a nightmare for the Wildcats. They blew a 19-point halftime lead and fell 46-36.

With Ennis, John Tyler and Lufkin already in, Nacogdoches' victory allowed it to clinch the fourth and final spot with a head-to-head tiebreaker and a two-game lead in the standings. The deflated Wildcats went on to lose to Lindale in the season finale, negating the tiebreaker and allowing the Dragons to advance with a better record outright.

Think about those teams ahead of Nacogdoches last season. Ennis, John Tyler and Lufkin are perennial playoffs teams. Combined in one league, odds are they're leaving only one unoccupied playoff spot.

Anyone up for round two of the same circumstance?

The Dragons will deal with a lot of unfamiliar faces in the game, but Whitehouse's M.O. is pretty simple. The Wildcats are going to air it out with junior quarterback Tanner Roach while senior receiver Trent Williams headlines an always-good receivers group.

Nacogdoches' equalizer will be its secondary and improved linebackers group. Brandon Jones, a senior safety, is regarded as one of the best players in the country. Fellow senior safety Corey Lane holds an offer from Louisiana Tech.

Of course, the teams are expected to be more than capable when the Dragons' offense meets the Wildcats' defense as well.

There are a lot of moving pieces to this match up.

Lindale and Corsicana should carry more district weight this season. Jacksonville could surprise.

Yet the meeting certainly will have playoff implications for at least one team. It just might have a consequence for every district member.

ETSN.fm's Top 25 Games of 2015