It’s going to be tough to catch Buffalo. It’s not impossible, but the Bison are fresh off their first playoff win in 55 years and have the depth and talent to stay on top of District 12-3A Division I for some time.
Nipping at Buffalo’s heels are Hearne and New Waverly, and they aren’t too far behind. Both the Eagles and Bulldogs made it to the postseason a year ago, with New Waverly bowing out in the area finals.
Hearne is the intriguing pick in this district. The Eagles return eight starters offensively and seven defensively, including playmaking receiver Javareyon Bailey and running back Derek Walker.
With a new coach, Marlin aims to get back to the playoffs after posting a 3-7 record in 2016.
New head coach Stephen Hodge, a former NFL player, should bring the discipline needed to get the Bulldogs back in contention in a few seasons, but could bring Marlin closer to a winning record in 2017.
- LAST SEASON — 6-4 (2-4)
- RETURNING STARTERS — 5 offensive, 7 defensive
- COACH J.B. CHANEY — 13-17 at Bruceville-Eddy
All-time: 285-501-29 since 1926
Playoff history: 3-4-1 in 5 trips, most recently 1985; 0 state championships
Outlook: Bruceville-Eddy had a good year in 2016, narrowly missing the playoffs while posting a winning record, the first of its kind since head coach J.B. Chaney took over the program three years ago.
The Eagles are on the cusp of putting a postseason push together and may have the veteran leadership to do it in 2017. It all starts up front offensively for Bruceville-Eddy, with three experienced big men in Austin Culver, Kris West and Dylan Garner protecting speedy quarterback D.J. Weaver, a dual-threat option who can score quickly.
Defensively, the Eagles are led by their linebacking duo. Blake Weaver and Reid Petree combined for nearly 200 tackles a season ago. Quick cornerback Whitley Wright gives Bruceville-Eddy a good presence in the secondary to protect the deep ball.
9/1 at Moody 7:30
9/8 at Axtell 7:30
9/15 Early 7:30
9/22 Clifton 7:30
9/29 Leon 7:30*
10/6 at Buffalo 7:30*
10/13 Anderson-Shiro 7:30*
10/20 at Hearne 7:30*
10/27 New Waverly 7:30*
11/10 at Marlin 7:30*
- LAST SEASON — 3-7 (1-5)
- RETURNING STARTERS — 10 offensive, 9 defensive
- COACH STEPHEN HODGE — 0-0 at Marlin
All-time: 555-441-34 since 1907
Playoff history: 36-22 in 23 trips, most recently 2012; 0 state championships
Outlook: Just a season removed from their first playoff victory since 2011, new head coach Stephen Hodge hopes to guide the Bulldogs back to their winning ways after a 3-7 record last year. Hodge was a standout at TCU and was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys before an injury ended his NFL career.
WR/DB Alik Brooks was all-district both ways in 2016, and should be a key playmaker.
8/31 vs Blooming Grove (at Waco ISD) 7:30
9/8 at Troy 7:30
9/15 Rogers 7:30
9/22 McGregor 7:30
10/6 at Leon 7:30*
10/13 Buffalo 7:30*
10/20 at Anderson-Shiro 7:30*
10/27 Hearne 7:30*
11/3 at New Waverly 7:30*