DISTRICT 26-3A: Yoakum, Cuero coaches expect weekly test in district
Cuero had its 42-game district winning streak come to an end last season and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
The Gobblers could have a difficult time getting back on the winning track after moving to District 26-3A with Texas Football picking them to finish last.
The prediction is not so much a slam at Cuero, but more a nod to Gonzales, Yoakum, Giddings, La Grange and Smithville, which make up the district.
"It's a testament to the strength of our district," said first-year Cuero coach Travis Reeve.
The woes experienced by Cuero were in direct contrast to Gonzales, which enjoyed one of the best seasons in school history.
The Apaches went 11-1, losing in the area playoffs to eventual Division II state champion Wimberley.
"The kids expect to win," said Gonzales coach Ricky Lock. "They have a lot of confidence coming off of last season."
Gonzales appears to have the personnel to contend for another district title.
The Apaches lost two all-state players on defense, but return free safety Zack Lopez, defensive end turned linebacker John Miller, running back Cecil Johnson and all but one starter on the offensive line.
"We lost some key personnel on defense, but we have two all-state guys back," Lock said. "We've got four or five starters and three or four guys who played a lot. It will still be a matter of staying healthy and eligible. But we've been able to do that the last few years."
Yoakum hasn't been to the playoffs since 2009, but the Bulldogs have reason for optimism with the return of a number of experienced players at the skill positions.
"The great thing about it is we have an influx of skill kids who have played before so we just don't have to plug them in," said Yoakum coach Brent Kornegay. "They have a good idea of what we're trying to do."
Kornegay is impressed with the overall depth of the district.
"We're going to have to play with consistency," Kornegay said. "You have a lot of quality football players and they are very well coached. I really believe the sixth-place team could beat the first-place team if they're not ready to play."
Reeve wants to make sure the Gobblers are not the sixth-place team.
"It's a change on both sides of the ball," Reeve said. "It's a matter of the kids understanding what it is we're trying to accomplish. We just have to get better at what we're doing each week."
• Coach: Brent Kornegay
• Years at current school: 4
• Record at current school: 14-18
• Years as head coach: 10
• Overall record: 52-45
• Last year's record: 6-4, 3-3 in district
• Last playoff appearance: 2009, area
Returning starters: WB/DB Blake McCracken, FB/LB Devante Price, RB Myron Hights, DB Timmy Blakeney, WR/DB Keith Ratley, DT Rico Perry, OL Zain Terry, LB Braden Drozd, DT Willie Hights, OL Jakoby West, OL Tony Ratley, RB Reagan Jacobs, OL Riley Rutledge, DE Ryan Kvinta, LB Troy Macha
• Coach: Ricky Lock
• Years at current school: 4
• Record at current school: 28-7
• Years as head coach: 16
• Overall record: 105-66
• Last year's record: 11-1, 6-0 in district
• Last playoff appearance: 2011, area
• Returning starters: OG/LB J.T. Miller, OG/DT Damien Airhart, C/DT Zach Perez-Clack, OT Tyler Filla, RB Cecil Johnson, TE Cameron Smith, QB Matt Hillman, WR Collin Russell, FS Zack Lopez, DT Jordan Johnson, DE Ray Flores.
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• Coach: Travis Reeve
• Years at current school: 1
• Years as head coach: 1
• Last year's record: 3-7, 3-3 in district
• Last playoff appearance: 2010, area
• Returning starters: OL/DL Caleb Harvey, OL Hudson Haas, FB/LB Logan Goebel, TB/FS D'Anthony Hopkins, WR Ross Reimenschneider, DL J'Von Thomas.