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5 THINGS to watch this football season

By MIKE FORMAN
Aug. 26, 2013 at 3:26 a.m.

Victoria East's Jose Oviedo runs with the ball during a scrimmage against Cuero at Gobbler Stadium.

The wait is almost over. The high school football season kicks off this week. Here are five things to watch this season.

  1. Why wait until Friday?

Victoria West, Calhoun and Runge will get off to an early start and play Thursday night. West will be at Memorial Stadium to host Lockhart, Calhoun travels to Corpus Christi's Buccaneer Stadium to play Corpus Christi Carroll, and Runge will be at home against the Gonzales junior varsity. Twenty-two area games are on the schedule for Friday. Weimar is the only area team which has an open date on Zero Week.

  1. New faces on the sidelines

Rarely does an offseason go by without coaching changes. This offseason was no exception. Six area teams will have a new head coach. Jimmie Mitchell has taken over at Beeville, Brad Bowden at Palacios, Gary Zeinert at Rice Consolidated,Ty Robinson at Yorktown, David Husmann at Weimar, and Matt Wright at Runge.

Zeinert, Wright and Husmann were promoted from assistant positions at their respective schools. Robinson was the defensive coordinator at Palestine and is the brother of Bo Robinson, the head coach at La Vernia. Mitchell was the head coach at Sealy last season and previously coached at Sinton. Bowden was the head coach at Early and was previously an assistant at Aransas Pass and Skidmore-Tynan. Husmann led Schulenburg to the 1991 and 1992 Class 2A state championships.

  1. More to the dance

The most significant change heading into this season will come in Classes 3A and 2A, where four teams from each district instead of three will advance to the playoffs. As a result, Class 2A district championship teams in Division I and Division II will no longer have a bye in the bi-district playoffs. Instead, they will play a fourth-place team in the first round.

Teams in Class 3A will be divided into Division I and Division II after district play. The two teams with the largest enrollments will go into Division I and will be seeded according to their district finish.

The UIL is also adapting the NCAA's targeting rule for hits. But unlike college football, players who are ejected because of the rule will not be suspended for the next game.

  1. Streaks, good and bad

Refugio had its area-best 27-game winning streak snapped in its Class 2A, Division II quarterfinal playoff loss to East Bernard. But the Bobcats go into this season having won 61 consecutive regular-season games, 38 straight games at Jack Sportsman Bobcat Stadium and 37 consecutive district games. In addition, Refugio has made an area-best 22 straight UIL playoff appearances.

Shiner St. Paul is coming off a TAPPS Division III state championship. The Cardinals have made 27 consecutive TAPPs playoff appearances. Hallettsville Sacred Heart is not far behind with 25 straight trips to the postseason.

On the flip side, Bloomington goes into the season with a 19-game losing streak. Bay City has lost 15 consecutive games. Bloomington will be trying to snap a 58-game district losing streak. Bloomington's last district win came on the final game of the 2002 season.

  1. The ultimate destination

Refugio traveled to Cowboys Stadium in 2011 and brought back the Class 2A, Division II state championship. El Campo made the trek to Arlington last season before losing in the Class 3A, Division I state final. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sold the naming rights to the facility, and it is now known as AT&T Stadium. But area UIL teams still hope to be there Dec. 19, 20 or 21 to play for a state championship.

Shiner St. Paul traveled to Baylor's Floyd Casey Stadium last season and won the TAPPS Division III state championships. Area TAPPS teams hope to be making a trip to Corsicana's Tiger Stadium on Dec. 7 for this season's state championship games.

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