Tidehaven, Rice Consolidated and Van Vleck all made the playoffs out of District 14-3A, Division II, but not one made it out of the bi-district round.
Tidehaven is seeking its ninth straight playoff appearance, Rice Consolidated is looking for its fourth straight and first-year head coach Rodney Dowell aims to build off Van Vleck’s playoff berth last season.
“To us last year was kind of a disappointment,” said Tidehaven head coach David Lucio. “We played a lot of freshmen, they’re a year older now. I’ve got a real strong senior class, real strong sophomore class. We got a few more coaches to make our coaching staff better. So, we’re actually pretty excited about this year with what we’ve got coming back as far as coaches and players.”
Tidehaven returns 12 starters and is led by quarterback Logan Crow, who threw for 1,076 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for 914 yards and 10 scores.
Rice Consolidated head coach Jared Sloan has led the Raiders to the playoffs all three years and is looking to make it four-in-a-row with his original freshman class.
“They understand what we’re asking them to do, the work ethic, the mentality, the leadership from some of those guys,” Sloan said. “We’ve had a couple young guys that have leadership potential step up this summer and I’m really looking forward to seeing them put it all together and have the chance to make plays on Friday nights.”
District MVP Michael Flores returns at linebacker, while running backs James Cotton and James Hurd are expected to lead the Raiders offense.
Dowell returns to Van Vleck after working as an assistant in 2010 and 2011.
Van Vleck returns 12 starters. Quarterback Payton Brown will lead the Leopards’ offense and Garrett Chambless will anchor both sides of the line.
So far, Dowell has been impressed by the player turnout and the support from the Van Vleck community.
“If we can keep everybody united and directed in the right direction everything will work out,” Dowell said. “I think as far as the coaching staff goes, I can’t be more pleased with the effort that they have shown and bringing new coaches in we had a good summer kind of melding together and building a family and we’re excited about that.”
East Bernard is the reigning district champion and has won district nine out of the last 10 years.