District 14-3A, Division I lived up to its billing last season.
Edna, Goliad and Yoakum tied for the championship and played each other in the playoffs before the Bulldogs advanced to the state semifinals for the third consecutive season.
“I don’t care what anybody else says, this district is the toughest in the state,” said Robert Draper, who moved from offensive coordinator to head coach at Edna. “Luling is doing a good job trying to get their program back up, Coach (Tommy) Psencik at Hallettsville does a good job, Industrial will be better and of course, you have the three at the top with Goliad, Yoakum and us. Every week is going to be a battle.”
Goliad coach Bobby Nicholson wouldn’t be surprised if the playoff seeds aren’t decided until the final week like they were last season.
“This district is going to be tough,” Nicholson said. “It’s going to be up in the air, and everybody last year was senior-heavy. Edna lost Kenny Haynes, Yoakum lost skilled kids, but they have a lot of good athletes coming back from the JV. It’s a power football district.”
Yoakum, Edna and Goliad must replace starters, who played important roles.
“Overall, the district is probably not going to be as talented as it has been the last few years,” said Yoakum coach Bo Robinson. “It’s going to be very competitive. I don’t know what those guys have got. I know we all lost a lot of good players.”
Industrial claimed the fourth-place playoff berth last season and has the largest group of starters returning.
“We played a lot of youngsters last year, and we do return quite a bit. We do return some at some key spots that are going to help us,” said second-year Industrial coach Jamie Dixon. “Our offensive line is a year older, and they’re doing a great job. So is our defensive line, and that’s going to really help us.”
Hallettsville missed the playoffs last year and is still dealing with a lack of depth, although its numbers have improved.
“We’re just going to have to prove ourselves, basically,” Psencik said. “It’s going to come down to whether our kids are willing to sacrifice individually and as a team. A big key for us is going to be how physical we get as a team. It’s going to also be determined by how many of our players can give relief to our starters because we’ll have seven or eight going both ways.”
The teams advancing to the playoffs will likely face district rematches in the third and fourth rounds.
“We probably will. We probably will,” Robinson said. “That’s probably why we’ve played so deep the last few years. We’ve been in a tough district the last three years. You play good people early on in the season, and that makes you better. That gets you ready for long playoff runs.”