Karnes City came one game short of ending a five-year playoff drought in 2020.
After losing their first four games, the Badgers defeated second-seed Stockdale 28-27 in their final game but lost a tie breaker to George West for fourth place.
Poth and George West look to be the favorites in District 15-3A, Division II, but Karnes City has the numbers to make a run with 19 lettermen returning.
“The attitude has been awesome,” said Karnes City head coach Daniel Oelschlegel. “It’s been a complete buy in from our kids and we told them it’s going to be different, it’s going to be hard but it’s going to be worth it. I think they have embraced that and I’m really looking forward to this season with these kids.”
Warrick Thompson and Jerrick Beaver are speedy wide receivers who also play in the secondary. Karnes City will have to find a quarterback but will benefit from Joey Valdez and Zeke Guzman anchoring the offensive line.
Nixon-Smiley will continue to rebuild under first-year head coach Troy Moses.
The Mustangs have to recover from losing a large senior class and will rely on players like Bradyn Martinez and Sebastian Ortiz to have an impact both ways.
Nixon-Smiley went 3-6 overall and 1-5 in district in 2020. Its last playoff appearance was in 2019.
“Right now we’re focusing on us,” Moses said. “We’re not really concerned about our opponents or anything like that right now. The only thing we can control is who we are and the effort and attitude that we come to practice with everyday.”