(Editor's Note: This is part of a series of articles going up this week by the hosts of The Big Friday Night Scoreboard Program covering high school football teams in the KETR listening area. We continue the series with District 7-3A D1.)
A look at the season
District 7-3A D1: Commerce, Farmersville, Mineola, Mount Vernon, Quitman, Winnsboro
Commerce Tigers: After a disappointing 2-8 season, it was obvious that then-head coach Jeff Cleveland wasn’t the answer in Commerce. The Tigers come into 2017 with a new head coach, Cody Farrell, as well as a new coaching staff hoping to turn things around. With a total of 16 starters returning, the Tigers looks to improve this season. QB Casey Shields (437 passing yards, 3 TDs) and RB Isiah Askew (488 rushing yards, 5 TDs) will be key in running Farrell’s new spread offense.
Players to watch: RB Isiah Askew, QB/WR Casey Shields, OL Jamion Shaw, RB D.J. Thomas, WR/DB K.D. Williams, DB/WR Kedriq Kelley, DB Larrance Hickson, QB Jordan Miller, LB Michael Powell, PK Jordy Ramirez, LB Tucson Clayton, RB/LB Nick Aaron, OL Randal Wagner, and OL DeAndre Manning
Farmersville Farmers: After finishing 2016 with an impressive 11-2 record and as a D1 regional semifinalist, the Farmers are predicted to win the district this season. Two players to definitely keep an eye on this season are RB Cade Twyford and DB Kobie Sheriff, who will play both sides of the ball and also return kicks.
Players to watch: RB Cade Twyford, DB Kobie Sheriff, WR Robert Aqueros, DB Shawn Parker, OL Jose Gomez, OL Brandon Spruill, RB Adrian Castillo, FB Clay Hibbits, QB Michael Bagwell, OL Chandler Craddock, and WR Gareth Harp
Mineola Yellowjackets: The Yellowjackets are definitely the powerhouse of District 7-3A D1 not only by finishing 2016 with a 14-2 record and District title, but also the state title. Head coach Luke Blackwell hopes the defending state champion can keep things rolling. The versatile Shawmon Franklin will get his first chance to be Mineola’s starting QB. However, the Yellowjackets may struggle to win the District title again due to the fact that they only have two returning starters on offense and four on defense.
Players to watch: RB/DB Curtis London, WR/DB Cameron Sorenson, OL/DL Cameron Wise, OL Hugo Sanchez, QB/DB Shawmon Franklin, DB Dalton Harris, and DL/RB Alex Evans
Mount Vernon Tigers: The Tigers come into 2017 loaded with talent. RB Kevin Evans (900 rushing, 600 receiving yards) is an offensive threat that makes defenses sweat every time he touches the ball. Another impact player, RB/DB Kason Pletcher (700 rushing, 200 receiving yards; 84 tackles, 9 PBU, 3 INTs) who put up astonishing numbers last season, has shown that he has big time potential on both sides of the ball. If Pletcher and Evans put up similar numbers this season, Mount Vernon could run their way into the playoffs, literally.
Players to watch: RB Kevin Evans, RB/DB Kason Pletcher, OL/LB Kaden Proffitt, RB/DB Cameron Woods, ATH Brent Baird, OL/DL Christian Chamness, TE/LB Payton Graves, TE/DL Braden Bolin, RB/DL John Haller, OL/LB Aaron Torres, ATH Mason Huddleston, OL Will Gamblin, OL Jorge Gutierrez, RB/DB Trey Wickware, RB/LB Lee Reeves, and OL/DL Kaleb Davilla
Quitman Bulldogs: What comes after 33? That’s right. Not only did the Quitman Bulldogs finishing 0-10 last season, they haven’t won a game since 2013. However, new head coach Bryan Oakes brings with him a new staff and new energy to help turn things around, hoping the Bulldogs can get a win this season and end the losing streak.
Players to watch: OL/DL Sebastian Howell, RB/DB A.J. Dunn, OL/DL Gage Tolle, LB Julius Watson, DB Hugo Ramirez, DB Gavin Derryberry, and WR/DB Dylan Coe
Winnsboro Red Raiders: Not the air raid Red Raiders like Texas Tech, but Winnsboro does have plenty of talent. However with only ten starters returning they may struggle some in district play. One player that will definitely make an impact on both sides of the ball is sophomore OL/DL John McCurdy.
Players to watch: QB/DB Logan Cortez, TE/DL Ty Simon, TE/DL Isiah Benton, RB/LB Colby Brown, OL/DL Jared Yarbrough, RB/DB Desmond Allen, OL/DL John McCurdy, and RB/LB Ethan Ward
Predictions for the district:
Who makes the playoffs:
3. Mount Vernon
Outside looking in (misses playoffs):
6. Grand Saline