When one of the state’s most popular football magazines, Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, hits newsstands Friday, several local teams and their fans will have plenty to get excited for next season.
The expectations will be as high as they can be for La Marque, as the magazine has the Cougars tabbed as its preseason No. 1 team in the state and projected state champion in Division II-4A.
Dave Campbell’s analysis points to La Marque’s fast-paced rushing attack featuring a trio of talented running backs — Ladarrian Ellis-Jones, Daequan Jones and Alex Cooper — and Bellaire High transfer Jalen Williams at quarterback as a key reason the Cougars will be favored to bring home a state title.
After quarterbacking the team last season, Ellis-Jones is expected to be featured more as a rusher in 2014, where the magazine expects great things. Ellis-Jones was named to the publication’s Preseason 4A All-State Team as a utility player and is its preseason District 10-4A MVP.
La Marque head coach Mike Jackson was named as the Coach of the Year on Dave Campbell’s Preseason Class 4A All-State Team.
Texas City made Dave Campbell’s preseason top 40 statewide poll in class 5A at No. 37, but the Stings have three schools in their own district ranked ahead of them. The Stings will have to make up for the loss of 42 seniors and return just four starters on each side of the ball in what should be a very difficult District 23-5A.
The clear star of the Texas City squad, according to the magazine, will be linebacker D’Vonta Hinton, who was named Second Team defense on Dave Campbell’s All-State Super Team and was a Preseason Class 5A All-State pick. Hinton, a Texas Tech commit, was also named preseason district MVP.
No local teams cracked the preseason top 40 poll in class 6A, but the Clear Creek Wildcats were highlighted as a potential dark horse that could have a successful season after flying under the radar.
The Wildcats, led by returning stars Landon Etzel at wide receiver and defensive end Nik Daniels, are the magazine’s pick to win District 24-6A, which features many local standouts.
Running back Matthew Guidry of Clear Springs, picked to finish third in the district, was highlighted by the magazine as a “money player” in class 6A. The magazine called Guidry, who is used by the Chargers as a running and receiving weapon, a talent worth the price of admission. Guidry also is Dave Campbell’s preseason district offensive MVP.
Clear Falls is projected to finish fifth in the district, but had two star players recognized by the magazine. Defensive lineman Rahn Bailey was named to the Preseason 6A All-State Team, and linebacker Marcus Foster was picked as preseason district defensive MVP.
Other prognostications made by the magazine include:
• Friendswood, moving up from 4A to 6A, finishing second in District 24-6A;
• Dickinson making the playoffs with a fourth-place finish in 24-6A;
• Santa Fe finishing sixth out of eight teams in District 23-5A;
• Ball High finishing seventh in 23-5A;
• Hitchcock just missing the cut for the playoffs with a fifth-place finish in District 14-3A; and
• High Island qualifying for the postseason with a second-place finish in District 16-1A.