Mavs, Bobcats predicted to make the playoffs
By Tyler Clifton firstname.lastname@example.org
June 25, 2012 at 10 p.m.
Predictions are worth about as much as the paper they're written on, but Marshall and Hallsville football fans are hoping the choices of a popular magazine hold true to form once the 2012 season rolls around.
Dave Campbell's 2012 Texas Football and TexasFootball.com have chosen the Mavericks and Bobcats to both make the playoffs, as Hallsville was chosen third and Marshall fourth in the 53rd annual edition that hit newsstands late last week.
Hallsville (5-6) broke a five-year playoff drought in 2011 before losing to current district mate Sulphur Springs in the bi-district round. The Bobcats secured the fourth and final playoff berth in a season which included a 24-21 home win against rival Marshall.
The Mavericks (2-8) look to bounce back after a subpar season which saw them win only one district game in head coach Alex Richters' first season. Four of their five non-district games this fall are against 2011 playoff teams, while seven of 10 overall are against teams which advanced to the postseason.
Both teams remain in District 14-4A along with Pine Tree, while three newcomers enter the fray in Texas High, Mount Pleasant and Sulphur Springs, which was picked to finish first by Dave Campbell's.
Texas High was chosen second followed by Hallsville, Marshall, Mount Pleasant and Pine Tree.
"We had a great offseason, and I feel the kids have worked very hard to earn one of the top four spots," Marshall's Alex Richters said. "We still have high expectations here at Marshall even though things did not go as planned last year. Our thought process isn't changing, as we still expect to be winners and make the playoffs. We have a good, young football team coming up which is excited about the season and is looking to make a name for itself."
The Bobcats are led defensively by a pair of linebackers in Cayden Ferrill and Roderick Boyd along with defensive end Coby Bradford, lineman Michael Wilbur and linebacker Santos Estrada. Ferrill was chosen as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Junior free safety Macailyn Wilder leads a secondary which includes Jesse Navarro, Braden Fleet and Jacori Crayton.
Hallsville's offense is led by left tackle Hayden Wall and wide receiver Andre Jones as well as running back Thaddeus Fagan and tight end Seyth Glezen. Quatron Davis is another option at running back, while Wall leads an offensive line consisting of Brent Rogers, Lucas Roberts and Austin Howell.
Twelve starters (six on both sides) and 28 lettermen return for the Bobcats in 2012, as they attempt to reach the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for only the fifth time in school history.
Spring practice was beneficial, as Wilder and Austin Toney got plenty of snaps at quarterback and will enter the team's first practice Aug. 13 vying for the starting role. Hallsville has a scrimmage on Aug. 24 against former district foe Kilgore before opening 2012 on Aug. 31 at Whitehouse and Sept. 7 with Van.
"There's still a lot of work ahead of us, but we're still going to have a tough district, and our goal is going to the playoffs with our ultimate goal being to win district," Hallsville's David Plunk said. "You like it when there's a possibility because you've been working so hard for it, but it's something you have to earn through a long period of time. Sulphur Springs and Texas High earned the right, and the fact we made the playoffs last year and have a lot of kids coming back has many people thinking highly of us.
"There are some really good teams in our district, as Marshall is also going to be a quality team next year, as are Mount Pleasant and Pine Tree. We enjoy the recognition, but there's still plenty left for us to do."
The Bobcats travel to Henderson on Sept. 14 and have back-to-back home games against Lindale (Homecoming Sept. 21) and Nacogdoches before the bye week to start October. Hallsville then has a pair of road games at Marshall (Oct. 12) and Pine Tree (Oct. 19), hosts Sulphur Springs (Oct. 26), goes to Mount Pleasant (Nov. 2) and closes the regular season at home against Texas High on Nov. 9.
Marshall is led defensively by Jacovin Coats and Jaque Kuykendall in the secondary, linebacker Kris Johnson and Antonio Balderas at end, while lineman Jonathan Patterson, receivers Chris Williams and Marek Reyes and running back John Love are the top returning offensive players.
Patterson is the only returning offensive lineman, which is a hole the Mavericks must fill quickly, while the quarterback vacancy goes from two ends of the spectrum, as senior Jacob Foster and freshman Justin Hart are competing for the starting role. Marshall returns only 12 lettermen and five starters.
The Mavericks begin practice Aug. 6, with two scrimmages at home against Jasper (Aug. 17) and Tyler Lee (Aug. 24) before three straight road games to start the 2012 season at Kilgore (Aug. 31) C.E. Byrd (Shreveport's Independence Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 8) and rival Longview on Sept. 14.
Marshall plays its home opener on Sept. 21 against Whitehouse and closes non-district play on Sept. 28 at Jacksonville entering its bye week. Hallsville comes to town to open district play, followed by a trip to Mount Pleasant (Oct. 19), Pine Tree (Oct. 26) at Texas High (Nov. 2) and Sulphur Springs (Nov. 9).