Cameron Yoe was voted the top team in 3A in the Associated Press high school football preseason poll. The Yoemen want that to remain true at the end of the season. While Cameron Yoe fights to get better each week in order to reach the ultimate goal, the Yoemen will be in a battle with Rockdale and Franklin for the top spot of the district.
Rockdale’s do-it-all player, JaQuayln Crawford, returns after lighting up the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Crawford finished last season with 1,133 receiving yards, 321 rushing yards and 21 total touchdowns.
Franklin, meanwhile, is poised to run all over its opponents. Its offensive line is stacked as four players return after the Lions rushed for over 5,000 yards.
Rounding out the playoff teams in this district is McGregor in Judd Thrash’s first season as head coach. He wants to get the Bulldogs playing fast, yet disciplined.
- LAST SEASON 11-3 (5-1)
- RETURNING STARTERS — 7 offensive, 8 defensive
- COACH TOMMY BRASHEAR — 11-3 at Yoe
All-time: 707-337-40 since 1911
Playoff history: 71-37-3 in 42 trips, most recently 2016; 4 state championships (1981, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Base offense: Spread
Base defense: 3-4
Outlook: Cameron Yoe has plenty to build off of after last season’s 11-3 season that ended in the state quarterfinals. Seven starters return on offense with eight back on defense.
“We’ve got a lot of returning starters from last year,” coach Tommy Brashear said. “We’ve got to work hard every day to get better. We have to take it one day at a time. That’s what we normally preach, but we’re probably preaching it even more this year because of the high ranking.”
The Yoemen were the No. 1 team in the Associated Press high school football preseason poll in mid-August.
While the preseason poll definitely added some fuel to the fire, it was already lit after the way last season ended. Malakoff made a field goal in overtime to edge out Cameron Yoe, 37-34, in the state quarterfinals.
“We felt like we let one slip away,” Brashear said. “It was a back-and-forth game. Malakoff was a very good team. It turned out on their side. We felt like we had a shot at one last year. The kids know that. They want to try and make up for that. … We got stronger and faster all around at all positions. Kids worked really hard to improve athletically, worked really hard in the spring in football and in 7-on-7.”
Last year, 7-on-7 helped develop quarterback Zack Andress before he recorded 3,116 yards passing, 578 yards rushing and 56 total touchdowns. In June, Andress led Cameron Yoe’s 7-on-7 team to the state tournament.
“He had a really good year his first year as varsity quarterback,” Brashear said. “Even he knows he can do a little better. He’s probably harder on himself than we as coaches are. He wants to come out and improve on last year. He’s a competitive young man.”
9/2 Bellville 11:00
9/8 Gatesville 7:30
9/15 at China Spring 7:30
9/22 at Bay City 7:30
9/29 at McGregor 7:30*
10/6 Franklin 7:30*
10/13 at Jarrell 7:30*
10/20 Rockdale 7:30*
10/27 at Academy 7:30*
11/3 Troy 7:30*
- LAST SEASON — 4-6 (2-4)
- RETURNING STARTERS — 4 offensive, 4 defensive
- COACH JUDD THRASH — 0-0 at McGregor
Playoff history: 45-23 in 35 trips, most recently 2015; 0 state championships
Base offense: Multiple
Base defense: 3-4, 4-2-5
Outlook: As Judd Thrash begins his first football season as head coach at McGregor, he’s speeding things up.
The Bulldogs are not going to slow down in 2017.
“Everything we do is going to be fast,” Thrash said. “But we’re also all about discipline and execution. We’re incorporating different ideas from Lake Travis, Westlake and Colleyville Heritage. But I’ve also been part of a small school. I grew up in Hubbard. I was a running back in Central Texas. I know what it’s like to play both sides of the ball. I know what these guys will experience.”
Getting his players ready to play fast on both sides of the ball happens during practice. But don’t expect to drive by the stadium and find the Bulldogs running to get in shape. Thrash believes that to play fast, McGregor should practice fast. And that alone is plenty of conditioning to get these Bulldogs in shape.
McGregor will be led this season by Johnathan Phenix who committed to Houston over the summer. Phenix finished last season as a defensive back with 34 tackles, one interception, seven pass breakups and two forced fumbles.
Along with playing fast, defense is the key for McGregor.
“We’re going to get after it,” Thrash said. “My goal has been to always hold opponents to under 14 points. We’ll see if we can maintain that. At Stony Point we gave up 12 points per game, Lake Travis was 13 points per game and Colleyville Heritage was 21 points per game.”
Thrash takes pride in defense. It’s the first thing his team practices before moving on to offense and special teams.
“You can’t win championships without defense,” Thrash said. “In order for us to be good this year, these guys will have to have defensive and offensive positions.”
9/1 Groesbeck 7:30
9/8 at Sunnyvale 7:30
9/15 Mart 7:30
9/22 at Marlin 7:30
9/29 Cameron Yoe 7:30*
10/13 at Franklin 7:30*
10/20 Jarrell 7:30*
10/27 at Rockdale 7:30*
11/3 Academy 7:30*
11/10 at Troy 7:30*
- LAST SEASON — 5-6 (3-3)
- RETURNING STARTERS — 5 offensive, 7 defensive
- COACH RONNIE PORTER — 18-14 at Troy
All-time: 384-360-22 since 1937
Playoff history: 13-14-1 in 14 trips, most recently 2016; 0 state championships
Base offense: Multiple I
Base defense: 4-3
Outlook: Troy will lean heavily on its youngsters this year. The Trojans lost 24 lettermen after last season and return five offensive starters and seven defensive starters.
“We’re a young team but with more athletic talent,” coach Ronnie Porter said. “In terms of size we are smaller than we have been in the past. We’re really going to have to have our underclassmen to pull through and perform well.”
Through practice, Porter hasn’t seen the younger players struggle much with Troy’s concepts. They’re pretty easy.
“They have struggled a little bit to understand how we need to practice in order to be good,” Porter said. “They recently figured that out a little bit better. We had a good scrimmage. They understand now we have to practice much harder to win games.”
With youth all over the field, Troy does return its starting quarterback from a year ago.
Chance Mosley finished last season with 788 passing yards, but Porter is looking for more from him this season.
“He has a change in mentality and attitude,” Porter said. “This will be his second year as the varsity quarterback. He went to camps over the summer. He has a stronger arm and better accuracy. We’ll use him as a running back too because he’s gotten faster in the offseason. He’s faster and stronger. He’ll become more of a dual threat.”
9/1 vs Salado (at UMHB) 7:30
9/8 Marlin 7:30
9/15 Robinson 7:30
9/22 China Spring 7:30
9/29 at Franklin 7:30*
10/6 Jarrell 7:30*
10/13 at Rockdale 7:30*
10/20 Academy 7:30*
11/3 at Cameron Yoe 7:30*
11/10 McGregor 7:30*