Moody and Rosebud-Lott should find themselves battling with Thorndale for the final playoff spot in 13-2A Div. I, as Normangee and Thrall battle it out for supremacy.
Normangee and Thrall tied for the district crown last year before building strong playoff portfolios, as Normangee reached the regional semifinals and Thrall made the area round.
Moody has been no stranger to the postseason since second-year head coach Shawn Peach took over, making the playoffs in both seasons.
Thorndale brings back 13 total starters from a playoff squad, while Holland missed the postseason by a single win, so everyone seems to have fresh hope in this district.
Brad Ballard’s Rosebud-Lott team missed the playoffs last year, but don’t let its 2-8 record fool you. The Cougars were a play or two away from turning the majority of those losses into wins and have leadership at many of the right positions.
- LAST SEASON — 4-7 (2-3)
- RETURNING STARTERS — 7 offensive, 7 defensive
- COACH SHAWN PEACH — 4-7 at Moody
All-time: 358-452-20 since 1916
Playoff history: 8-10 in 10 trips, most recently 2016; 0 state championships
Base offense: Spread
Base defense: 4-3
Outlook: The Bearcats snuck into the playoffs for the second time in as many years last season despite a 4-7 record.
Shawn Peach, in his second season as head coach, has brought the Bearcats back to prominence after serving as the school’s offensive coordinator for several seasons.
Moody returns all-around athlete Javion Ward after suffering a season-ending injury in the first game of 2016. He brings speed to the Bearcats’ offense that is a necessity for Peach. OL/LB Matthew Martinez missed all of 2016 with an injury, so look for the big man to lead on both sides of the ball when healthy in 2017.
9/1 Bruceville-Eddy 7:30
9/8 at Reicher 7:30
9/15 Hamilton 7:30
9/22 Meridian 7:30
9/29 at Central Texas Christian 7:30
10/13 at Rosebud-Lott 7:30*
10/20 Thorndale 7:30*
10/27 at Normangee 7:30*
11/3 at Thrall 7:30*
11/10 Holland 7:30*
- LAST SEASON — 2-8 (0-5)
- RETURNING STARTERS — 6 offensive, 6 defensive
- COACH BRAD BALLARD — 7-24 at Rosebud-Lott
All-time: 248-251-5 since 1970
Playoff history: 18-14-1 in 15 trips, most recently 2015; 1 state championship (2002)
Base offense: Option, spread
Base defense: Even front
Outlook: Sure, a 2-8 record in 2016 is nothing to write home about. For the Cougars, though, five of those losses were by a touchdown or less.
There is some experience returning for head coach Brad Ballard’s team. QB JaQuarion Johnson totaled over 1,000 yards a season ago. Johnson, a four-year letterman for Ballard, proves to be someone Ballard thinks will have a breakout season.
“He’s been in the system for four years and this will be his second season as our quarterback,” Ballard said. “He’s been in the fight. We are expecting a lot out of him.”
It has been a fight, no doubt. Turnovers were the Achilles' heel for Rosebud-Lott in 2016, as the Cougars suffered at least four turnovers in each of their eight losses. The option requires several players to touch the ball each game, so keeping the football off the turf is something the Cougars have to fix to make a playoff push.
Junior Ethan Easley will be the main man in the backfield behind Johnson. It’s Easley’s class that needs to step up for the Cougars, as Ballard sees only four seniors on his roster.
“We are relying on this junior class,” Ballard said. “We took a lot of growing pains a season ago, but we also had some bursts.”
9/1 at Florence 7:30
9/8 Chilton 7:30
9/15 at Wortham 7:00
9/22 Central Texas Christian 7:30
9/29 at Meridian 7:30
10/13 Moody 7:30*
10/20 at Holland 7:30*
10/27 Thrall 7:30*
11/3 Thorndale 7:30*
11/10 at Normangee 7:30*