Lions picked preseason No. 3 by DCTF

John Tyler players celebrate with their quarterfinal champions trophy after their win over Sherman on Friday at SMU's Ford Stadium in Dallas. John Tyler reached the semifinals for the first time since 2000. (Christopher R. Vinn | Tyler Morning Telegraph)

With the preseason ratings in, let the debating and the countdown to the 2012 football begin.

Texas Football, released to the public statewide on Friday, ranked John Tyler third in Class 4A behind No. 1 Denton Guyer, a dropdown from Class 5A, and No. 2 Cedar Park.

The two biggest challengers to John Tyler’s ascent to the top of Class 4A supposedly climbed up in class. According to the state’s leading authorities on football, however, two teams still stand in the Lions’ way.

Guyer played in the 2010 Class 5A Division II state finals. Cedar Park saw its season ended last year by Lake Travis, now in 5A after five straight titles in the state’s second-largest classification.

JT reached the state quarterfinals in 5A in 2009 and repeated the feat its first year in 4A in 2010. JT ventured to the state semifinals last year before getting stopped by Waco Midway, who also departed for 5A after realignment.

The same magazine ranked JT No. 1 in 4A in its winter edition, ahead of Guyer and Cedar Park, but somewhere along the offseason changed its opinion.

The loaded Lions, who return 17 starters from an 11-4 team, placed four players on the publications’ Top 300 list — DL Tyus Bowser (6-3, 225), DB Traven Johnson (6-1, 175) WR Fred Ross (6-2, 185) and QB Greg Ward (5-11, 165).

Bowser grabbed a spot on the Super Team as a third-team defensive lineman. Whitehouse receiver Dylan Cantrell, a Texas Tech commit, made the second team.

Both Bowser and Cantrell also earned spots on the Class 4A preseason all-state team.

Two Robert E. Lee players darted the Top 300 list – RB LaQuintas Wallace (5-10, 205) and OL Zacchaeus Page (6-4, 285).

Other area players in the Top 300 included Jacksonville WR Darrell Minifee (5-11, 160), Kilgore LB A.J. Davis (6-0, 220), Longview QB Bivins Caraway (6-0, 195) and LB Demarkus Lathan (5-9, 190) and Rusk DB Chaston Bennett (5-10, 160).

Defending Class 3A state champion Chapel Hill opens the season ranked No. 11, three spots behind No. 8 Kilgore. Chapel Hill and Henderson help constitute arguably the state’s toughest district in any class, with No. 12 Gilmer and No. 14 Kilgore included in the loop. All four schools own state titles in the last seven seasons.

Along with high school rankings, and district predictions along with superlative picks, the magazine also gives ink to all Texas college football teams and glances at the NFL.

The 400-page magazine devotes more than 200 pages alone to high school, featuring team-by-team breakdowns. Among the high school highlights, broken down by classification.

Class 5A

Preseason state rankings — No. 9, Longview; No. 23, Lufkin.

Preseason all-state — Longview LB Demarkus Latham (5-9, 190), Lufkin P Luis Garcia.

12-5A — 1, Longview; 2, Mesquite; 3, Rockwall-Heath; 4, Mesquite Horn; 5, Robert E. Lee; 6, North Mesquite; 7, Rockwall. Offensive MVP — QB Bivins Caraway, Longview; Defensive MVP — LB DeMarkus Lathan, Longview

14-5A — 1, The Woodlands; 2, Lufkin; 3, A&M Consolidated; 4, The Woodlands College Park; 5, Byan; 6, Conroe; 7, Conroe Oak Ridge.

Class 4A

Preseason state rankings — No. 3, John Tyler; No. 14, Corsicana.

Preseason all-state — John Tyler DL Tyus Bowser (6-3, 225), Whitehouse WR Dylan Cantrell (6-3, 215)

14-4A — 1, Sulphur Springs; 2, Texas High; 3, Hallsville; 4, Marshall; 5, Mount Pleasant; 6, Pine Tree. Offensive MVP — WR Kadarrius Cannon, Mount Pleasant; Defensive MVP — LB Cayden Ferrill, Hallsville.

16-4A — 1, John Tyler; 2, Corsicana; 3, Whitehouse; 4, Jacksonville; 5, Lindale; 6, Nacogdoches. Offensive MVP — QB Greg Ward, John Tyler; Defensive MVP — DL Tyus Bowser, John Tyler.

Class 3A

Preseason state rankings — No. 8, Henderson; No. 11, Chapel Hill; No. 12, Gilmer; No. 14, Kilgore.

Preseason all-state — Kilgore LB A.J. Davis, Van DL Syd Moore, Van P Chuy Alvarez

15-3A — 1, Van; 2, Canton; 3, Athens; 4, Mineola; 5, Brownsboro; 6, Mabank. Offensive MVP — QB Garrett Smallwood, Van; Defensive MVP — DT Syd Moore, Van.

16-3A — 1, Gilmer; 2, Henderson; 3, Chapel Hill; 4, Kilgore; 5, Bullard; 6, Gladewater, 7, Spring Hill. Offensive MVP — WR Patrick Brown, Henderson; Defensive MVP — A.J. Davis, Kilgore.

Class 2A

Preseason state rankings — Division I: No. 3 Tatum; Division II: No. 4 Arp.

Preseason all-state — Arp DB Michael Roberson.

7-2A DI — 1, Winnsboro; 2, Lone Oak; 3, Malakoff; 4, Eustace; 5, Grand Saline; 6, Quitman; 7, Kemp. Offensive MVP — QB Luke Tebbetts, Winnsboro; Defensive MVP — LB Ty Tolleson, Lone Oak.

9-2A DI — 1, Tatum; 2, Jefferson; 3, White Oak; 4, Troup; 5, Harmony; 6, Gladewater. Offseason MVP — Jefferson RB Deion Williams; Defensive MVP — Tatum LB Kiano Lucas.

10-2A DII — 1, Arp; 2, Garrison; 3, Frankston; 4, West Rusk; 5, Winona; 6, Gladewater; 7, Hawkins. Offensive MVP — OL Dustin House, Frankston; Defensive MVP — Arp FS Michael Roberson.

Class 1A

Preseason state rankings — Division I: No. 10, Alto; Division II: No. 2, Tenaha; No. 9, Mount Enterprise.

Preseason all-state — Mount Enterprise RB Hunter Ammons, Mount; Alto LB Michael Taylor; Big Sandy DB Taurus Keppard.

6-1A DI — 1, Italy; 2, Cayuga; 3, Kerens; 4, Dallas Gateway; 5, Malakoff Cross Roads; 6, Itasca. Offensive MVP — Italy RB Ryheem Walker; Defensive MVP — Cayuga LB Donald Holly III.

9-1A DI — 1, Carlisle; 2, Big Sandy; 3, Joaquin; 4, Harleton; 5, Beckville; 6, Timpson. Offensive MVP — Carlisle QB Gunner Baker; Defensive MVP — Big Sandy FS Taurus Keppard.

10-1A DI — 1, San Augustine; 2, Alto; 3, West Sabine; 4, Grapeland; 5, Shelbyville; 6, Cushing. Offensive MVP — West Sabine QB Desmond Lacey; Defensive MVP — San Augustine ATH T’Aundra Taylor.

10-1A DII — 1, Detroit; 2, Maud; 3, Cumby; 4, Overton; 5, Union Hill. Offensive MVP — Cumby RB Colton Speights; Defensive MVP — Detroit LB Lane Manginell.

11-1A DII — 1, Tenaha; 2, Mount Enterprise; 3, Evadale; 4, Burkeville; 5, Sabine. Offensive MVP — Tenaha RB Chavis Gregory; Defensive MVP — Tenaha LB DeAaron Roland.


15-6M DI — 1, Leverett’s Chapel; 2, Fannindel; 3, Fruitvale; 4, Campbell; 5, Bloomburg. Offensive MVP — Leverett’s Chapel QB Clay White; Defensive MVP — Fannindel DB Damonte Scott.

16-6M DII — 1, Calvert; 2, Milford; 3, Trinidad; 4, Karnack. Offensive MVP — Calvert QB Tyrone Huffman; Defensive MVP — Milford LB Jacobe Essary.


Division II-District 2 — 1, Dallas Parish Episcopal; 2, Dallas Christian; 3, Grace Community; 4, Bullard Brook Hill; 5, Carrollton Prince of Peace; 6, Dallas Shelton; 7, Cedar Hill Trinity; 8, T.K. Gorman.


Recent Stories You Might Have Missed