Don’t cry for me: Navasota
Every team in the district will be breaking in a new signal caller and no one is blessed with an abundance of returning experience.
With 14 returnees, Rockdale boasts the most starters back of the five district teams.
“This year will probably be as wide open as it has ever been since I’ve been here,” said Rockdale coach Jeff Miller, who’s team is expected to place second to Navasota. “It will be a dogfight every week.”
The Rattlers were ransacked by graduation, losing a league-high 14 starters, including two-time player of the year, quarterback Kadarius Baker, who threw for nearly 10,000 yards and 100 touchdowns in two years as starter.
Navasota, who despite the heavy losses, starts the season ranked No. 7 in the state and has won 15 straight district contests.
In the past five years, Navasota sports a 24-2 district mark.
While head coach Lee Fedora hired former Cameron head coach Mike Mullins as co-offensive coordinator, the Rattlers haven’t needed much help punishing scoreboards all over the state, averaging nearly 50 points a game on their state championship run.
Mullins had spent the past four seasons at Harker Heights where he was 14-27.
While Navasota h as never h ad any trouble replacing a quarterback (the last four have been district MVPs), Fedora must come up with a couple of ball catchers to replace All-State receivers Austin Collins and Solomon McGinty who both had over 1,000 yards receiving.
However, it was the Navasota defense that finally pushed the Rattlers over the top and five of the eight starters they have coming back are on that side of the ball.
Fireplug defensive tackle Jordan Wells led the charges with 164 tackles and 15 sacks to earn All- State honors and is back for more.
The Rattler D did not give up a single point in district play while outscoring league opponents 191-0.
The focus this season will be on new head coach Bobby Jack Goforth, the home town hero who has returned to turn the Hornets fortunes around.
Goforth, a 1985 CHS graduate who went on to play at Baylor, will enter next season as the Hornets’ fourth head coach in four years.
Goforth steps in for former Cameron player and coach Kenneth Gilchrist who left after one season to return to Whitney after disagreements with the school board.
Goforth, 47, comes from Class 5A San Antonio Jay where his teams went 23-37 in six years, including 4-6 last season
Caldwell’s football program has been in decline since Dale Williams left after the 2010 season.
The Hornets went 1-9 with head coach Chance Locklear in 2011 and were 1-8 last fall under Gilchrist.
Unfortunately, Gilchrist took the Hornets’ best player, with him, his son and quarterback Brett, who was the newcomer of the year.
Goforth, however, will be forced to concentrate on a defense that allowed barely 50 points a game and forced just four turnovers in 2012.
Under first-year coach Rusty Purser, Taylor snuck into the playoffs and then pulled off a firstround shocker by whipping Waco LaVega.
So, with second year in Purser’s system, expectations are high in Duckville, despite losing their top passer and two top running backs, while bringing back just nine starters.
Tim Bailey—a first-team all-district selection last season—will be eager to connect with the new quarterback, possibly Jorge Camarillo.
The Ducks have loads of talent on defense which is led by firstteam linebacker Blaine Johnson.
Lineman Ronald Espinosa, linebacker David Ancira and defensive back Chris Frank also gained all-district honors.
In a league full of talented runners, Madisonville’s Dontae Crist ran past the competition for over 1,330 yards and 14 scores.
Despite Crist’s efforts, the Mustangs missed the playoffs and despite a sturdy defense that allowed just 216 yards per game and picked off 18 aerials.
That stinginess could not make up for an offense that coughed up the ball an alarming 30 times on the season and posted just 62 points in district play.
The reason for the slipperiness could stem from the fact that Madisonville employed three different quarterbacks last season, two of them sophomores.
There figures to be another sophomore under center again in 2013 in Jailyn Smith.
Another generation of Whaleys— this time Damien—leads that outstanding defense at linebacker.