While the Class 4A Division I state championship almost seems destined to go to one of two teams, the Division II title will be a wide-open race between many teams from across Texas, including a few prominent local ones.
The two smaller schools in each district to qualify for the playoffs go to Division II, while the two larger go Division I, and while many of the state's top teams this year appear to be going the Division I route in the postseason, there are some powers in the smaller division as well.
In Region I, Lake Dallas and quarterback James Franklin (Missouri commit/straight-up beast) will likely get a first-round rematch with Aledo after the Bearcats knocked them out in the first round last season.
Franklin will be better this year than last, and while he lost a couple of big offensive weapons, the offensive unit as a whole will be equal to the task, or possibly better. The thing that the Falcons should be concerned with is their defense, which was shaky at times last year and lost basically its entire secondary.
But Aledo is always loaded, and is always a formidable power. The Bearcats return just eight starters from last year, and will be breaking in a new quarterback, but that might not matter. Everman will also be a big-time player in the Region I bracket.
In Region II, there's our favorite to win the whole thing -- the Denison Yellow Jackets.
Denison has perhaps the most dominant offensive player in the state in running back D.J. Jones, who last year had an incredible 461-yard total yard performance and scored eight touchdowns in a 65-64 win over McKinney. They also have a stud quarterback in Jordan Taylor and a stout defense. We don't expect them to lose a game next year en route to a perfect 16-0 season, though they'll have to eventually contend with Ennis and its lethal QB-WR combo of D.J. Betik and Kyle Guinyard. Also, throw in Ennis' rival Waxahachie as a possible darkhorse.