Top 8 small-school sleepers heading into district play

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File Photo: John Glaser/ Texas HS Football

As district competition begins at small-town schools, here are the top teams one could be unwise to overlook because of under, exactly at, or just over .500 records:

Abilene Wylie (2-3, 3-4A DI

File Photo: Kristen Taylor/Texas HS Football

The Bulldogs started out strong, but endured rough back-to-back losses to Denison and Argyle; the former however being only a one point loss. Fortunately, they picked up where they left off before heading into the bye week with a 50-7 win over Brownfield. District competition might not be easy this time around with the likes of strong Brownwood and Stephenville teams, but the Bulldogs should still be up to the task.

Bellville (2-4, 11-4A DII)

Bellville’s non-district slate was a hard-fought one which unfortunately didn’t go as the Brahmas would’ve liked. Still, the offense has performed well despite the circumstances, averaging 25.5 points per game against quality opponents including Cameron Yoe and Bay City.

The Brahmas also, fortunately, enter district play with a win streak, having topped Wharton and Taylor in the last two outings; momentum will be needed to take on stout Madisonville and Shepherd teams in the district, but a playoff spot is still within reach for Bellville.

Mineola (2-3, 7-3A DI)

December 15, 2016 – Texas UIL 3A Div. I State Championship game between Mineola and Yoakum at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Image Credit: John Glaser/Texas HS Football)

The defending state champions entered the 2017 season with a new coach, and there were some growing pains in non-district, but the Yellowjackets have momentum after opening district action with a 56-6 win over Quitman last week.

They’ll need to take down strong Farmersville and Mount Vernon teams to claim a district title, but a playoff position is well within reach.

Cisco (3-2, 4-3A DII)

Cisco was defeated in more than one non-district game for the first time since 2010, but a district title is still anyone’s to claim, with two other teams at 3-2 heading into this week. Both of the Loboes losses came against red-hot, undefeated Wall and Albany squads, with Cisco holding the former to their fewest points scored in 2017.

The contests against Tolar and county rival Eastland are crucial, but a district title is still very much up for grabs.

Centerville (3-2, 12-2A DI)

Centerville started out 2017 strong, winning their first three games by a combined 96 points, however, the Tigers enter district competition having lost two straight. Contrary to that though, Centerville enters district play with one of the more potent offenses out of the bunch, setting them up for a good possibility of postseason placement.

Not too far behind though, Lovelady tallied 144 total points despite a 2-3 mark, and the season finale against Deweyville and their stout defense may be crucial.

Munday (2-3, 7-2A DII)

The Moguls have been mentioned in weekly game previews on more than once, for reasons including the solid play despite a tough schedule, heating up at just the right time, and looking at the strength of their district. Munday hasn’t endured a three loss non-district slate since 2013, but each game was a hard fought contest.

Petrolia leads the bunch heading into district play while Archer City and Haskell also enter with 2-3 marks, but the Moguls have allowed the fewest points out of the group, again against an arguably strong schedule. It’ll be hard to see how Munday doesn’t contend for a district title, let alone a playoff spot.

Abbott (3-3, 14-1A DI)

Garrett Ross/Texas HS Football

The Panthers haven’t taken three non-district losses since 2013, but the offense remains stout with an average of 45.1 points per game. The strong performance by Penelope, Aquilla and Coolidge heading into district competition makes this one a strong challenge for Abbott, but with the potent offense evident, the Panthers won’t go down without a fight.

Jayton (3-3, 8-1A DII)

Like Abbott, the Jaybirds enter this week with an even record but sport a strong offense regardless. Through six games, Jayton has scored an average of 51.5 points, despite losses to solid Hermleigh, Aspermont, and Rotan teams. There’s still one game remaining before entering district competition, but the Jaybirds are looking strong.

Jayton also looks to be the favorites to claim a district title now when competition begins, as Guthrie looks to have taken a step back.

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