By CHARLIE CHITWOOD
Jimplecute Sports Columnist
The advent of every schoolboy football season is traditionally timed with the release of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine. Between that wavering release date in July and the first week of scrimmages, most of the web polls have trumpeted their own outlook.
The most familiar opening bell sounded Monday with the release of the Associated Press Preseason Poll for every one of Texas’ six UIL classifications. Down in the Class 3A ranks, two long-time local rivals are back in the same district for the first time in decades – Jefferson and Atlanta.
While most AP prognosticators know enough to “save the date” of any Rabbit-Bulldog dustup, they have some other teams and numbers to look at before casting their ballots and no matter who takes the District 7-3A crown this fall, they’re going to have a fight on their hands every step of the way once the playoffs begin.
Newton – the Class 3A-Division II favorite – tops the AP list while 3A “big-school” bell-cow Brock is ranked second. Atlanta’s Rabbits – just 5-6 a year ago in Class 4A – is the highest-rated Region II school at seventh and Mt. Vernon’s Tigers picked up two ballots in the “others receiving votes” category. Both of the squads are part of Jefferson’s loop.
While undivided 3A bragging rights are in the AP’s poll, the more savvy of the web ratings split the divisions and follow them all the way to a an already-predicted state champion. PigskinPrep.com’s look at Class 3A-Division I moves Atlanta up to #4 with Mount Vernon at 18th and Jefferson at #20. With 106 teams in the classification, being in the top 20 per cent isn’t all bad.
Atlanta’s rated highly because the Rabbits are coming down from Class 4A with a load of returning talent on offense. School size typically shows up on the depth of your team’s bench, however, and everybody knows the Rabbits can run, so – et voila! – a bi-district playoff runner-up is preferred some lofty expectations.
But the Dawgs have the speed to run with Atlanta, especially in the match races of open-field breakaways. Jefferson’s Achilles’ heel the past two years was in the trenches – undersized scrappers that just wore down in the face of superior bulk and strength. No shame in that. But the Dawgs look like they might have some of that remedied. It’ll be fun to see and the first chance comes tomorrow (Friday) evening in Waskom. See you at the stadium.
Over in Bulldog Gym, the Lady Bulldog volleyball squad has turned on the bright lights with a three-victory performance in the weekend’s Redwater Tournament. Entering Tuesday night’s home date against Queen City, the Lady Bulldogs are now 4-4 under new head coach Falon Jones. With assistant coaches Robert Bristow and Brandon Allee, the new staff has guided the girls to break a losing streak too long to mention and into the win column more than once. School’s not even in session and they’re already talking about playoffs. Well why not? It’s that very fun part of the year when everyone’s comp
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