The 13-A, Division II race
Front-runner: Burton. The Panthers rolled to an 11-2 record in 2012, finishing 5-0 in district, and return 11 starters. The Panthers have one of the state’s most intriguing players in 6-foot-6-inch FS/WR Louis Brown, who finished with 166 tackles in 2012 while also grabbing 23 receptions.
Dark horse: Milano. The Eagles missed the playoffs last season, going 6-4 and finishing 2-3 in district. With seven returning starters on both sides of the ball, including QB Jordan Millar (721 yards rushing, 9 TDs), Milano might be playoff-bound this year.
Up for debate
Three questions concerning 13-2A, Division II heading into the season:
1. Will a talented offensive line that returns three starters who earned all-district honors — guards Rick Luna and Juan Garza and tackle Jorge Gonzales — lead Bartlett to another state playoff berth?
2. Coming off a 1-9 season, can Somerville, which returns 20 starters, reach the playoffs for the first time in six years?
3. Can Snook’s Austin Jackson, the district’s newcomer of the year last season, turn around a team that was 1-9 in 2012?
Power players: Corey Miller, sr., LB, Granger (75 tackles); Tanner Demuth, sr., RB, Burton (1,012 yards rushing, 7 TDs); Bryce Jimenez, sr., TE, Granger (248 yards receiving receiving, 5 TDs); Trent Ellison, sr., DL, Milano (55 tackles); Harlan Plumber, sr., LB, Snook (100 tackles); DeMarcus Foster, sr., LB, Somerville: (94 tackles last season).
Playoff qualifers in 2012: Burton (A, Division II regional final); Bartlett (A, Division II bi-district); Granger (A, Division II bi-district).
Talk it up: “Corey Miller is the leader of our defense. He is so productive on the field because of his ability to read and react to an offensive play. … Having Corey on the field is like having another coach in the huddle, which is a great advantage.” — Ramon Fuentes, Granger coach
Coach: Joe Mullins (sixth season)
2012 record: 6-5 (4-1 in 13-1A Division II, second)
Postseason: Lost to Woodsboro 50-20 in bi-district.
Starters returning: 8 offense, 8 defense
Players to watch: Weston Rafay, 6-0, 175, sr., QB; Johnny Garcia, 5-9, 175, sr., RB; Isaiah Jimenez, 5-10, 180, jr., DB/RB.
2012 stats: Averaged 22.1 PPG; allowed 24.5 PPG.
10-11 — vs. Milano
10-18 — at Granger
10-25 — at Burton
11-1 — at Snook
11-8 — vs. Somerville
Oct. 25, at Burton: The Bulldogs figure defending district champion Burton will be their toughest test of the season. Last year, Burton defeated Bartlett 47-7.
Brother Bulldogs: On offense, Bartlett will count heavily on brothers Devin and Kelvin Alston, who both play wide receiver. Devin also left his mark in baseball, earning all-district second-team honors as an outfielder. The Bulldogs return 16 starters this fall.
3 — State football championships earned by Bartlett (1990, ‘92, ‘99)
.531 — Bartlett’s all-time winning percentage against its five district opponents (17-15)
Coach: Ramon Fuentes (second season)
2012 record: (5-6 overall, 3-2 in 13-A, Division II)
Postseason: Lost to Runge 22-0 in bi-district.
Starters returning: 8 offense, 8 defense
Players to watch: Quentin Doss, 6-0, 190, jr., TE; Tyler Williams, 6-1, 215, sr., OL; Bryce Jimenez, 6-2, 205, sr., DE/TE.
2012 stats: Averaged 23.0 PPG; allowed 22.4 PPG.
10-11 — at Snook
10-18 — vs. Burton
10-25 — at Milano
11-1 — at Somerville
11-8 — vs. Bartlett
Oct. 18, vs. Burton: The Lions, beaten by Burton 33-20 last year, have a chance to avenge that loss. At home this time.
Double up: Granger coach Fuentes, who played on the offensive and defensive lines for Bartlett’s 1999 state champion, welcomes back two productive offensive players in RB Brandin Williams (565 yards) and TE Jimenez (428 receiving yards).
Thin margin: Although only two games in 2012 were decided by 10 points or fewer, Granger and its 11 opponents finished with almost identical point totals. The Lions scored 254 points, their opponents 247.
49 — In poinst, largest margin of victory for the Lions in 2012 (55-6 over Somerville)
39 — In points, the Lions’ most-lopsided defeat in 2012 (53-14 to Thorndale)