The Athens Review
In 71 days, football fans will pack the stands ready to see their teams work for a state championship.
On Friday, fans will get a chance to pick up their copy of the 2014 Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine.
The discussions will begin as fans debate rather the prognosticators picked the districts right for their favorite teams.
For Henderson County, three county teams are predicted to make the playoffs.
Those teams are the Athens Hornets, Eustace Bulldogs and the Malakoff Tigers.
In District 8-4A, Division I, the Hornets are predicted to win the district which includes rivals Van and Mabank from the last realignment.
They will be joined by Kaufman, Crandall and Wills Point for the next two seasons.
The Hornets are also picked as the No. 17 ranked team in the Class 4A top 20.
The magazine has predicted Athens junior cornerback Travon Fuller is the preseason defensive Most Valuable Player. He had 53 tackles and seven interceptions during their 10-1 season last year.
The magazine also predicts that the Hornets are the top dark horse in East Texas for the 2014 football season.
Running back Logan Fuller also returns after a record breaking season in which he rushed for 1,727 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Athens also returns another 1,000 yard rusher in Devin Hall with 1,234 yards and 17 touchdowns.
On defense, the top players are Chris Prox, Tyler Trussell and Timothy Tanner.
Trussell had 69 tackles and a sack, while Prox had 68 tackles and three sacks. Tanner had 63 tackles and three sacks with an interception.
The Mabank Panthers are finish to finish last by the magazine as they return 15 letterman and 13 starters from last year.
The Brownsboro Bears, under second-year coach Jason Hooker, are in one of the toughest districts in the state.
The Bears are in District 9-4A, Division I with defending state champion Carthage and runner up Kilgore.
They also face the team that knocked out the Hornets last year in the Chapel Hill Bulldogs.
Carthage, Kilgore and Chapel Hill are ranked No. 4, 6 and 11 respectively in the top 20.
CH was knocked out in the 3A regional quarterfinals last year.
The Bears are predicted to finish in last place by the magazine. Brownsboro returns senior Will Bailey as the leading receiver with 40 catches for 524 yards and six touchdowns.
The road to the Class 3A title has two county teams sitting in playoff contention among the prognosticators at the magazine.
Coach Jamie Driskell’s Tigers and Heath Ragle’s Bulldogs are predicted to finish in second and fourth place respectively.
The two teams currently hold the longest playoff streak in the county as Eustace has made it six years in a row.
The Tigers have made it to the postseason for five straight years and advanced to the regional round last season.
The Teague Lions are picked to finish first in district and are the ninth ranked team in Class 2A. Malakoff comes in as the No. 16-ranked team in the state.
The Kemp Yellowjackets, who will be led by first-year coach Brandon Hankins, are picked to finish fifth by the magazine.
The Yellowjackets have not had a winning season since 1999 and finished 2-8 last year.
The top quarterback in the newly formed District 11-2A, Division I returns as Aaron Arden from Cross Roads holds that distinction. Arden returns after throwing for 1,407 yards and rushing for 400 more yards in 2013.
The prognosticators predict that the Bobcats, under second-year coach Jim Bradford, will finish just out of the playoffs with a fifth-place finish.
The Bobcats are picked to finish behind Alto, Cayuga, Carlisle and Kerens this season.
Following the changes with the new 6A classification, the Trinidad Trojans are now members of District 15-A, Division II.
With only two teams being selected for the playoffs, coach Tom McVey’s team is picked to finish fourth among the prognosticators.
The Trojans finished the 2013 season with a record of 5-5 and return 10 players from last year’s team.
The staff is hoping to see big things from senior quarterback T.J. McVey, who threw for 864 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Junior running back JoVantae Hornbuckle is considered an up-and-comer by the magazine after a season in which he had 73 carries for 678 yards and 14 touchdowns last year.