Dave Campbell's football cover

The Athens Hornets and Mabank Panthers are on the outside looking in by the writers at Dave Campbell's Texas Football Magazine.

The Hornets are predicted to finish sixth, while the Panthers come in seventh in Class 9-4A, Division I in their seven-team district.

The remaining predictions are the Lindale Eagles as the district champ, Killgore Bulldogs will finish second, Henderson Lions are predicted third, Palestine Wildcats are slotted in the fourth position as the final playoff team. The Tyler Chapel Hill Bulldogs are selected fifth.

The writers at Dave Campbell's have picked Lindale as the 18th best team in Class 4A, while Kilgore is 20th and Henderson is 22nd in the Top 25 rankings. The Lions only return one starter on the offensive side of the ball.

The Hornets come into the second-year under head coach Zac Harrell with higher expectations than the prediction that was handed out by the magazine.

Harrell says he is ready for the challenge to come out of this district.

We expect to be right in the middle of this district, which is a very talented district,” Harrell said. “We plan to be competing for a district title and a playoff spot. That is what our expectation is that this program will be one of the best in the state of Texas year in and year out. That is what we are trying to build and these kids know what we expect.”

The magazine recognizes Nathan Sims after his 1,371 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns on offense and 74 tackles on defense as a player to watch. They also recognize Derek Killingsworth as a true leader on defense.

The Hornets have 16 lettermen returning and 10 starters in a very competitive district.

When it comes to the Mabank Panthers, head coach Zach Hudson returns 14 lettermen and 10 starters as well for the 2020 season.

After a 6-4 season, the magazine says Landry Johnson with 53 tackles and six interceptions and Stevie Montgomery are proven leaders.

They also state Caleb Goforth with 111 tackles and eight tackles for loss is a force at linebacker. Another player to watch is Braxton McCabe, who they say was a surprise last year.

During the next week, we will take a look at predictions for the Brownsboro Bears, Eustace Bulldogs, Malakoff Tigers, Kemp Yellowjackets and Trinidad Trojans.

NOTE:The 61st edition of Texas Football, featuring SMU quarterback Shane Buechele, is on sale at book stores, mass merchandisers and supermarkets throughout the state.

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