Mclean’s Ben Crockett wins the Class 1A Offensive MVP after the Tigers won the Division I state title at AT&T Stadium last December. [Tyler Anderson/ Press Pass Sports]
1. Can the Tigers repeat?
The McLean Tigers are looking good after bringing home another District 1-1A Division I championship. The Tigers did drop a game to Balmorhea this season, but since have found their stride, averaging 56 points a game. A good majority of their scoring comes from the 2018 Class 1A MVP Ben Crockett, who looks to be having a repeat performance of last years efforts. For the Tigers to repeat, it will take every player, not just Crockett to get them back to Jerry World.
2. The Bucks fight for redemption
White Deer has been living in the shadow of McLean for the last two years. The story continued after the Bucks were thumped, 66-22, at home by the Tigers on Oct. 25. Running back and leading defender John Perriman and his team wants to redeem themselves. The redemption tour starts Friday night against Petersburg in the first game of a doubleheader in Valley.
3. Groom can make a run
The way the Division II Region I bracket sets up don’t be surprised to see the Tigers playing December football. Groom has done it before making runs to the state championship game in 1999 and most recently 2014. Neither resulted in bringing home gold, but this 2019 team looks poised to do just that. The Tigers will start their playoff run against the mighty Kangaroos of Kress in Claude.
Can a team that has a No. 1-seed really be considered a sleeper? In a playoff system where only two teams make it into the postseason, some have to agree that it can happen. Petersburg Is a team to look out for. The Buffaloes got off to a slow start to the year, but it’s not how you start, but how you finish. With wins against Happy and Nazareth to claim the District 2-1A Division I title, the Buffaloes are getting hot at the perfect time.
5. Familiar Foes
The teams in Region II have given the area problems before, and could again in the state semifinals. Powerhouse names like Borden County and Jayton are teams to pay attention to. The Coyotes are 10-0 with a impressive 66-37 win over White Deer in their pocket. The Jaybirds are the No. 1-ranked team in Division II, and for good reason. Jayton is battled tested and have a defense that has allowed under 10 points a contest.
6. The end of an era
After eight straight district championships and eight straight appearances in the playoffs, they’ll be no Follett Panthers in this years postseason. The Panthers (2-6 overall) couldn’t overcome injuries, before improving late in the season. A tip of the cap to one of the Texas Panhandle staples over the past decade. During Follett’s eight-year run, the Panthers appeared in three state championship games, four state semifinals and seven state quarterfinals.