The potential start of the football season is right around the corner. With most teams’ summer workout programs closed for the rest of the week, it offers a chance to look ahead.
The Dave Campbell Football Magazine annually puts out its program rankings. The magazine ranks every high school football team one through 1,189. To make their rankings, they look over a school’s past six years. They look at the number of 10 win seasons, total games won, winning percentage, and other criteria.
The El Campo Ricebirds will enter the season ranked as the 132nd best program. The Ricebirds jumped 46 spots from number 178 before the start of the 2019 campaign.
Included in the jump for the Ricebirds was last year’s first 10-win season since 2016. In the Wayne Condra era, El Campo has had two 10-win seasons and the Ricebirds have won 69 percent of their district games.
Only once in the past six seasons did the Ricebirds miss the playoffs. In the other five seasons, they went to the third round three times.
Despite losing some key offensive and defensive line through graduation, El Campo will bring back a team that remains largely intact from last season. Incoming senior Charles Shorter and incoming junior Johntre Davis both are coming off all-state seasons. Davis was a third-team all-state running back, while Shorter received honorable mention for his work as a defensive back and at running back.
El Campo won’t sneak up on anyone this season after having a resurgent 2019.
Tied with El Campo at 132 is Burleson Centennial (5A DII) and below them at 134 is Amarillo Tascosa (6A).
In 4A-D1 District 12, El Campo’s new district following realignment they’re ranked the best team, Bay City 911, Brazosport 892, Columbia 300, Needville 382 and Stafford 379.
The Louise Hornets come into the season ranked the 824th in the state. The Hornets drop 155 spots from their ranking before the start of last season.
What the rankings don’t factor in, despite Louise not having many wins over the past six years, they have made the playoffs each year and even have won three playoff games. In Wharton County, outside of East Bernard, Louise is the only other team who’s been to the playoffs in the last six years. The Hornets are one season into Joe Bill’s leadership as a head coach.
Louise has two all-district first-team athletes who’ll return this season. The Hornets should have a large senior class in 2020 with seven juniors who played last year.
Ranked above Louise is Fort Bend Dulles (6A) and Houston Worthing (4A DI) at 822 and below is Garland Naaman Forest (6A) at 824.
In 2A-D2 District 16 Louise’s home for the next two seasons, Falls City is the highest-ranked team at 72, Agua Dulce 466, Pettus 962, Runge 1,133, Woodsboro 490 and Yorktown 351.
The Rice Consolidated Raiders come into the year as the 379th best team in the state. The Raiders are one of the few teams in the state who’s positioning remains unchanged from this time last season.
Head Coach Jared Sloan has been leading the Raiders for the past two seasons and has compiled a 16-7 record and made the playoffs both years.
For the next two seasons, the Raiders will play in a higher division moving to 3A-D2 District 14. In their new district, East Bernard is ranked as the best team at 35, Brazos 791, Danbury 1,103, Tidehaven 276 and Van Vleck 401.
If football does happen this year, all three teams have a shot at making the playoffs for the second year in a row. Wharton County is the home of good football no matter what side of the river you live on.
The Wharton Tigers come into this year as the 512th best team in the state. The Tigers dropped 82 spots from their ranking of 430 last season.
The Boling Bulldogs will enter the season as the 188th best program in the state. Despite only winning one game last season, the Bulldogs only dropped 12 spots from the year prior.
The East Bernard Brahmas are the highest-ranked team in the Wharton County sports coverage area ranked 35th in the state. The Brahmas move up one spot from last season. In the past six seasons, they’ve won at least 10 games a year.