The latest edition of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine not only spotlights a handful of area high school players but also ranks one Nolan County school in its preseason Top 10 poll.
Sweetwater quarterback Kaegan Jeffrey — who threw for 2,089 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore — and Blackwell running back Jayden Jones — who ran for 1,910 yards and 30 touchdowns as a junior — have been chosen by the magazine as the preseason Offensive MVPs in District 4-3A and District 8, Division II Six-Man, respectively.
Jeffrey and Jones are also among Nolan County’s athletes who are returning stat leaders in their districts.
Texas Football also in-cludes Roscoe’s pass-throwing combination in District 7-1A, Division II of quarter-back Matthew Davila and receiver Shelton Toliver, in addition to Highland running back Michael Hyde (1,055, 14 TDs) in District 7 Six-Man, Division I.
Jones’ 2012 rushing total ranks as the seventh highest among this year’s returning six-man players and Hyde ranks 29th among returnees, while Jeffrey is one of just 15 returning players in Class 3A to throw for at least 2,000 yards last year.
Blackwell, meanwhile, is No. 10 in Texas Football magazine’s six-man preseason poll for Division II.
The Hornets return four offensive and five defensive starters, including all-region picks Jones, Mason Magness, Ted Chambliss and Franck Cano, from a 5-6 team that ended a four-year playoff drought in 2012. The Hornets and district favorite Robert Lee (No. 9) are both picked in the state’s top 10.
Sweetwater, which last made the playoffs in 2008, is picked to finish fourth in District 4-3A this year and if the prediction holds up, the Mustangs would get into the playoffs. For the first time, four teams from each Class 3A district will advance to the playoffs.
Other returning all-district players are receiver-defensive back Kaleb Hoover, receiver Bray Amos, defensive back Isaiah McGee, offensive linemen Angel Caballero, Andrew Davis and Kendall Rea, defensive end Daven Alvarez and linebackers Ty Davis and Stephen May. Amos (50 catches, 652 yards) and Hoover (38, 562) were first team all-district as was McGee (56 tackles). Jeffrey was chosen co-newcomer of the year in the district.
Sweetwater was 4-6 over-all and 2-3 in district this past season.
Roscoe is picked fifth in eight-team District 7-1A, D-II after going 2-8 a year ago, a slight improvement over its 0-10 mark in 2011. Other all-district returnees are linebacker Vincent Pantoja, who as a freshman was the district co-defensive newcomer of the year; receivers Jesus Leanos, Esteban Benivamondez and Zack Longoria; safeties Kevin Lavalais and Luke Rovig; and linemen Chase Cathey, Anthony Ortegon, Domonic Pantoja and Rafael Pantoja. Leanos was also an all-district selection as a defensive back.
Highland is picked third in four-team District 7 Six-Man. In addition to Hyde, all-district returnees include fullback-defensive lineman Shelby Howard, receiver-lineman Gaga Soedarsono and spread back-safety Ethan Wilson. Hyde was also an all-district linebacker and kicker for Highland (5-5, 0-3 district in 2012).