The Killeen Kangaroos earned preseason football recognition this year for disregarding the disrespect they received last year.
Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine picked the Roos to make the playoffs in 2013, a season after the prestigious publication, dubbed the ‘Bible of Texas high school football,’ predicted Killeen would miss out on its fifth straight playoff appearance in its first year in 5A.
“They had a little chip on your shoulder. The kids thought that we were better than people were giving us credit for,” Killeen coach Sam Jones said. “Our kids expect to win. They’re going to play hard and we’re going to give it everything we’ve got. We’ve just got to hold on to what they predict us to do this time.”
The Summer 2013 edition of DCTF, which features Texas A&M and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel on the cover, hit newsstands Wednesday.
The magazine predicts Waco Midway, a Division I state semifinalist in its first season in 5A last year, and Copperas Cove to finish first and second in District 8-5A and Killeen and Temple to finish third and fourth.
“We’re just like anybody else, we’ve got a lot of confidence in who we are and we certainly fancy ourselves a playoff team,” said Temple head coach Mike Spradlin. “We think we can be right in the middle of the race, and that’s our goal and that’s our plan.”
Harker Heights, which made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2006, is predicted to finish fifth.
The Knights, who are picked just ahead of Belton, Shoemaker and Ellison, have to replace head coach Mike Mullins, who announced his resignation Monday.
Ellison, which has lost 20 straight games going into the 2013 season, will also have a new head coach this year. Killeen ISD hired former Austin Anderson head coach Trent Gregory in January to replace former head coach Buddy McBryde.
The magazine tabs Cove running back Vondereaz King and Midway defensive lineman Bubu Alvarez as its preseason district offensive and defensive MVPs.
Shoemaker linebacker Malik Clemons, the District 12-5A defensive newcomer of the year in 2011, Temple offensive lineman Darius Joiner and Belton offensive lineman Justin Murphy, a Texas Tech commit, were among the magazine’s Top 300 recruits.
Temple junior quarterback Chad President, the Wildcats’ leading receiver and the district’s offensive newcomer of the year last season, was among the magazine’s Top 100 junior prospects.
“Chad’s going to bring some stuff to the table, he’s different than Zach (Allen), but nonetheless, we think he’s going to be a good dual-threat guy for us,” Spradlin said.
Belton offensive lineman Zack Shackleford and Cove offensive lineman J.P. Urquidez were among its Top 25 sophomores.
Gatesville is predicated to finish fourth in District 8-3A a year after the Hornets won the district title and lost its only game in a Division II state quarterfinal. Brownwood, Burnet and Liberty Hill are expected to claim the top three finishes while Lampasas is predicted to finish sixth in the six-team district.
Salado and Florence are expected to finish sixth and eighth, respectively, in District 13-2A Division I. Defending 2A state champion Cameron Yoe is predicted to win the district. Lago Vista, McGregor and Marlin are expected to take the district’s final three playoff spots. Lometa is expected to finish fifth in the five-team District 9-6M Division I. Zephyr and Santa Anna are expected to finished first and second in that district.
“I’ve never put much into it. I’ve always loved Texas Football magazine, I’m not going to pretend that (I didn’t),” Spradlin said. “It’s been one of my favorites since I was a kid, it’s just been around so long, it’s fun to read, but as far as where you get picked preseason to me is almost irrelevant.
“It really is about where you finish up, not where you start,” he added. “I’d much rather be standing there at the end than being picked at the first. I think that’s the key.”