By Angel Verdejo
The Cove Herald
Just as nearly every high school football fan in Texas has a different opinion on the upcoming season, the same can be said for preview magazines.
The Old Coach Friday Night Football Texas, or FNF for short, hit the shelves this week, becoming the second magazine to preview high school football across the entire field for the 2010 season. Dave Campbell's Texas Football, which is also referred to as the "Bible of Texas Football," was released in the middle of June.
Like Texas Football, FNF previews nearly every high school in the state while also highlighting players, coaches and teams.
A big difference however, is FNF is solely dedicated to high school football, where DCTF previews both college and professional football in Texas as well.
Looking at the area district - 12-5A - the four projected playoff teams are the same in both magazines, but the predicted order of finish is different. Copperas Cove is predicted by both magazines to reach the playoffs.
FNF predicts Belton to capture the 12-5A crown, an honor the Tigers shared last season with A&M Consolidated. Both teams finished 6-1 in district play, just ahead of the Bulldawgs, who went 5-2 last season.
Cove is picked to finish second, with A&M Consolidated and Bryan projected to place third and fourth, respectively.
The same four reached the playoffs a year ago, though only Belton advanced past the bi-district round of the postseason.
Texas Football projected the Dawgs to finish third behind A&M Consolidated and Belton.
The Dawgs are No. 47 in FNF's Top 50 Class 5A teams. Defending Division II champion Abilene is atop the poll, while Division I champ Euless Trinity is second. Belton is No. 30.
Looking at the Dawgs' FNF preview, the magazine says, "Welch has created a winning tradition in his 15 years at Cove, and an abundance of skill players should only add to that legacy and help the program bounce back from its first bi-district loss in seven years."
Highlighted offensive players for Cove include junior wide receivers Johnny Sirmans and Orlando Thomas, senior offensive lineman Cody Elenz and running backs Brandon Hamilton and Will Randolph. Thomas could find himself all over the field, similar to former Cove standout Brelan Chancellor, while Hamilton returns to the offensive side of the ball after earning all-district honors at linebacker last season.
On defense, seniors Trevor Valdez and Brandon Durant are both highlighted. The two enter their third seasons on varsity, with Durant likely to become Cove's second player from this senior class to commit to a Football Bowl Sub-Division school. Valdez was the first - the defensive tackle committed to Baylor in the spring.
Durant also is listed among theoldcoach.com's Top 100 seniors, with the linebacker No. 57. Other area recruits on the list are Belton quarterback David Ash (29) and Ellison linebacker Devon Hocutt (84).
According to the rankings, Durant is, "A great player without a doubt. The question is where to put the talented defender."
Both Sirmans and Thomas are listed in the others to watch for wideouts in theoldcoach.com's best of the Class of 2012. Thomas and Durant are among the 5A snapshots.
Former Cove standouts are also listed, as FNF lists every Texas player on an FBS school roster during the 2009-10 season. The list includes: Robert Griffin III (Baylor), Rashad Hawk (Texas Tech), Joseph Leary (Rice), Donald Buckram (UTEP), Tanner Brock (TCU), Logan Brock (TCU), Josh Boyce (TCU), Sterling Lewis (Arizona), Troy Vital (Idaho) and Alphonso Powell (New Mexico State).