By Angel Verdejo
The Cove Herald
If history repeats itself, things could be looking up for the Lampasas Badgers.
In 1975, Lampasas head coach Joey McQueen was one of many high school football players to have his photo grace the pages of Dave Campbell's Texas Football.
"You wouldn't recognize me - I had long hair back then where I don't have any hair now," McQueen said.
At Ballinger (between San Angelo and Abilene), McQueen led a wishbone running attack that fell just short of the postseason. Only one team per district made the playoffs then, and Ballinger, after an 8-0 start, finished second.
"We were going to have a good team that year, and I was the quarterback," he said. "It was just very neat."
The Badgers have more chances to reach the playoffs, as now three Class 3A teams move on, but just as McQueen was front and center 36 years ago, his quarterback can now claim the same. Brandon Scott is one of two local standouts to have his photo in Texas Football's 2011 edition, released last week.
"I assume back then they did the same thing as we do now," McQueen said. "They just ask us as coaches if you feel like you're going to have a good team, then send in (photos of) some of your top players."
But while Scott and Copperas Cove quarterback Orlando Thomas were the lone area players to have their pictures in print, the two weren't the only ones mentioned.
Joining Thomas on the Super Team is Harker Heights offensive lineman Camrhon Hughes, his future teammate at the University of Texas. Both were second-team honorees - Hughes on the line and Thomas at wide receiver, where he played as a sophomore.
Aledo running back Johnathan Gray is the Offensive Player of the Year, while defensive honors went to Denton Ryan defensive lineman Mario Edwards.
Thomas and Hughes were also listed in the Texas Top 300. Two of Hughes' teammates - one being his brother - were listed among the Top 100 juniors. Darius James is noted as a top defensive lineman, while Naashon Hughes is one of 11 defensive backs.
Despite the trio of notables, Texas Football projects the Knights to miss the postseason. Looking at the area, most of the projections look similar to last season's final standings.
A&M Consolidated, Belton, Bryan and Copperas Cove were 12-5A's playoffs teams. Those four are again picked to move on, with Cove slated as the winner ahead of A&M Consolidated (the Tigers won 12-5A last year ahead of Cove).
Bryan and Belton are picked to finish third and fourth ahead of Ellison, Harker Heights, Temple and Shoemaker.
In its 12-5A overview, Texas Football says "Harker Heights and Ellison are capable darkhorses in the playoff race," while adding "Belton and Bryan have no margin for error."
Cove's opener at Southlake Carroll is the 5A Week 0 game to watch, as the Bulldawgs look to beat the seven-time state champions for the second straight year.
Killeen is a projected playoff team in 8-4A, though the Kangaroos are slated to finish fourth behind Waco. The two finished the other way around last year behind 8-4A champion Waco Midway, picked this year behind Stephenville. Midway and Stephenville are ranked 10th and 8th, respectively, in the magazine's preseason 4A poll.
The changes from 2010 come in the 3A ranks, where Gatesville isn't picked to make its third straight playoff appearance. Picked second last year, the Hornets rallied after an 0-2 start to force a three-team tie behind first-place Lorena.
Gatesville and Waco La Vega, this year's favorite, reached the playoffs, while China Spring, picked to finish third this year, didn't.
In 25-3A, Liberty Hill and Burnet lead the way, while, again, Lampasas is projected to reach the postseason. The Badgers were picked second a year ago and to even claim the Region IV, Division I crown, but finished fifth in the district as the season played out.
Salado is picked fourth after going winless in district in 2010, the Eagles' first year in 3A.
Florence is picked sixth in 12-2A Division I, which features 2010 state runner-up Cameron Yoe.