It's always fun to look at the wide open brackets to try to figure out how everything plays out. The beauty is, there's always upsets, but the cream usually rises to the top. We've looked at all of the brackets and offer what we think could happen:
5A Divsion I: This is by far the toughest classification this year. Seven of the top ten ranked teams in the state reside here. This is going to be brutal. Let's take Lufkin for instance. If they are to win a state championship this year, they will probably have to face five ranked teams in their six games. The game that everyone will have their eye on, though, will be #1 Southlake Carroll versus #3 Euless Trinity in the second round! The winner of that game will be odds on favorite to win the championship. With their history, along with what they've accomplished this season so far, we think Southlake Carroll wins that game, and goes on to play Lufkin in the semifinals. The winner of that game will probably face fifth-ranked Galena Park North Shore for the title. Sorry Panthers, but we think it's going to be the South Lake Carroll Dragons winning it all.
5A Division II: There are no ranked teams in Region two right now, which bodes well for the 12-5A teams. John Tyler will have their hands full with Dallas Carter in the first round. Longview faces a road block in round two against Garland. History says Carter and Garland meet for the Regional championship with Garland pulling it out. They should fall to 6th-ranked Cedar Hill in the semi's, who will in turn lose to Katy in the state title game. It won't be easy for Katy, though. They'll probably have to get by 9th-ranked Smithson Valley in the semi's. But Katy is the pick.
4A Divison I: This is an easy pick, yet a hard pick, because the state championship game is going to be played in the second round. Texas High will get a rematch against Highland Park, who beat them in the first round of the playoffs last year on their way to the state title. We think the Texas High Tigers get their revenge and win the Division I championship.
4A Divison II: This should be a wide open division this year. Whitehouse has the chance to go pretty far. Unfortunately, their lack of depth may haunt them in round three when they play 9th-ranked Waco. Waco should play Stephenville in the semi's. We give the nod to Stephenville. But in the end, Brenham should emerge as the champion.
3A Division I: Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor knew before the season even started that his Buckeyes would probably have to face Liberty-Eylau in the first round. If they get by that game, it should be clear sailing all the way to the title game. Their opponent will more than likely be the winner of the second round matchup between Hutto and Diboll. Our nod goes to Diboll. In an All-East Texas final, Gilmer wins their second state championship in three years.
3A Division II: There are several good teams happy Gilmer is Division I. Key games include Celina versus Dallas Madison, Brownsboro versus Atlanta, and West Orange Stark versus Gidding, all in the second round. We think Madison emerges over Atlanta for the Region two title. Cuero should stop West Orange Stark in the semi's. That sets up a classic between Cuero and Madison. Our pick is Cuero as champion.
2A Division I: The simple truth here is Region three is the state championship bracket. Whoever emerges from this region will have their toughest competition behind them. 5th-ranked Tatum will most likely play 6th-ranked Jefferson in the second round. The winner of that game will have to face the winner of 4th-ranked Newton against 7th-ranked Marlin. Our pick, and I know it's the safe pick, but who cares... Tatum wins their second straight title.
2A Division II: Again, Region three probably holds the state champion. 2005 state finalists Paul Pewitt (2A-DII) and Big Sandy (1A) match up in the first round and it takes off from there. #2 Crawford will have a say in the outcome of that side of the Region three bracket, with #1 Mart probably coming out of the other side, if they can get by Troup. The Region champion should face #3 Lexington in the semifinals, then face #9 Blanco in the finals. our pick is Mart.
1A Division I: 1A moves to two divisions this year for the first time. There are only two ranked teams in Division I, and they will have to play each other in the third round. #2 Alto beats #6 Wolfe City and goes on to win the state title.
1A Division II: This is anyone's guess. A lot of good teams will have a shot at it. Expect #2 New Deal to win out in Region 1, but fall to #1 Windthorst in the semifinals. We think #10 Grapeland can make it to the semifinals, but will have their hands full with #5 Chilton. Regardless of who wins that game, we think Windthorst wins the state title.