Seventeen schools officially made the jump from 4A to 5A this morning. Additionally, three new schools jump right into the state’s top classification.
Most Notable Additions:
Denton Ryan Raiders
District: 5-5A (previously 4-4A)
2011 Record: 12-1, 4A Division 1 Regional Semifinalist
Coach: Joey Florence
* Opened in 1987, previously in 5A (’94-’97, ’04, ’05)
* Two time 4A State Champs (’01, ’02), Five time 4A State Finalists (’00, ’01,’02, ’03, ’10)
Analysis: Despite graduating all-everything defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. (Florida St.), Ryan is one of those programs that reloads on a yearly basis. Region 1 is a tough nut to crack, but Ryan will certainly have its say in the regional title.
Waco Midway Panthers
District: 8-5A (previously 8-4A)
2011 Record: 12-3, 4A Division 1 State Finalist
Coach: Terry Gambill
* Opened in 1987, first time in 5A
* 4A State Finalists (2011), 45-9 in the last four seasons
Analysis: A very young Panther team took Lake Travis down to the bitter end in last year’s 4A Division 1 final. An eye-opening 17 starters (8 offense, 9 defense) and roughly 75% of lettermen return for the 2012 season. It’s hard to imagine these guys not enjoying a seamless transition to 5A.
Lake Travis Cavaliers
District: 15-5A (previously 25-4A)
2011 Record: 16-0, 4A Division 1 State Champs
Coach: Hank Carter
* Opened in 1982, first time in 5A
* Five time 4A State Champs (’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11)
Analysis: The Cavaliers come right in and instantly become one of the favorites to claim a state title. Headliners QB Baker Mayfield and RB Varshaun Nixon both return. This group is a machine that is currently on a run that no one in Texas can match. That being said, they do take a step up in week-to-week competition and depth come playoff time.
District: 22-5A (previously 24-4A)
2011 Record: 15-1, 4A Division 2 State Finalist
Coach: Kirk Martin
* Opened in 2008, first time in 5A
* 34-15 since opening, 26-4 in last two seasons
Analysis: The Mavericks are located in an area deep with talent. Seven starters return from last year’s group, including QB Shane McCarley. Making the playoffs isn’t a question with Manvel and Pearland being the clear favorites of the new 22-5A. They’re an instant contender for a Region 3 title and possibly more depending on other key positions.
Smithson Valley Rangers
District: 25-5A (previously 27-4A)
2011 Record: 10-2, 4A Division 1 Area Finalist
Coach: Larry Hill
* Opened in 1976, previously in 5A (’02-’09)
* Three time State Finalists (’01, ’02,’04)
* Made playoffs in seven of last eights seasons in 5A, including four state semifinals, and two state finals.
Analysis: A familiar foe returns to 5A. The Rangers enjoyed an extremely successful run at this level from 2002-2009 and we expect more of the same this time around out of Region 4. Leading 40+ returning lettermen in the Fall will be RB Lawrence Mattison (2,000 yards, 27 touchdowns).
Moving Up from 4A:
* Previously in 5A
Brownsville Veterans Memorial, Carrollton Turner*, Denton Ryan*, Keller Timber Creek, Killeen*, La Joya Juarez-Lincoln, Lake Travis, Manvel, McKinney*, New Braunfels Canyon, Pflugerville Hendrickson, Richardson Pearce*, Rockwall*, Rockwall Heath, Smithson Valley*, Waco Midway, Weslaco East
New Schools (3):
Clear Falls, Edinburg Vela, Round Rock Cedar Ridge