Progress staff reports
Jacksonville Daily Progress
When it comes to Class-A-I football this fall it appears that the Alto Yellowjackets could have a big say in who the eventual state champion is.
On Tuesday TheOldCoach.com released its preseason Class A-I Top 10 and the Yellowjackets checked in at No. 2, trailing only Mart — earlier this month Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine also listed Mart and Alto as the top two teams in their pre-season poll.
In fact, each publication saw eye-to-eye on the top five picks, which following the Mean Sting were, Mason's Punchers, Stamford and Central Texas power Shiner.
There is much to relish about Alto; although the team will be led by a brand new head coach, Paul Gould, who takes over for Keith Gardner, who retired.
Alto went 11-3 in 2012 and returns Texas Football's preseason player of the year in senior Jacolby Whitaker.
In addition to Whitaker, who rushed for 2,696 yards and 39 touchdowns a season ago, 20 of his teammates from last season return as well, making Alto one of the saltier Class A-I teams in the state.
Quarterback Zac Sturns is also back as is wide receiver Anfernee Black, making the Mean Sting anything but a one-trick (Whitaker) pony.
On the defensive side, defensive end Ja'Vie'Ontae Mumphrey and defensive back Leroy Lewis are back and are among seven defensive starters that the team returns.
Mumphrey came up with 73 tackles and 14 sacks in 2012 while Lewis, a transfer from Rusk prior to last season, had 62 stops and five interceptions.