With perennial state football powers Ennis, Lufkin and John Tyler all calling District 16-5A home for at least the next two school terms, perhaps the biggest question leading into the 2014 season is how those aforementioned heavy hitters will stack up against one another this fall.
Dave Campbell's Texas Football Magazine, which is hot off of the press and on sale at retailers across the state now, has made its predictions — with Ennis's Lions on top, followed by John Tyler and the Panthers from Lufkin.
At No. 4 is Whitehouse, followed by Nacogdoches, Corsicana, Lindale and Jacksonville.
With 23 lettermen and 11 starters returning off of a Class 4A, Division II state semi-finalist unit from a year ago, there's no reason that Ennis is the chalk.
Defensively Ennis struts out James “The Beast” Lockhart, a strong-side defensive end that has offers from over 50 top-level NCAA Division I schools.
Alabama and Texas A&M appear to have the inside track as to securing Lockhart's services after his days in Ennis are done.
Lockhart amassed 122 tackles a year ago and is Texas Football's 16-5A Preseason Defensive Most Valuable Player.
The potent Lion offense is sparked by quarterback Devin Smith, a 5-foot-10, 160 lb. Senior who passed for 2,100 yards and 20 touchdowns last year.
Smith also had 500 yards on the ground and scored six rushing touchdowns.
Of course John Tyler is no stranger to Jacksonville fans.
The fellows form North Tyler went 7-4 in 2013 before bowing out in the first round of the state Class 4A, D-I playoffs.
With 16 starters returning this year's pack of Lions should be a little bit more ferocious than last year's.
Led by signal caller Geo McCollester (2,615 yards, 22 TDs) — Texas Football's Preseason Offensive MVP — the Lions scored 40 points six times last year and went over the half-century mark on three occasions.