Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine preview: Big Country Class 6A and 5A

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The Abilene High Eagles snapped a streak of three straight seasons without going to the playoffs in 2020 with a fourth place finish in District 2-6A. Because of Covid-19, the season was one of fits and starts and worries each week that they wouldn’t play, but head coach Mike Fullen’s teams managed to push forward. The 2021 Eagles try to go to the playoffs in back to back seasons for the first time since 2016. Abel Ramirez is back at quarterback to lead the offense, and seven starters are back on defense.

AHS head coach Mike Fullen said, “The season will be here before you know it, and it’s been a quick turn around. We played at Christmas, and it seemed like we were getting ready for spring ball a week later. Now, we are getting ready for a fall season, but really looking forward to it.”

Midland Legacy, formerly Midland Lee, is picked to win the district over Odessa Permian and Central. Abilene High is expected to go back to the playoffs. Frenship, Midland, and Odessa are on the outside looking in.

Let’s turn to Class 5A Division I and the Cooper Cougars. Aaron Roan’s team was dominant in District 3-5A in 2020, and that is expected, again. The Cougars lost their record setting quarterback and running back, but their are plenty of pieces that are back for Cooper to roll in 2021. The returners on the line and at receiver on offense are enough to build around. The defense will give the offense time to grow. Jacob Deax, Lawrence Diles, and Johnathon Van Winkle combined for 186 tackles last year, and they are back.

Cooper head coach Aaron Roan said, “I think our defensive front should be a strong suit for us. There’s a lot of returning experience in that front seven. They continue to progress. We were able to put more on than we normally would.”

The Cougars are picked to win the district title and return to the playoffs for the 14th year in a row. Azle, Fort Worth Brewer, and Justin Northwest are picked by Texas Football to go to the postseason.

There is a air of optimism surrounding the Wylie Bulldogs in 2021. Head coach Clay Martin’s team is coming off it’s first appearance in the Class 5A playoffs, and Texas Football says they will go back this year. The Bulldogs line, anchored by Z’Xavier Collins and Jaxon Lunsford, is bigger up front than they’ve been since moving up, and if you are able to control the line of scrimmage, you have a chance to win games.

Wylie head coach Clay Martin said, “To have a little reward, to make the playoffs at the end was big and a stepping stone for our team.”

Here are Texas Football’s picks. Lubbock Cooper is expected to win the district. Wichita Falls Rider will be right on their heals. Wylie is third, and Canyon Randall takes the final playoff spot.

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