Thursday, August 16, 2012

2012 District 3-AAA Power Rankings - Preseason

In less than 24 hours, the 2012 high school football season will be underway. I've finally gotten a chance to evaluate each of the teams in district 3-AAA, and here are my thoughts going into Week 0:
  1. Oak Ridge - The Wildcats appear to be the team to beat in the district this season. A lot of talent returns on both offense and defense, with shifty athlete Rian Hall moving from the slot to the QB spot. This team should have a lot of talent in the backfield, a very balanced offense, and a solid defense. Opening game - At Farragut Friday night.
  2. Powell - The Panthers have a lot of talent to replace from last year's state runner-up team, but I expect another solid offensive season. Dustin McPhetridge is gone, but a very capable Hagen Owenby will replace him under center. The loss of Dy'shawn Mobley is huge, but look for the combo of Montario Washington and Ty'shawn Gardin to get the bulk of the carries. The big question mark on this team will be defense. An experienced secondary returns, but they are a young up the middle. Hosting Rhea County Friday night.
  3. Anderson County - The Mavericks could flip-flop positions with Powell, depending on their play early. This young team really missed Tanner Williams last season, but I expect them to be a more polished team offensively, with a lot more balance. The bigger question for the Mavs - Are they better defensively? They better be, if they want to compete with Oak Ridge and Powell. Hosting CAK Friday night.
  4. Karns - The middle tier in district 3-AAA is wide open, and the Beavers are looking to improve on their historic season last year. Toss up between Hardin Valley and Karns, but I think the Hawks have a lot more to replace in 2012. Hosting South Doyle Friday night.
  5. Hardin Valley - Dorian Eskridge is gone, and Aaron Blance is back at Webb. The Hawks weren't as good defensively as most thought they'd be last year, and they'll need to be solid early, while they find their offense. At Bearden Friday night.
  6. Campbell County - The Cougars could be the most improved team in the district, depending on how they replace Tuffy Shoupe. Hosting Seymour Friday night.
  7. Central - The Bobcats are still a very young team, but the combination of Josh Poplar and Xavier Johnson could be potent. This team still suffers from a lack of depth, especially on defense. At Catholic Friday night.
  8. Clinton - The Dragons showed improvement late in 2011, and they are looking to build on a near miss against Anderson County at the end of the season. Lots of work to do, but not quite as much to do as Halls. Hosting Dobyns-Bennett in Week 1. 
  9. Halls - The Red Devils have a lot of rebuilding to do. Lone win could come against Clinton, like last season. At Sevier County in Week 1. 
Other teams to watch out for in 5A (early title contenders):
  • Knox West
  • Lenoir City
  • Columbia
  • Henry County