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Texas Football Magazine picks Hawks third

by Kevin Hamilton
The Iowa Park Hawks have been picked to finish third in District 3-4A Division II, according to the newly-released issue of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine.
This year’s issue of “the bible of Texas football” features more than 1,400 previews of high school teams, plus all divisions of college football and the two professional teams in the state.
All 400 pages of the 58th edition of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine (TFM) are in color, for the first time. The preview magazine first published in 1960, in all black and white.
Graham is picked to win the 3-4A crown, followed by Krum, Iowa Park, Vernon, and Bridgeport.
The 2017 notes on the Hawks, according to TFM say “With six returning starters on each side of the ball, Iowa Park is ready to make some serious noise this season.
“WR/DB (Billy) Pearson (729 receiving, 9 TDs, 84 tackles) is one of the best pure athletes in the district and will make an impact on both sides of the ball.
“The Hawks might have the best linebacker crew in the area – LBs (Branden) Brewer (101 tackles, (Hunter) Bagley (65 tackles, (Waylynn) Williams (94 tackles) and (Brendan) Payton (71 tackles) are all back.”
TFM calls out other “players to watch” including WR/DB Mason Kaufhold (5-10, 155,4.5), OL/DL Jermiah Stanley (6-2, 255, 5.2), WR Ridgley Dietrichson (6-1, 155, 4.6), QB Trent Green (6-0, 190, 4.8), WR Kase Johnson and ATH Kason Dickerson.
Graham, which recently captured the state Division II 7-on-7 championship in College Station, will have a senior-laden squad in 2017, most of them among the 14 returning starters.
The Steers are the 17th-ranked 4-A DII team, according to TFM, and led by “money player” quarterback Tucker Horn, who threw for 2,625 yards in his junior season, and led his 7-on-7 championship team. Defensivee lineman Hunter Dooley is also picked as a preseason All-State player.
Other top players for Graham include receiver Adam Groves, linebacker Joel Jones, and safety Wes Martin.
Krum, last year’s 3-4A champ, lost some key players from 2016, but return a number of playmakers including runningback Donald Brown, and receiver Lorenzo Tystad. The Bobcat line will be their main strength, returing Marc Barrera, Antonio Barazza, and Zane Carrasco. The defense will be led by lineman Ben Perches, linebacker Deontrell Butts, and back Caleb Schertz.
Vernon is hoping to improve from a 2-9 2016 season, and returns one of the premier backs in the district in Brandon McCallon. Other Lion players that shoud be noted include lineman Preston Newman, linebacker T.J. Story, defensive backs Chad Thomas and Demoray Wright, and defensive lineman Truman Castleberry.
Bridgeport is also hoping to improve from a 3-7 season in 2016, and will be relatively young. Key players for first year coach Shannon Wilson are runningback Cole Barton, receiver Michael Cole, and linebacker Christian Hand, who was the team’s leading tackler as a sophomore.
Krum is picked just behind Graham in the TFM state-rankings for 2017 at 18th. Gilmer is ranked first, followed by West Orange-Stark, Cuero, Celina, Giddings, Wimberley, and Monahans. Sweetwater is at 10th.
In the Coaches Poll, Sweetwater is picked fifth.
Monahans is picked to win District 2-4A DII. TFM predicts the Region I championship game to be between Monahans and Sweetwater.
Among the Hawks’ 2017 opponents, TFM picks Hirschi to place fourth and Burkburnett fifth in a tough 4-4A DI led by Argyle and Decatur.
The Huskies will be the first scrimmage opponent for the Hawks this fall, and the Bulldogs will be the regular season opener.
Iowa Park’s second scrimmage opponent, Henrietta, is picked by TFM to win the District 5-3A DII crown. Holliday, the Hawks’ Homecoming opponent on Sept. 29, is picked third in 5-3A, behind the Bobcats and Nocona.
Childress (Sept. 15 at home against the Hawks) is picked second in District 1-3A DII behind Canadian.
Mineral Wells (Sept. 22 at home against the Hawks) is picked to finish second in District 5-4A DI behind Kennedale.
Wall (Oct. 6 in Breckenridge) is the sixth-ranked team in 3A DI (third in Coaches Poll), and is picked to win District 2-3A DI over Kermit and San Angelo Grape Creek.
TFM picks Brock to defeat Wall in the 1-3A DI regional finals.
The Wall Hawks have a deep tradition in multiple sports, and recently was recognized for UIL Lone Star Cup for 3A schools. The Hawks were state runners-up in baseball, state semifinalists in football, regional finalists in girls basketball and regional semifinalists in softball and boys basketball. They also earned points at state with a third-place finish in boys track & field and a fourth-place finish in girls track & field.