By Brandon C. Williams
The Post Newspaper Managing Editor
A number of area high school football teams are ranked among the state’s top teams in their respective classes as the 2023 season begins on August 25.
Hitchcock has garnered the most attention as the Bulldogs are ranked seventh in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Class 3A-I rankings. The team returns 19 total starters from the 2022 squad that finished 11-2 overall. Coach Craig Smith’s Bulldogs are headlined by junior quarterback Lloyd Jones III and receiver Damien McDaniel, the latter of which was featured in the magazine as the Class 3A coverboy.
Jones enters his junior season as one of the state’s rising stars at the position after he accounted for nearly 3,300 yards from scrimmage and produced 44 touchdowns. Several Division I programs have already approached Jones, who will likely see his mailbox kept busy over the next two years.
Two teams from District 24-6A cracked the magazine’s top 50 teams in Class 6A with Dickinson ranked 28th overall and Clear Falls ranked 45th.
Longtime coach John Snelson brings back 10 starters from last year’s 8-4 team that is loaded with potential Division I prospects that includes defensive back Rodney Bimage, Jr., who committed to Arizona State over the summer. Tight ends Mason Peterson and Jeremiah Scoby have both drawn attention from top end college programs entering their junior seasons.
Falls will be out to prove last season’s 9-3 campaign wasn’t a one-off with 12 starters returning for coach Zach Head. The Knights, who had a share of the district title, will be guided by senior quarterback Landon Vessel, who tossed for 2,017 yards and 14 touchdowns last fall. Defensive end Le’Kell McGowan had seven sacks in 2022 and will anchor the defense.
Galveston Ball is ranked 18th in the Class 5A poll and will look for an even better season than last year’s 10-1 run that saw the Tors capture the District 9-5A-I title. Defensive star Jonah Williams decided against heading to prestigious IMG Academy and will return to a unit that allowed just 14 points in the regular season. Coach Shelton Bennight enters his third season with the Tors and will bring 13 total starters back.
Meanwhile, Texas City, which is ranked 25th in 5A-II, returns 14 starters for coach Shone Evans. The Stingarees finished 6-5 last season and will count on senior running back Caleb Bell to carry the team deep into the postseason. Bell, who rushed for 1,381 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2022, will be joined by quarterback Joey Duran on offense while linebacker Szyon Scott comes off a season that saw him record 12 sacks.