The 7-5A Division II season gets underway this week and if last season is any indication, it will be a full two months before the dust is settled.
A year ago, Frisco and Denton Braswell shared the district championship with 7-1 records. Lovejoy checked in at the third spot, while Reedy and Denison tied for fourth, with the Lions getting the playoff spot due to their head-to-head win.
The 7-5A Division II landscape has seen some changes.
District co-champion Braswell moved up all the way to Class 6A, while Reedy made the jump to 5A Division I.
The remaining members—Frisco, Lebanon Trail, Memorial, Lovejoy, Denison, Lake Dallas and Princeton—have been joined by Liberty, who drops down from Division I, and first-year program Prosper Rock Hill.
With a nine-team group, there is only room on the schedule for two non-district games, so there is a small sample size, but early contenders have emerged.
Here is a look at the field:
The Raccoons have enjoyed quite the recent turnaround, from 0-10 three years ago to 7-4 in 2018 and 11-2 last season.
Perhaps no team has been as impressive as Frisco out of the gates, as they put the clamps on explosive Independence in a 17-14 win and then shut out Reedy last week, 31-0.
The defense held the Knights to under 300 yards and forced a pair of turnovers, highlighted by an interception by reigning district MVP Chase Lowery to seal it, and they were even better against the Lions, giving up just 221 yards and forcing four turnovers.
The Raccoons return seven starters from that unit, including Lowery and all-district defensive back Myles Mays and lineman Kenmunta’ Miller.
Quarterback Caree’ Green got off to a rough start, but was an efficient 5-of-9 for 174 yards and a touchdown against Reedy and has run for a score in both games.
Bradford Martin has 20 carries for 150 yards and a touchdown and Lowery is always dangerous, as he showed last week with four catches for 127 yards and a score.
Lebanon Trail (2-0)
The Trail Blazers have endured the usual growing pains of a program that has only been around since 2018, but are off to an impressive start.
Lebanon Trail rolled over Berkner in a 39-14 rout in the opener and then took down Corsicana, a playoff team from last season, 34-31, last week, despite committing four turnovers.
Senior Drew Martin, a second-team all-district selection, has completed 20-of-35 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 107 yards and three scores.
Parker Mawhee (19-103, TD) and Gregory Hartley (17-140, TD) have each been effective running the ball and all-district wide receiver Drew Donley, who had four catches for 80 yards last week, is always a threat.
The Trail Blazer defense has been solid, forcing four turnovers in two games. Zach Robinson is an all-district corner back and Roman Knautz had a fumble return for a touchdown last week.
The Redhawks are coming off a 1-9 season, but after a hard-fought 35-27 loss to Reedy in the opener, matched that win total with a 39-20 victory over Greenville.
Liberty is putting up huge offensive numbers, averaging 475 yards per game.
The catalyst has been sophomore quarterback Keldric Luster, who has quickly emerged as one of the biggest playmakers in the area.
In two games, Luster has completed 37-of-68 passes for 575 yards without an interception and has been just as effective on the ground, with 33 carries for 237 yards and seven touchdowns.
Luster has been so good that Will Glatch, an all-district quarterback a year ago, has moved to defense.
All-district wide receiver Connor Hulstein (10-198) is off to a fast start, Preston Urbine and Jonathan Bone have been effective and the frightening prospect is all-district junior wide receiver Evan Stewart has yet to get untracked to his normal production.
The aforementioned Glatch posted a team-high 12 tackles in the opener, junior linebacker Daniel Ajayi is an active playmaker in the middle and all-district senior end Prince Ugoh is a force to be reckoned with on the line.
The Warriors lost a lead in the final minute in a 21-20 loss to Justin Northwest in their opener.
A week later, that game looks a little different.
Not only did Memorial post a 34-24 victory over Hallsville, but that Northwest team it held to 21 points exploded for more than 500 yards in a 63-49 win over McKinney North.
Quarterback Ethan Lollar has done a solid job in the starting quarterback role, hitting on 28-of-48 passes for 316 yards and two touchdowns.
Garren Huey has rushed for 126 yards and a score and several receivers have made plays, most notably junior Zion Steptoe, who has seven catches for 117 yards.
Defensively, Max Honsaker, Johnny Breeden, Kaleb Schraer and Jake Herzog each have 20 or more tackles in two games and Herzog and Breeden came up big last week, with Herzog recording a pair of interceptions and Breeden sealing it with a pick-6 in the final minutes.
The Leopards return 13 starters from last year’s playoff team and started quickly with a pair of 30-point wins over John Paul II (52-22) and Sulphur Springs (48-13).
Quarterback Ralph Rucker, last year’s district offensive most valuable player, has been on fire, completing 28-of-41 passes for 642 yards and eight touchdowns.
Reid Westervert has been the primary target with 12 catches for 299 yards and four scores, Luke Mayfield (4-109, 2 TDs) had a big game last week and Jaxson Lavender had a 43-yard touchdown catch.
Lovejoy can move the ball on the ground as well with Noah Naidoo, who has 31 carries for 143 yards and three touchdowns and also has a couple of big catches.
Lake Dallas (1-1)
The Falcons were impressive defensively in a 20-3 win over Denton in the opener, but fell to Centennial, 31-15, last week.
Lake Dallas returned only three starters on offense, but one was quarterback Trevor Moon, who is 18-of-32 for 174 yards and a touchdown and has rushed for 108 yards and a score.
Hunter Markham (29-86, TD) and Aundre Minnifield (19-37, TD) have shouldered the rushing load and five different receivers have at least four catches.
All-district linebacker Patrick Wenger leads the team with 17 tackles, while Gerry Beck had 15 stops, including five for loss and two sacks.
The Yellow Jackets are another seasoned team with 16 returning starters and split their first two games, defeating Sherman, 41-23, and falling to Texarkana Texas High, 24-3.
The Yellow Jackets had some rebuilding to do on the offensive line, but the skill positions were loaded with offensive newcomer of the year quarterback Caleb Heavner and all-district running backs J.D. Price and Asa Osbourn. That duo got off to a huge start in Week 1, with Price going for 188 yards and two touchdowns and Osbourn adding 98 yards and a pair of scores.
Keleon Vaughn, who had three catches for 58 yards a week ago, was an all-district selection on offense and on the other side at defensive back, where he already has one interception.
Vaughn is joined on defense by all-district honorees in linebackers Landon Ellis and Javonte Briscoe, end Jakalen Fields and safety Keebler Wagoner.
The Tigers bounced back from a 55-30 loss to Longview Pine Tree in its opener with a 50-20 rout of 6A South Garland on Friday.
Junior Isaiah Sadler has moved into the full-time starting role at quarterback and has completed 34-of-55 passes for 561 yards and seven touchdowns. His top target has been Gavin Champ, who has 17 receptions for 275 yards and five scores, and Devin Peoples and Atanas Ombati are also solid options.
Dillon Moncier has been effective on the ground with 26 carries for 184 yards and two touchdowns and freshman Jordan Novell (11-63, TD) has also gotten an early look.
Prosper Rock Hill (0-1)
The first-year Blue Hawks were competitive in their inaugural game, but could not quite keep pace with Heritage in a 61-45 loss. Rock Hill gave up more than 600 yards, yet they moved the ball itself with 439 yards, only to turn the ball over three times.
Quarterback Brenner Cox threw for 166 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 100 yards and a pair of scores.
Running back Donovan Shannon had a huge breakout game with 23 carries for 201 yards and three touchdowns and Aiden Houston (5-101, TD) was Cox’s top target.