Predicting the District 29-6A race
The top four teams from each district advance to the University Interscholastic League playoffs, which start on Nov. 16. The two schools with the largest enrollments compete in the Division I bracket and the two smaller schools advance to Division II.
(School enrollments are in parentheses.)
1. Laredo United (4,412): Prolific running back Isaac Velazquez among Longhorns’ returnees.
2. Southwest (3,858): Coach Matt Elliott led Dragons to playoffs in first season back.
3. Laredo United South (3,348): Panthers coming off first 10-win season in school history.
4. Eagle Pass (2,392): Sophomore running back Ricky De Los Santos could be special.
5. Del Rio (2,927): Rams have recorded three 10-win seasons in past eight seasons
6. Laredo Alexander (2,746): Quarterback Matthew O’Connor back to spark offense.
7. South San (2,562): Bobcats haven’t had a winning season since finishing 8-2 in 2005.
8. Laredo Johnson (2,874): Wolves starting season with a new head coach.
Preseason Offensive MVP: United running back Isaac Velazquez
Preseason Defensive MVP: United South linebacker Allan Martinez
Here is a breakdown of the San Antonio-area teams in District 29-6A:
2. Southwest Dragons
Coach: Matt Elliott, 46-14 in two different stints (2006-09, 2016)
2016 records: 8-4 overall, 5-2 in District 29-6A (two-way tie for third)
Last playoff appearance: 2016, lost to Los Fresnos 27-19 in 6A Division I second round
Starters returning (O/D): 9/5
Season opener: vs. Cedar Park Vista Ridge, Sept. 1, UIW Benson Stadium
District 29-6A opener: at Del Rio, Sept. 22
Outlook: Elliott had a good season in his first year back at Southwest, leading the Dragons to their 11th consecutive playoff campaign. He was 38-9 in four seasons (2006-09) as the Dragons’ head coach before he went to New Braunfels Canyon. With nine starters back on offense, Southwest should have no problem moving the ball this season. The all-senior trio of running backs Bostin Crisp, Sean Ruiz and Martin Torres are back to help fuel the Dragons’ ground-oriented offense. Junior Damian Lopez will start at quarterback, and seniors Elijah Amaro and Joshua Martinez anchor the offensive line. Crisp also will start at linebacker. Other players expected to contribute heavily are senior lineman Steve Segura,, wide receiver/cornerback Rosendo Olague and junior offensive lineman Christian Adame. Ruiz (cornerback) and Torres (linebacker) also will see playing time on defense. Southwest won a co-district titles and three outright championships in its previous three seasons with Elliott at the helm.
7. South San Antonio Bobcats
Coach: Ronald Kretz, 0-10 in one season at South San
2016 records: 0-10 overall, 0-7 in District 29-6A (eighth)
Last playoff appearance: 2007, lost to Gregory-Portland 41-14 in 4A Division I bi-district
Starters returning (O/D): 8/7
Season opener: vs. McCollum, Sept. 1, South San Stadium
District 29-6A opener: at Laredo United South, Sept. 21
Outlook: After three consecutive 1-9 seasons, South San dropped to 0-10 last year. The Bobcats have missed the playoffs for nine straight seasons, and haven’t finishing with a winning record since going 8-2 in 2005. They advanced to the postseason in 2006 and 2007, but finished with winning records both years. Versatile junior Raul Agosto leads the list of 15 South San Starters. He passed for 353 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 865 yards and eight TDs last year. Senior James Valencia also proved to be a dual threat last year, rushing for 491 yards and three TDs and catching 12 passes for 366 yards and three TDs. Senior lineman Jay Gonzalez is the headliner on the defensive unit.