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2020 HS Football Preview: 6A District 27 | Judson, Clemens expected to lead pack

KENS 5 breaks down each school's chances in what has traditionally been the San Antonio area's toughest football district.

SAN ANTONIO —

Clemens Buffaloes

  • Head coach: Jared Johnston, 53-37 in eight seasons at Clemens

  • Last year's record: 10-2

  • Playoff results: Lost to Brandeis 35-21 in second round

  • First game: San Angelo Central, October 2

For the first time in 13 years, Clemens was able to win a district title last season. They will have to replace a couple of star defensive players (Derrick Lewis to Texas Tech and Mason Chambers to Iowa State). Senior quarterback Max DiDomenico will lead a prolific offense bound for the playoffs, we think, once again.

RELATED: Return of senior QB Max DiDomenico gives defending 26-6A champ Clemens advantage

East Central Hornets

  • Head coach: Joe Hubbard, 10-30 in four seasons

  • Last year's record: 5-5

  • First game: @ Roosevelt, October 2

East Central has its work cut out for them. The Hornets have four starters returning. That’s it. Playing in this district is hard enough -- having that little experience makes it even tougher. We will talk about this group down the line after playing important snaps in 2020.

Judson Rockets 

  • Head coach: Rodney Williams, 12-2 heading into his second year

  • Last year's record: 12-2

  • Playoff results: Lost to Lake Travis 48-35 in quarterfinal

  • The Rockets have posted a state-record 43 straight winning seasons since 1977. 

  • First game: @ DeSoto, October 2

The Judson Rockets were primed to add Brandeis quarterback Jordan Battles and Wagner running back L.J. Butler, but after the UIL denied their transfers, the team will have to make a run towards a state championship without them. Despite not having those guys for the upcoming season, Judson will still be a force.

Running back De’Anthony Lewis has tons of Division I offers, offensive linemen Kamron Scott and Robert Rigsby are committed to UTSA and linebackers Donnie Moody and Treylin Payne will play on Saturdays as well. So, this squad is stacked and should be one of the last teams standing from our area at the end of the year.

RELATED: ‘Live like Bryce’: Bryce Wisdom’s legacy lives on

RELATED: Judson football coach feeling effects of COVID-19 on different fronts

New Braunfels Unicorns

  • Head coach: Glenn Mangold, 27-34 in six seasons

  • Last year's record: 5-5

  • First game: Won @ San Marcos 35-31 on September 25

If New Braunfels makes a run at the playoffs, it will be thanks to dual-threat quarterback Peyton Driggers. The three-year starter also has a solid running back to help him out in Ryker Purdy.

Smithson Valley Rangers

  • Head coach: Larry Hill, 238-79 in 27 seasons

  • Last year's record: 6-5

  • Playoff results: Lost to Lake Travis 21-3 in first round

  • First game: Beat Harker Heights 45-27 on September 25

Usually we would be concerned about a slew of changes at the skill positions, but Smithson Valley is always pumping out talent in that area (especially at quarterback). With some veteran leadership in the trenches, you have to think Smithson Valley will remain a stingy opponent for teams in the district. Just a reminder, because the Rangers have not been as dominant as of late, the program is still 192-36 since 1997.

South San Antonio Bobcats

  • Head coach: Phil Barron in his first year at the helm at South San

  • Last year's record: 4-6

  • First game: @ Laredo United South, October 2

Oh boy. You have to feel for South San after the UIL realignment this offseason. All the respect for head coach Ron Kretz and company, but no one willingly wants to be put in this district. The Bobcats will have to play some kids both ways and that’s a tall order against the caliber of teams they will be facing.

RELATED: Phil Barron leaving Burbank to take 'dream job' as football coach at alma mater South San

Steele Knights

  • Head coach: David Saenz, 25-12 in three seasons

  • Last year's record: 8-3

  • Playoff results: Lost 30-7 in bidistrict game to eventual champion Austin Westlake

  • First game: @ Reagan, October 3

Steele is still trying to get back to its perennial powerhouse ways. The Knights lose All-American Jaylon Jones to Texas A&M and wide receiver Daniel Jackson to Iowa State, but the team returns Arkansas State commit and quarterback Wyatt Begeal to lead an inexperienced group. It feels like Begeal has been the starter at Steele for a decade, but this is indeed his last ride. Watch out for running back Jaydon Bailey. He is just a sophomore and saw varsity experience as a freshman. The Knights return six starters on defense.

Wagner Thunderbirds

  • Head coach: Charles Bruce, 39-41 in seven seasons

  • Last year's record: 13-2

  • Playoff results: Lost to Alvin Shadow Creek 45-21 in semifinal

  • First game: Laredo Alexander, October 8

Just like South San, an unfortunate realignment change for Wagner who made back-to-back trips to the state semifinal in the 5A ranks.They are now back with the 6A boys meaning they will not blow out every single opponent during the regular season (something they seemingly did for the past two seasons). It looks like Butler will return to Wagner after getting denied his transfer to Judson. With him and junior quarterback Isaiah Williams playing in that impressive flexbone offense, they should put up a bundle of points.

PREDICTION

  1. Judson

  2. Clemens

  3. Steele

  4. Smithson Valley

  5. Wagner

  6. New Braunfels

  7. East Central

  8. South San Antonio

6A Players to Watch (No particular order)

  • Donovan Dreighton (Safety, Brennan)

  • Wyatt Begeal (QB, Steele)

  • Jalen Rainey (Safety, Brandeis)

  • Pryce Yates (DE, Reagan)

  • Stayton Ankrom (WR, Reagan)

  • Carson Green (RB, Reagan)

  • De'Anthony Lewis (RB, Judson)

  • Kamron Scott (OL, Judson)

  • Robert Rigsby (OL, Judson)

  • Kannon Willliams (QB, Harlan)

  • Max DiDomenico (QB, Clemens)

  • L.J. Butler (RB, Wagner)

  • Ty Reasoner (QB, Johnson)

  • John Locke (WR, O'Connor)

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