Associated Press Writer
DALLAS (AP) — Katy High School’s two championships are apparently worth a point more than Allen’s two quarterbacks.
The two-time defending Class 5A Division II champion Tigers were voted No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason high school football poll released Thursday.
At 230 points, Katy was one point better than No. 2 Allen, which returns starting quarterback Matt Brown and Tucker Carter, the backup who finished the run to the last year’s Division II crown after Brown injured a shoulder.
Katy, which is trying for a fifth state title this decade, picked up 14 first-place votes to eight for Allen from the panel of 25 media members who cover Texas high school football.
“I hope it’s not the kiss of death,” Katy coach Gary Joseph said. “I hate that for you because I hate to make you all look that bad early on.”
Joseph’s team opens with the same two opponents that beat Katy to start last season. The Tigers bounced back from that 0-2 hole and a loss in the regular-season finale to win six playoff games by an average of 31 points.
The first foe is Galena Park North Shore, the preseason No. 4 team, followed by The Woodlands, which beat Katy 47-0 a year ago. The third game figures to be tough as well — Bellevue, one of the best teams in Washington state.
“By the time we come out of that, we could be pretty decent,” Joseph said.
Katy running back William Jeffery, the offensive MVP in last year’s title game, returns after rushing for 1,483 yards and 17 touchdowns. Defensive back Sam Holl, who was orally committed to Baylor, had 178 tackles while defensive end Nick Narcisse and linebacker Grant Clifton were standout sophomores a year ago.
Allen coach Tom Westerberg said Brown was still the starter despite Carter’s impressive playoff show. Brown had 1,966 yards passing with 29 touchdowns and rushed for 1,134 yards and 14 more scores before injuring his shoulder in the second round of the playoffs. He has committed to Arizona.
Westerberg said Carter will see his share of playing time.
“We have two great kids back there,” Westerberg said. “They’re best friends and run around together.”
Longview was the top pick in Class 4A by a comfortable margin over Lake Travis and Denton Guyer. Lake Travis beat Longview in last year’s 4A Division I title game.
Gilmer edged Carthage for No. 1 in Class 3A. Carthage beat Gilmer in the 3A Division II quarterfinals last year.
Daingerfield, the defending 2A Division II champ, was the clearest No. 1 pick with 24 first-place votes.
Cayuga, led by star running back Traylon Shead, took the top spot in Class 1A.