Mascot: Lobos

Coach: Don Newton

District: 15-5A (Pine Tree, Hallsville, Marshall, Mount Pleasant, Sulphur Springs, Texas High)

2019-20 record: 24-10

Top returning players: Jalen Hale (8.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.9 steals) … DeMarcus Washington

Newcomers to watch: Caed Liebengood

You can count on: “The kids will compete and play hard.” - Newton

Needs work: “All new faces. Need to continue to mesh together.” - Newton

Did you know: Newton has a career coaching record of 397-235 … Hale started every game for the Lobos last season as a freshman, earning district Newcomer of the Year honors … Liebengood helped lead Trinity School of Texas to a TAPPS state championship last season, averaging 25.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 3.2 steals per game. He scored in double figures against every public school team the Titans played, including 34 against Mineola, 28 against New Diana, 40 against DeKalb and 21 against Harmony


Mascot: Pirates

Coach: Brandon Shaver

District: 15-5A (Longview, Mount Pleasant, Sulphur Springs, Hallsville, Marshall, Texas High)

2019-20 record: 15-19

Top returning players: Daryus Gray (9.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.8 steals) … Torrel Collins

Newcomers to watch: D.J. Rockwell … Nate Adkins … Daelyn Evans … Jeremiah Blinks … Jonathan Fuller

You can count on: “We are going to play the full 32 minutes. We play hard and will get after you.” - Shaver

Needs work: “Experience for the players coming up from JV last year. We had a great JV team, but now we will need to contribute on the varsity team.” - Shaver


Mascot: Bobcats

Coach: Rusty Walker

District: 15-5A (Pine Tree, Longview, Marshall, Mount Pleasant, Sulphur Springs, Texas High)

2019-20 record: 16-19

Top returning players: Benjamin Samples (18 points, 1,8 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 1 steal) … Jai Locario (7.5 points, 4.2 assists, 1.2 steals) … David Ruff (2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1 block) … Tanner Benson (5.8 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.1 steal) … Taylor Sheffield

Newcomers to watch: Anthon McDermott … Jackson Maples … Kameron Gaut … Austin Almond … Simon Griffith

You can count on: “The Bobcats hope to use strong depth and leadership as a catalyst for an exciting 2020-21 campaign. Samples and Locario provide experience as fourth-year varsity players, and Benson, Ruff, Sheffield, Trenton Smith and Zachar Florence also have a year of varsity experience. Luke Cheatham, Jake Hall and Conner Smith also saw limited varsity action last season and look ready to be solid contributors.” - Walker

Needs work: “We must rebound well as a team.” - Walker


Mascot: Mavericks

Coach: Bobby Carson

District: 15-5A (Longview, Pine Tree, Hallsville, Mount Pleasant, Sulphur Springs, Texas High)

2019-20 record: 28-9

Top returning players: James Thomas … Jayson Tuck … Lyrik Rawls … Jack Mottershaw

Newcomers to watch: Domar Roberson … Carlos Hill … Kenneth Calloway … GiKovian McCoy

You can count on: “We have depth and will play hard.” - Carson

Needs work: “Players stepping up to replace the scoring output of last year’s seniors.” - Carson

Did you know: Carson has 776 career coaching wins … The Mavericks shared the district championship last season


Mascot: Tigers

Coach: Jacob Skinner

District: 15-5A (Longview, Pine Tree, Marshall, Hallsville, Sulphur Springs, Mount Pleasant)

2019-20 record: 16-16

Top returning players: Ben DePriest ... Zane Dodson ... Caleb Arnold ... Gavon Smith ... Michael Thomas ... Braylon Stewart

Newcomers to watch: Jayden Godwin ... Jakholbe Johnson ... Damon Augustus

Did you know: The Tigers will have no returning seniors or starters from last year's varsity squad until the end of football season ... Texas High defeated current district member Marshall in bi-district play last season, and then lost to Lancaster in the area playoffs


Mascot: Panthers

Coach: Dee Lewis

District: 16-4A (Kilgore, Henderson, Lindale, Chapel Hill, Bullard, Cumberland Academy)

Top returning players: Tyrese Jones … Curtis Crowe … Luke Hurst … Aaron Collier … Jax Stovall

Newcomers to watch: Kayden Miller … Taylor Riehemann … Marshall Lipsey … Easton Ballard

You can count on: “We will play hard, smart defense and should be able to shoot the ball from outside pretty well.” - Lewis

Needs work: “Limiting turnovers vs. pressure.” - Lewis

Did you know: Spring Hill will visit Gladewater on Nov. 30. Gladewater coach Curtis Armstrong coached Lewis and Spring Hill 9th grade coach Keith Johnson … Lewis, who has a 158-102 coaching record, will also coach the Spring Hill girls this season


Mascot: Bulldogs

Coach: Jeff Coleman

District: 16-4A (Spring Hill, Henderson, Lindale, Chapel Hill, Bullard, Cumberland Academy)

2019-20 record: 16-16

Top returning players: Jake Thompson … Thomas Hattaway … C.J. Ingram

Newcomers to watch: Bryson Parker … Isaac Hoberecht … Brian Brown

You can count on: “We have three returning starters, and should be a little more deep coming off the bench.” - Coleman

Needs work: “We need to become a better defensive team if we are to become a better team overall.” - Coleman

Did you know: Coleman has a 108-71 record at Kilgore


Mascot: Lions

Coach: Josh Francis

District: 16-4A (Spring Hill, Lindale, Chapel Hill, Kilgore, Bullard, Cumberland Academy)

2019-20 record: 18-12

Top returning players: Bryson Collins … Devin Phillips … Tobaius Jackson

Newcomers to watch: Lee James

You can count on: “Our guys will play hard and play fast.” - Francis

Needs work: “Taking charges and shooting free throws.” - Francis

Did you know: Henderson went 11-1 in district play last season and won its first outright district title in more than 30 years


Mascot: Eagles

Coach: Chris Grotemat

District: 16-4A (Henderson, Spring Hill, Chapel Hill, Kilgore, Bullard, Cumberland Academy)

2019-20 record: 17-16

Top returning players: Colton Taylor (13 points, 4 assists) … Jaymond Jackson (8.2 points, 8.5 rebounds)

Newcomers to watch: Walter Smith … Colby Wood

You can count on: “Young team with strong offensive fundamentals and perimeter shooting.” - Grotemat

Needs work: “Young team must learn to defend at a high level. Preseason injuries are also a concern.” - Grotemat

Did you know: Grotemat is 221-164 as a head coach, including a 53-44 mark at Lindale … Assistant coach Spencer Terry was named the TABC Assistant Coach of the Year last season


Mascot: Bulldogs

Coach: Charlie Tucker

District: 17-4A (Center, Hudson, Jasper, Palestine, Rusk)

2019-20 record: 12-4

Top returning players: Montrel Hatten … Nate Marry … Nick Stewart … Kai Horton … Montrell Smith

Newcomers to watch: Camden Foster … Zay Woods … Freddy Lynch … Anthony Riggans

You can count on: “We have a lot of experience coming back from back-to-back district championship teams.” - Tucker

Needs work: “Due to our always-late start because of our late runs in football, we have a short time to develop team chemistry. From a coaching standpoint, we have a very short time to figure out what rotations work the best. That is always the most challenging part.” - Tucker

Did you know: Every player on the Bulldog rosters also plays football


Mascot: Eagles

Coach: Jayme Bradley

District: 17-4A (Carthage, Center, Hudson, Jasper, Palestine)

Top returning players: Elijah Ward … Oliver Sturns … Trevion Attaway … Marco Torres … Terrick Foreman

Newcomers to watch: Chris McDuff … Owen McCown … Aiden McCown

You can count on: “My team will play extremely hard and with a lot of senior leadership that will be needed throughout the season.” - Bradley

Needs work: “We need to focus on us and to have each other’s backs no matter what.” - Bradley

Did you know: Owen McCown and Aiden McCown are the sons of former NFL quarterback Josh McCown


Mascot: Roughriders

Coach: Hiram Harrison

District: 17-4A (Carthage, Hudson, Jasper, Palestine, Rusk)

2019-20 record: 17-13

Top returning players: Mar Mar Evans (11.3 points, 2.3 assists) … Makel Johnson (10.3 points, 4.3 rebounds) … J.J. McCollister (9.5 points, 6.3 rebounds)

Players to watch: Jermaine Preston … Jake Liker … Marques Hall … Kayshaun Hoyt

You can count on: “The Riders will hang their hat on tough, solid team defense.” - Harrison

Needs work: “Although we will have several seniors, we will need to establish team unity.” - Harrison

Did you know: Harrison has a career coaching record of 493-255, including a 218-160 mark at Center


Mascot: Wildcats

Coach: J.J. Johnson

District: 17-4A (Carthage, Jasper, Hudson, Center, Rusk)

2019-20 record: 24-13

Top returning players: Dreyon Barrett (17 points, 11 rebounds) … TaShun Wilson (4 points, 3.2 assists) … Elvin Calhoun (8 points, 5 rebounds) … D’Mauris Sessions … Ben Wages

Newcomers to watch: Carlton Wiggins … Kendrick Barrett … Dmyzjean Martin … Jerrod Walker

You can count on: “We will play hard and defend.” - Johnson

Needs work: “Shooting, because many play football and will take some time to get going. But we will be pretty good this year.” - Johnson


Mascot: Pirates

Coach: Jordan Bedford

District: 15-4A (Paris, Liberty-Eylau, Pleasant Grove, Gilmer, North Lamar)

2019-20 record: 5-22

Top returning players: Rickey Duffey

Newcomers to watch: Kemarian McCain … Dakevian Burns … Jacob Graham … Brayden Bolton … Dalton Field … Jaugar Farmer … Trazavian Carlock

You can count on: “We will play hard and grow on both ends of the floor as the season progresses.” - Bedford

Needs work: “Consistency on the defensive end. A lot of times, with a younger team, ther are little mistakes that are made on the defensive end that are capitalized on by the opponent at the varsity level. We will need to lock in on limiting those mistakes and being sound across the board.” - Bedford

Did you know: The Pirates lost to North Lamar in a tiebreaker for the fourth playoff spot in the district last season


Mascot: Leopards

Coach: Earnest Girley

District: 15-4A (Gilmer, Pittsburg, North Lamar, Paris, Pleasant Grove)

2019-20 record: 20-12

Top returning players: Takalyn Hampton ... Damien Henderson ... Chris Lewis ... Jaydin Hampton

Newcomers to watch: Jaquan Roberts

You can count on: "Our team will hang their hats on being very active and aggressive on defense as well as getting good shots and being efficient on offense." Girley

Did you know: Liberty-Eylau's gymnasium is called the Radar Dome after former superintendent Don Radar


Mascot: Cardinals

Coach: Colby Carr

District: 15-3A (White Oak, Daingerfield, Ore City, Gladewater, New Diana, Hughes Springs)

2019-20 record: 17-14

Top returning players: David Robinson (7.8 points, 4.5 assists, 1.6 steals) … Breydan Pobuda (7.1 points, 5.2 rebounds)

You can count on: “Solid defense, great effort, unselfish play.” - Carr

Needs work: “Scoring the ball, mastering the details and communication.” - Carr

Did you know: Pobuda was averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds per game before suffering an ankle injury in the third district game and missing the next nine games … The Cardinals were 9-5 in district play last season


Mascot: Roughnecks

Coach: Brett Cloud

District: 15-3A (Sabine, Daingerfield, Ore City, Gladewater, New Diana, Hughes Springs)

2019-20 record: 13-17

Top returning players: Carson Bower (10 points) … Brian Williams (12 points) … Gunner Solis (10 points) … Adrian Mumphrey (6 points) … Landon Anderson (6.1 points)

Newcomers to watch: Ben Jacyno

You can count on: “We have an experienced varsity team with eight players who logged varsity minutes last year, and four returning starters. We have solid inside and outside scoring ability. My guys will play fundamental basketball.” - Cloud

Needs work: “We must fully commit to playing a tougher brand of basketball on both ends of the court.” - Cloud

Did you know: Cloud, starting his fifth year at White Oak, has a career coaching record of 96-88


Mascot: Eagles

Coach: Ryan Herring

District: 15-3A (White Oak, Sabine, Gladewater, Ore City, Hughes Springs, Daingerfield)

2019-20 record: 8-28

Top returning players: Colton Hightower (10.9 points, 5.7 rebounds) … Peyton Brewer (4.1 points, 4.3 rebounds)

Newcomers to watch: Austin Kerns … Chase Woodrum … Cohle Sherman … Kaid Brack … Cagan Abbas … Matthew Smith … Sam Qualls … Mason Mallon

You can count on: “I think our execution on offense and defense will be at a very high level since these guys are getting into year two of having the same system.” - Herring

Needs work: “We have a lot of young guys playing key roles on varsity, so it will take time for them to adjust from middle school basksetball.” - Herring

Did you know: Herring is also the girl’s varsity basketball coach at New Diana


Mascot: Rebels

Coach: Raymond Lopez

District:15-3A (Daingerfield, Hughes Springs, Gladewater, New Diana, White Oak, Sabine)

2019-20 record: 18-15

Top returning players: Ryan Shastid (19.8 points, 8.7 rebonds) … Jeremy Kyle (8.8 points, 5.5 rebounds)

Newcomers to watch: Luis Lara … Donovyn Black

You can count on: “Defense will keep us in games.” - Lopez

Needs work: “Team chemistry and youth.” - Lopez

Did you know: Lopez has a 318-162 career coaching record and a 34-30 record at Ore City


Mascot: Raiders

Coach: Chad Hlavaty

District: 16-3A (Arp, Troup, Jefferson, Tatum, Elysian Fields, Harleton, Waskom)

2019-20 record: 19-13

Top returning players: Jimmie Harper (5 points, 6 rebounds) … Jaxon Farqhuar (5 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block) … Jamal Ford (2 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds)

Newcomers to watch: Andon Mata … Carson Martin

You can count on: “We will be athletic and play hard. We will also be in the second year of the system, and the kids will be more comfortable.” - Hlavaty

Needs work: “Offense. We are lostover 60% of our points from last season due to graduation. We will be sophomore heavy with those guys expected to contribute even more to the scoring output this season.” Hlavaty

Did you know: West Rusk faced – and defeated – a team from Australia last season


Mascot: Wildcats

Coach: Jon Waldrop

District: 16-3A (Arp, Elysian Fields, Tatum, Jefferson, West Rusk, Harleton, Troup)

2019-20 record: 16-17

Top returning players: Paxton Keeling (13.8 points, 2.4 assists, 1.2 steals) … Zay Thomas (14.1 points, 3.2 assists, 2.8 steals) … D.J. Feaster (7.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.1 steals) … Jayvis Jones (6.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.2 steals) … Carter Watson (8.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.2 blocks)

Newcomers to watch: Layton Luster … Tyler Davis

You can count on: “We will show up every day and work to get better. They will play hard at all times and get after people on defense.” - Waldrop

Needs work: “We must get better on the defensive glass.” - Waldrop

Did you know: Waskom had won nine total games in the three previous seasons before winning 16 times last year … The Wildcats lost to Arp – a district rival this year – in the opening round of last season’s playoffs


Mascot: Eagles

Coach: Brett Carr

District: 16-3A (Waskom, Arp, Elysian Fields, Jefferson, West Rusk, Harleton, Troup)

Top returning players: Decartiyay Allison … Bryan Hawkins … Kendall Williams … Drake Walton … Dalone Fuller … Kendric Malone … Ty Bridges … MarKendrick Beall … Trey Fite … Haden Crowley … Jayden Boyd

You can count on: “I think we will be hungrier this year. Last year we were young and coming off a regional tournament as freshmen. I think the loss to Troup (regional quarterfinals) really hurt. Nothing like pain for motivation.” - Carr

Needs work: “Almost all of our kids are football players, and I believe we will be getting a late start. They are having a good season in football.” - Carr

Did you know: Tatum is the only school in the United States with two players in the NHSF record book top 10 3-point shooters – Jaime Bradley with 171 and Robbie Rockwell with 168


Mascot: Eagles

Coach: Jed Whitaker

District: 13-3A (Mineola, Quitman, Mount Vernon, Winnsboro, Winona, Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill)

2019-20 record:10-20

Top returning players: Logan Baker (12.5 points) … Jax Wilburn (6 points) … Carson Helpenstill … Evan Patterson … Dallin Seahorn

Newcomers to watch: Boston Seahorn … Chris Arrellano … Braxton Baker

You can count on: “Playing hard and hustle.” - Whitaker

Needs work: “We don’t have a lot of size, so rebounding will be the key.” - Whitaker

Did you know: Whitaker was girls coach at Harmony for 13 years. He has also been football coach and athletic director and superintendent at Harmony before retiring and then getting back into coaching for the last five seasons


Mascot: Yellow Jackets

Coach: Ryan Steadman

District: 13-3A (Harmony, Quitman, Mount Vernon, Winnsboro, Winona, Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill)

2019-20 record: 24-7

Top returning players: Jonah Fischer … T.J. Moreland … Dawson Pendergrass

Newcomers to watch: Hunter Vandover … Conner Gipson … Stephen Oqueri

You can count on: “Experience and leadership.” - Steadman

Needs work: “Working on playing together.” - Steadman

Did you know: The team’s assistant coach is 2019 Mineola graduate Jaylon Harper


Mascot: Elks

Coach: Danny Dubois

District: 20-3A (Buffalo, Crockett, Fairfield, Franklin, Groesbeck, Teague, Westwood)

2019-20 record: 19-15

Top returning players: Cale Starr … Josh Davis … R.J. Moore

Newcomers to watch: Wyett Thomas

You can count on: “We will be able to shoot the ball pretty well this year.” - Dubois

Needs work: “We need to find some depth.” - Dubois

Did you know: Dubois is in his first year at Elkhart … The Elks will play six teams ranked in the preseason top 25


Mascot: Wildcats

Coach: Kerry Strong

District: 21-2A (Hawkins, Union Grove, Beckville, Carlisle, Overton)

2019-20 record: 25-7

Top returning players: The Wildcats graduated eight seniors

Newcomers to watch: Sean Gregory

You can count on: “As a young team, I feel very confident we will continue to improve as the season progresses.” - Strong

Needs work: “With all of last year’s varsity players graduating, we will need some younger guys to step up and take a leadership role.” - Strong

Did you know: Strong has a 231-125 overall coaching record, and needs just two wins (198-98) to record his 200th victory at Big Sandy


Mascot: Bearcats

Coach: Tim Ender

District: 21-2A (Big Sandy, Hawkins, Overton, Union Grove, Carlisle)

Players to watch: J’Koby Williams … Elijah Ramsey … Jayden Mojica … Ryan Harris … Matt Barr … Jeremiah Steph

You can count on: “The Bearcats will play tough defense every night.” - Ender

Needs work: “We will need to learn the offensive system fast.” - Ender

Did you know: Ender has a career coaching record of 353-172


Mascot: Lions

Coach: Cody Wilson

District: 21-2A (Big Sandy, Beckville, Hawkins, Overton, Carlisle)

2019-20 record: 24-8

Top returning players: Cooper Vestal … Kole Burns … Matthew Bower

You can count on: “We are senior heavy. We have a few guys that have played varsity basketball since they were freshmen, so the leadership is there and they bring it every day.” - Wilson

Needs work: “We have to have a few guys step up and handle the ball better, and the shot selection needs to be a little better.” - Wilson

Did you know: Coach Wilson played basketball at Martin’s Mill


Mascot: Indians

Coach: Jerod Roland

District: 21-2A (Union Grove, Big Sandy, Beckville, Hawkins, Overton)

2019-20 record: 10-14

Players to watch: Matthew Rigdon (26 ppg. At Richland Springs) … Griffin Rigdon (25.5 ppg at Richland Springs0 … Brett Roland (8 points) … Carlos DeLeon

You can count on: “Most of our success depends on making it through football fully healthy. If we can do that, e will have a really good chance to complete for a playoff spot. With the hiring of coach Rigdon, we have added some desperately needed scoring with his sons, Matthew and Griffin, who were both 1A all-state performers last year. Pairing them with returning starters Brett Roland and Carlos DeLeon makes the Indians primed to make a run at a district title.” - Roland


Mascot: Bulldogs

Coach: Mitchell Bunn

District: 24-A (Avery, Bloomburg, Saltillo, Sulphur Bluff, Yantis, Avinger)

Top returning players: Ryan Brown ... Tre Venters ... Cristian Aguillon

Newcomers to watch: Tevin Bigbee ... Daniel Dunn

You can count on: "An athletic team that brings the intensity." - Bunn

Needs work: "Learning a new system and how they need to play." - Bunn

Did you know: Bunn is a 2014 Beckville High School graduate


Mascot: Titans

Coach: Bo Powers

Top returning players: Marlin Reeves(10.2 points, 9.1 rebounds) … Jy Baxter (10 points, 4.8 assists, 4.1 steals) … Patrick Pither (6.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.9 steals0

You can count on: “Tough defense.” - Powers

Needs work: “3-point shooting.” - Powers

Did you know: The Titans finished with a 20-4 record last season and won the TAPPS Class A state championship


Mascot: Eagles

Coach: Steven Holland

District: TAPPS District 3 (Dallas First Baptist Academy, Garland Christian, Ovilla Christian, Trinity School of Texas)

2019-20 record: 9-15

Top returning players: T.J. Daniels (18 points0

Newcomers to watch: Kollin Robinson … Symry Mitchell

You can count on: “our group will be young, energetic and scrappy.” - Holland

Needs work: “Understanding the total game, fundamentals and adjusting to team roles.” - Holland

Did you know: Dr. Charles Newlin (OB-GYN) holds the school single game scoring record at LCS with 47 points, and former head coach Tommy Ames averaged 34 points per game during his high school playing days


Mascot: Sentinels

Coach: Todd Kaunitz

Top returning players: Will Horn … Trey Stone

Newcomers to watch: Brody Moss … Isaac Adams … Ethan Moczygema

You can count on: “We will play fast-paced basketball and will be strong defensively.” Kaunitz

Needs work: “Our boys are young and are still developing both skills and basketball IQ.” - Kaunitz

Did you know: Kaunitz also coaches the Christian Heritage Classical School girls team


Sports editor

I've covered sports in East Texas since 1987, starting as a 21-year-old sports editor at the Kilgore News Herald before spending seven years at the Lufkin Daily News and the past 23 years at the Longview News-Journal.