Defending Class 6A Divison II state champion Longview was a unanimous choice as the No. 1 ranked Class 6A/5A/4A team in the first #BEASTTexas Fabulous 15 poll released on Saturday.
The poll, selected by media members from across East Texas, also included a 3A/2A/TAPPS listing for the preseason edition and it will be updated each week during the regular season with the next poll released on Sept. 5.
The Lobos, who return 28 lettermen and a total of eight starters from a team that ran the table in 2018 (16-0), garnered all 12 first-place votes in the large school poll. Longview will be tested early, facing all three of the teams immediately trailing them in the poll during the regular season.
Longview will open the season at Lufkin on Aug. 30, host Marshall on Sept. 6 and visit John Tyler on Sept. 12. John Tyler is ranked second, Marshall third and Lufkin fourth in the poll.
Atlanta, Daingerfield and Malakoff all gathered four first-place votes in the small school poll, with Atlanta leading the pack by a slim three total points (166-163) over Daingerfield. Gladewater, despite not earning a first-place vote, is ranked one spot ahead of Malakoff.
Atlanta brings back 24 lettermen and 12 total starters from an 8-6 team. Daingerfield returns 18 lettermen and 12 total starters from a 9-4 team. Gladewater finished 11-2 a year ago and returns 22 lettermen and 11 total starters, and Malakoff has 20 lettermen and 11 total starters back from a team that went 12-3 and lost in the Class 3A Division I state title game.
Voting in the preseason poll were Jack Stallard, Hayden Henry and George Whitley of the Longview News-Journal, Phil Hicks and Brandon Ogden of the Tyler Morning Telegraph, J. Scott Russell of the Panola Watchman, Nathan Hague of the Marshall News Messenger, John Krueger of the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel, Josh Havard of the Lufkin Daily News, Mitch Lucas of the Kilgore News Herald, freelance writer Chris Parry and Reagan Roy of CBS 19.