Coaches tend to break up their season into three parts: non-district, district and playoffs.
Obviously, non-district is the least important when it comes to gauging a team’s success. If you go 0-5 in non-district, but then win a district title and a couple playoff games, then it doesn’t matter as much.
Ask Henrietta – the Bearcats went two or three seasons a few years ago losing every non-district matchup.
But non-district has plenty of worth as teams can gain boatloads of confidence with a big victory. Coaches won’t show everything in the playbook, but a team’s identity can be formed those first few weeks.
And if you go 0-5 in non-district and that bad start leads to 0-5 in district, well then that’s not good.
Below, I look at who the toughest opponent is on every area team’s schedule and the 2012 combined win-loss record of non-district foes.
A couple things of note on the W/L records:
* Rider, Graham and Munday had the area’s toughest 2012 non-district schedules. Bowie, City View and Electra had the easiest.
* All the 5-3A teams have close to the same opponent W/L records. There were some teams that overlapped between them, but it’s still a little odd.
Rider: Cooper, Denton Ryan, Amarillo – Not sure which team is the best. All I know is all three are really good and the Raiders should have their hands full with all of them.
WFHS: Granbury – Burkburnett will be better and Bishop Lynch (the only team to beat WFHS in 2012) has a couple top prospects. But Granbury has made the playoffs three straight years and has its QB back.
Burkburnett: Gainesville and Krum. They both were surprises in 2012, combining for a 21-3 record last season. They’re the two favorites in 9-3A, returning more than half their starters.
Graham: Abilene Wylie will be the toughest, but Brownwood and Springtown are scrappy matchups, too. First two teams will be at Newton Field.
Hirschi: This isn’t too tough a six-game schedule. Krum looks by far the best. Not a lot of difference between most of others – Holliday, Decatur, Mineral Wells, Bowie.
Iowa Park: Gainesville, and again it’s not close. Bridgeport and Decatur are traditional toughies, but they probably won’t finish higher than third in 9-3A.
Vernon: The Lions also face Gainesville, which will be Keith Hall’s first trip back to Vernon, a place he won a lot of games at. Vernon beat everyone else pretty good last year except Holliday.
Bowie: It’s got to be Hirschi. The others (Lake Worth, Henrietta, Alvord) went a combined 10-21 last season. The Bearcats will be better, but I think the Huskies are Bowie’s toughest test.
Holliday: Vernon on the road will be a difficult matchup. And Hirschi is tough game, too. Van Alstyne was really bad last year – maybe it’ll be better.
Henrietta: I’d say Bowie and Callisburg, with Quanah right behind them. Callisburg lost a lot of guys off a nine-win team.
Jacksboro: Eastland and then Lindsay – The Tigers’ schedule besides these two (Jim Ned, Olney, Archer City) won a total of two games, but facing the Mavericks and Knights will have Jacksboro ready for district.
Nocona: A rivalry game against Muenster in Week 2. Valley View will provide a good test right before district starts.
City View: Seymour followed by Windthorst. Those were the Mustangs’ only non-district losses last year.
Archer City: Both of the Wildcats’ 2A opponents, City View and Nocona. Electra isn’t easy, either.
Olney: Anson comes in ranked 10th in Class A. And Jacksboro is a strong 2A favorite. Two very tough foes for a team coming off an 0-10 season.
Seymour: Stamford is the toughest of its foes by a good amount. Electra and City View are no gimmies, either.
Quanah: Weillington is highly ranked in Class A (No. 6) and should be the Indians’ hardest test. 2A schools Childress and Henrietta will pose problems as well. Those were Quanah’s three non-district losses.
Windthorst: Holliday and Munday. Throw in City View, too. But I’d think the Eagles are probably the hardest foe.
Petrolia: Windthorst and Collinsville. The Pirates were outscored by those two playoff teams last year, 70-18.
Electra: Definitely Seymour. No one else really scares me on that list.
Munday: Might be easier to figure out who the easiest team is. Stamford is probably the toughest, but Albany, Windthorst, Bronte and Holliday are all difficult. On par with Rider as far as difficulty goes.