Top Teams in Division II
The season is drawing closer, so I decided it was time to dust off the sixshooter. As always, these are my opinions.
1. Strawn Greyhounds
The Greyhounds lost a load of talented players to graduation, but that doesn’t mean they’re done. They still have several battle tested young men who are ready to prove themselves. They also have some other attributes of a number one team- tradition, program, and top-notch coaching. I will keep the back-to-back defending champions at number one until they give me a reason to move them down the list.
2. Jayton Jaybirds
Last season didn’t start well for Jayton, but they obviously learned from their mistakes. They turned things around and made it to the semi-finals.
The Jaybirds return the majority of their starters so I expect them to have a better start this year. They will face some tough tests along the way, but I expect to see them at AT&T Stadium in December.
3. Richland Springs Coyotes
The Coyotes made it to the quarter-finals last season, and they are loaded once again. This team will be hungry for a ninth championship win. Tradition, talent, and the return of a proven coaching staff will make them contenders. They won’t have an easy playoff run, but a trip to the big dance is possible.
4. Oakwood Panthers
Coach Tritz summed it up well when I asked about Oakwood’s returning starters and their expectations for the upcoming season. ” We only return three starters from last season, but they are talented, dependable on-field leaders. (Davis, Sargent, and Edgemon) Our expectations are to return to the semi-finals and give ourselves a chance at winning a State Championship. We know it won’t be easy, we’ll have to face quality teams, but I have faith in my boys.”
There’s really not much I can add to that.
5. Grandfalls-Royalty Cowboys
The Cowboys finished 10-3 last season, losing to Jayton in the quarter-finals. They return a host of good players who will remember that heartbreaking loss. They have the potential to get some upset victories this season, and a rematch against Jayton is possible.
6. Motley County Matadors
Any discussion about perennial powerhouses has to include the Matadors. 2006 was the last time they weren’t in the playoffs. Coach Bigham led his team to the quarter-finals last season, but lost to state runner-up Follett.
Coach Bigham’s take on the upcoming season- “Expectations are high as usual here at Motley County!! We will be young another year but we will have the kids playing hard for their school!”
I don’t see anyone stopping this team before the semi-finals.
7. Blackwell Hornets
In 2018 I predicted that Blackwell would face Strawn for the Division II title, but Jayton took them out in the second round. The Hornets will still be a very good team, but they won’t have an easy time in the playoffs.
8. Calvert Trojans
The Trojans always seem to be loaded with talent, but lack the fundamentals to win the tough playoff games. Coach Ashley has been trying to change that, and if he can Calvert will likely start working their way up in the rankings.
9. Blanket Tigers
Blanket was reasonably strong last season, but a key player was recovering from an injury. This year, everyone looks to be healthy. It’s hard to predict how far they will go without seeing how they do with all starters playing, but I’m expecting a top ten performance.
10. Groom Tigers
Groom should take the district title this year, which will give them a much better road in the playoffs. This could easily be a quarter-final team, but they’ll need to play mistake free to go farther than that.
Top Teams in Division II