Being selected as the preseason favorite by the Southwest Junior College Football Conference coaches has not necessarily been a comfortable position for league teams the last few years.
The last four years of favorites have found themselves anywhere but the top of the league standings by the end of the year.
Navarro hopes to change that trend in 2013 after being tabbed as co-favorite with Kilgore at Thursday’s SWJCFC Media Day at the Garden Valley Golf Club.
If the annual preseason poll of coaches is any indication, the 2013 Southwest Junior College Football Conference season should be a wide open affair.
Five different teams received first place votes, headed by Kilgore and Navarro with two top picks apiece by league coaches. Kilgore and Navarro played in the first round of the SWJCFC playoffs last season.
Kilgore and Navarro both received 51 points, barely edging third place Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (50) and Tyler (47). Navarro, the 2012 SWJCFC champion after defeating NEO in Miami, Okla., in the conference championship game and later winning the Heart of Texas Bowl, also earned one second-place vote, one for third and two for fourth. Kilgore had three third-place votes and a fourth-place vote in addition to its pair of first-place nods by coaches.
Trinity Valley is fifth in the coaches poll, followed by Blinn and Cisco.
“Offensively, we’ve got two guys battling for quarterback and five running backs that we feel really good about,” said Navarro coach Bryan Mayper to the assembled media. “The key when (former coach) Nick (Bobeck) was here was they had a good group of running backs they could keep fresh all the time and keep the offense effective. We’ve got a chance to have the same thing this year.
“Defensively, you’re going to see a four-, five- or three-person front. You name it and you are going to see it from (first-year defensive coordinator Scott Joseph).”
Navarro has a solid mixture of veteran defensive linemen and transfers. Mayper is also counting on Corsicana High School product Dominic Kelley, a reserve linebacker last year who excelled in the spring.
“He’s been doing really, really well for us and is going to be a key to our defense along with several of the other sophomores,” Mayper said.
Mayper was 11-2 in his first year at the helm of the Bulldogs. He’ll welcome his second year of charges on Aug. 10. First practice is Aug. 11.
Navarro Softball: Bulldogs get ranked, split with Paris
Minutes after Navarro split a doubleheader with Paris on Wednesday, Navarro softball Coach Jessica Karenke was told her Bulldogs had just been nationally ranked and are now No. 16 in the NJCAA national softball poll.
She had no idea.
And she didn't care.
Karenke is worried about what happens on the diamond, and she had some concerns after Navarro made four errors in the second game that opened the door for Paris to pull off a 7-2 win after the Bulldogs and Ciara Luna controlled the first game with a 4-1 win.
GC: Mildred's O'Sullivan and Bland chosen to play in FCA All-Star games
Mildred’s Devin O’Sullivan and Callie Bland have been selected to play in the FCA’s All-Star games on June 1.
CHS Baseball: Lindale haunts Tigers again with critical 4-0 win
Lindale has been poison to Corsicana all year.
The Eagles won a bizarre game in Lindale to keep the Tigers out of the football playoffs and ruined the boys basketball season with two gut-wrenching wins in the final week of the season.
They did it again Tuesday, beating the Tigers 4-0 at Price Field to take over second place in the District 16-4A race.
Lindale (6-2) had one big inning to hand Corsicana (5-3) its second loss in a row.
GC Volleyball: Kerens' Kelly signs with Paris Junior College
She prayed about it. She lost sleep about it. And she prayed about it some more.
That's just a glimpse of what Marqueshia Kelly went through before deciding to turn down a half dozen basketball scholarships and accept a scholarship to play volleyball at Paris Junior College.
The journey might have been a little sleepless, but in the end it wasn't that tough for Kelly, who is a multi-sport star at Kerens.
“I followed my heart,'' she said on Tuesday just moments after signing a letter-of-intent to play volleyball at Paris in front of family, coaches and friends.
CHS Tennis: Tigers play well in powerhouse region
Corsicana's tennis team finished its season with a strong showing in the Class 4A Regional Tournament at UT-Arlington before falling to some powerhouse players from Dallas.
GC Baseball/Softball: Roundup -- Blooming Grove edges Mildred 1-0 (Adds Dawson-Hubbard baseball)
Blooming Grove kept its baseball playoff hopes alive, winning a pitcher’s duel, 1-0, in Mildred Tuesday night. Dalton Blake struck out 11 and scattered five hits in a well-pitched game that took an hour and a half to complete.
Navarro Softball: Bulldogs sweep Bossier on Sophomore Day
From a one-sided laugher to a hold-your-breath finish, Navarro’s softball team celebrated Sophomore Day on Saturday in front of its largest crowd of the season.
The Bulldogs ripped Bossier 14-1 in a five-inning romp and then had to fight for their lives in the second game, finally winning 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh with a squeeze bunt that brought home Caitlin Moerbe, who ended the day with a dust-filled slide at the plate.
GC Softball: Hubbard, Curtis shut out Axtell 3-0
For Hubbard’s Olivia Curtis the magic number was 15 -- as in 15 wins and 15 strikeouts.
But don’t stop counting now. There’s plenty left for Curtis and her Hubbard teammates who have made the most of their stretch run in the district race, and capped off a huge week with a 3-0 win over Axtell on Friday.
GC Baseball/Softball: Roundup -- Kerens' Anderson pitches perfect game (ADDS Dawson baseball)
Brett Anderson threw a five-inning perfect game Friday at home to lead Kerens over Neches 11-0 in a key district game that leaves the Bobcats in first place with a two-game lead.
CHS Baseball: Tigers lose to Nacogdoches 4-1
In a battle for first place in the District16-4A race, Nacogdoches and pitcher Brigham Hill stopped Corsicana’s Tigers 4-1 Friday to take over the lead in the district with a 6-1 record. The Tigers are now 5-2 and face Lindale, which is also 5-2, at Price Field on Tuesday night to try to gain ground in a tough district race.
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- Navarro Softball: Bulldogs get ranked, split with Paris