Belton picked to make playoffs
Sunday, 08 July 2012 by David Tuma
Belton is picked to qualify for the playoffs for the fourth straight season by Dave Campbell's Texas Football. The Tigers are picked third behind Hewitt Midway and Copperas Cove. Temple with 13 returning starters in district 8-5A is picked fourth.
Belton returns 23 lettermen and five starters on offense and six on defense in 2012. The defense will be led by Ryan Stinson 117 tackles with 15 tackles for a loss and Joe Guthrie 92 tackles and 26 tackles for a loss. All six starters on defense were all-district players in 2011. Linebacker Tyler Santellana, cornerback Kyle Battle, safety Garrett Curry and defensive lineman James Murphy return along with Rayshun Jones who will play both offense and defense.
The offense is led by wide receiver Derrick Bates 782 yards and 6 touchdowns, tight end Durham Smythe and quarterback Peter Shelburne 2,476 yards and 16 touchdowns. Returning starting tackle Austin Farr is the lone returning starter on the offensive line.
Defensive linemen Brandon Sullivan 6-3, 242 and nose guard Rodarius Burks 6-0, 250 saw extensive action last year and should be a force in the middle of the Tigers defense.
This year's district includes all the Killeen schools and both Killeen High and Harker Heights figure into the playoff mix in a district loaded with talent. Harker Heights features a team loaded with returning starters with six on offense and eight on defense. They feature one of the best offensive linemen in the nation in Darius James who will block for district newcomer of the year running back Marcus Anderson 6-0, 190, 4.5. Linebacker Naashon Hughes has also verbally committed to Texas.
Cove will once again field a team loaded with speed. Wide receiver Rashaun Gibson 6-0, 185, 4.5; running back Chans Colbert 5-9, 175, 4.6 and a host of other talented players. They return two big offensive linemen that started in 2011.
Temple's backfield is simply loaded with quarterback Zack Allen returning 6-3, 188, 4.5; Keith Burhl 5-8, 170, 4.4 and running back Gaylon Sanders 5-9, 185, 4.4. Allen throw for over 1,700 yards connecting for 16 touchdown passes. Sanders rushed for 1,500 yards and 21 touchdowns. Buhl caught passes for 766 yards. Their offensive line will be led by Darius Joiner 6-5, 285.
Midway a traditional rival of Belton years back is simply a different program. The Tigers played them the past two seasons and know what is coming in terms of physical talent.
The past two seasons Midway was the best if not the best team the Tigers faced. They return 36 lettermen, the most by a long shot in district 8-5A. Heading into last season they returned only two starters on offense and four on defense and lost in the 4A state championship game.
This season they return five on offense and three on defense. Returning starting running back B.J. Kelly 5-8, 180, 4.6 rushed for 1,670 yards and scored 22 touchdowns. Wide receiver Hunter Jarmon 6-0, 180, 4.6 caught 72 passes for 1,220 yards. They have speed and size on both sides of the ball and two of the better linebackers in district.
They are ranked 13th in 5A by Texas Football and were voted 9th by the coaches. Belton's region is tough as it gets with Desoto, Euless Trinity, Southlake Carroll, Arlington Martin, Midway and Abilene all ranked in the top 15. Four of the top ten teams in Texas are in Belton's region.
For the season Belton's defense could be very, very special in 2012.