The Alice Coyotes could be poised for another deep playoff run this season, according to Class 5A, Div. II regional rankings.

Compiled by TheAthleticDepartment.com and released by the Texas High School Coaches Association, the preseason poll ranks each region by classification. Alice is ranked No. 3 in the 5A, Div. II poll. Perennial football powerhouse Calallen is ranked No. 1 with Kerrville Tivy.

The Coyotes are coming off a stellar season in which the program rebounded from a four-year playoff drought and put together a decent postseason run into December. Alice was 9-4 in 2017.

Calallen was 13-1. The Wildcats’ only loss was to eventual state finalist Austin McCallum in the region finals. Tivy was 10-3 last year. The Antlers were knocked out of the 2017 postseason after a 31-24 loss to Calallen in the third round.

Alice coach Kyle Atwood, in his second season here, is cautiously optimistic. He believes the Coyotes have the potential to be a playoff team this fall, but admits that the preseason ranking is mostly based off of what the team did a year ago.

“When it comes to those sorts of things, sportswriters and different analysts take a look at what you did last year and what you have coming back, and we had a pretty good year last year,” Atwood said. “We graduated heavy, but we feel like our younger kids have a grasp of our philosophy and schemes, and will be able to fill those roles.”

The Alice program graduated a senior class of 32. It was a group which provided leadership and a solid foundation for Atwood in his first season as the head coach in Alice.

“We don’t have the senior numbers that we had a year ago, so we don’t have the depth,” Atwood said. “If we’re able to stay injury-free, we’ll have a chance to be as good a football team as we can be, if not better.”

One advantage that Atwood see this season is the program simply having the same coaching staff as the year before, something that Alice teams haven’t had in some time. Last year’s Alice seniors played three-straight seniors under three different her coaches and coaching staffs.

“This year’s senior class is going to be the first group in a long time here to have the opportunity to play back-to-back seasons under the same coaching staff,” he said. “Last year’s seniors played their entire varsity careers under different coaches.”

Alice had spring football drills in May, so the team’s first practice is Aug. 13, a full week after most other teams. Still, it was a productive spring for the Coyotes, so much so that it’s worth the late start, coaches said.

“The thing about Alice kids is they're tough and they’re always going to outwork everybody else,” Atwood said. “When the lights finally come on, they’re going to be ready to play. With those things, we’ll always have a chance to be successful.”