Despite the fact that the Alto Yellowjackets are returning just four starters from a year ago, the scribes at Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine, nevertheless, still think pretty highly of the Mean Sting.
Alto is ranked No. 14 in the magazine's Class 2A-I preseason poll.
Texas Football even goes as far as predicting Alto will advance to the Class 2A, Region III finals, where they will face San Augustine's Wolves. The Wolves are coming off of a 13-1 season in 2019 and are ranked No. 5 in the state.
Head coach Ricky Meeks' Mean Sting will be young this year, with just 10 lettermen back from last year's area finalist squad.
Jay Pope will be counted on heavily, both at wide receiver and at the free safety position. Pope led Alto in receiving and in interceptions in 2019.
Defensively, the Jackets will look for linebacker Jackson Howell to set the tone. Howell, a two-way (tight end) starter, is the team's top returning tackler.
Alto will have a brand new backfield, with Will Dixon at quarterback and Isaac Weatherford, Jer'Derious Bolton and Jackson Duplichain expected to see time at fullback and running back.
Linemen to keep an eye on are Landry Smith, Jesus Tellez and Clayton Gresham.
Cody Watson and Issac Carter are penciled in as some of the candidates trying to win a spot at linebacker, while Carter Pursley should see time at strong safety.
Texas Football predicts Alto to win the 11-2A-I title, just ahead of Groveton, Grapeland and Centerville.
Normangee and Jewett Leon round out the forecasted order of finish in the conference.
Alto is scheduled to open the new campaign by playing back-to-back home games in Weeks 1 and 2.
The Mean Sting will host Troup on Aug. 28 before welcoming Timpson to town for homecoming on Sept. 4.
The Yellowjackets will then close out the non-conference portion of their schedule with three-consecutive road games, starting with a Sept. 11 date with former district rival Price-Carlisle.
The following Friday night Alto will be in Winona, before journeying down to San Augustine on Sept. 25.
After an open date on Oct. 2, Alto will open conference play in Centerville on Oct. 9.
On Oct. 16, the Yellowjackets will entertain Jewitt Leon's Cougars, in the first of only two home conference affairs scheduled for this season.
Alto will be on the road on Oct. 23 (at Normangee) and on Oct. 30 (at Groveton), and is slated to conclude the regular season at Cam'Ron Matthews Field on Nov. 6 by engaging the Grapeland Sandies.
All re3gular season games are schedule to get under way at 7:30 p.m.
NOTE: The 61st edition of Texas Football, featuring SMU quarterback Shane Buechele, is on sale at book stores, mass merchandisers and supermarkets throughout the state.