CLIFTON, Texas — Expectations at Clifton High School have never been higher entering football season.

The Cubs, led by sixth-year head coach Chuck Caniford, are ranked fourth in 3A Div. II by Dave Campbell's Texas Football after finishing 2018 in the second round, going 11-1.

Clifton was picked to win District 8-3A Div. II, ahead of Rogers, Lexington, Hamilton and Florence. 

This is after last year's overtime loss to Holliday marked Clifton's fifth consecutive second-round exit.

"They understand how close we've gotten the last couple years to getting passed that second round," Caniford said. "They're pretty motivated to break that cycle the past couple years. They've worked really hard the last couple years and had a really good summer and we're excited about the opportunity to get out there and see what we can do."

Clifton has a veteran squad in 2019 with 13 seniors and six starters back on offense, including reigning district MVP Riley Perry at RB and QB Mason Brandenberger. 

Five starters return on defense.

The Cubs open 2019 at Valley Mills on Aug. 30.