The Carthage Bulldogs are playing with the big boys — at least as far as the rankings go — and begin the season at No. 5 in the inaugural #BEASTTexas Fabulous 15 poll that was released last Saturday.

Defending Class 6A Divison II state champion Longview was a unanimous choice as the No. 1 ranked Class 6A/5A/4A team.

The poll, selected by media members from across East Texas, also included a 3A/2A/TAPPS listing for the preseason edition and it will be updated each week during the regular season.

The Lobos, who return 28 lettermen and a total of eight starters from a team that ran the table in 2018 (16-0), garnered all 12 first-place votes in the large school poll. Longview will be tested early, facing all three of the teams immediately trailing them in the poll during the regular season.

Those schools — John Tyler, Marshall and Lufkin — are all 5A schools and the Bulldogs at No. 5 are the top-ranked 4A team in the poll.

The Bulldogs return 30 lettermen and 14 starters and are joined by District 10-4A rivals, No. 7 Henderson, No. 10 Van and No. 14 Kilgore. They also play No. 3 Marshall, No. 6 Pleasant Grove, No. 8 Gilmer and will scrimmage No. 15 Pittsburg.

Atlanta, Daingerfield and Malakoff all gathered four first-place votes in the small school poll, with Atlanta leading the pack by a slim three total points (166-163) over Daingerfield. Gladewater, despite not earning a first-place vote, is ranked one spot ahead of Malakoff.

Elysian Fields is No. 10 in the small school poll.

Beckville is not ranked, but two of their district foes are as Tenaha is No. 8 and Garrison is No. 13.

Voting in the preseason poll were Jack Stallard, Hayden Henry and George Whitley of the Longview News-Journal, Phil Hicks and Brandon Ogden of the Tyler Morning Telegraph, J. Scott Russell of the Panola Watchman, Nathan Hague of the Marshall News Messenger, John Krueger of the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel, Josh Havard of the Lufkin Daily News, Mitch Lucas of the Kilgore News Herald, freelance writer Chris Parry and Reagan Roy of CBS 19.

Here is the preseason #BEASTTexas Fabulous 15 Poll that was released on Saturday. The plan is for the poll, which is voted on by East Texas Sportswriters and broadcasters, to run weekly through the regular season:

CLASS 6A/5A/4A

1. Longview (15) 165

2. John Tyler 142

3. Marshall 133

4. Lufkin 126

5. Carthage 112

6. Pleasant Grove 99

7. Henderson 80

8. Gilmer 72

9. Van 57

10. Tyler Lee 53

11. Lindale 39

12. Texas High 35

13. Kilgore 34

14. Whitehouse 29

T15. Pittsburg 27

T15. Paris 27

Others receiving votes: Liberty-Eylau, 17; Pine Tree, 11; Rusk, 11; Nacogdoches, 10; Corsicana, 8; Chapel Hill, 4; Bullard, 4; Center, 3; Athens, 2; Jasper, 2.

CLASS 3A/2A/TAPPS

1. Daingerfield (4) 153

2. Atlanta (3) 151

3. Gladewater 142

4. Malakoff (4) 91

5. Tatum 87

6. Harmony 82

7. Jefferson 75

8. Diboll 68

9. Tenaha 66

10. Troup 56

11. Elysian Fields 54

12. Alto 41

13. Garrison 38

14. San Augustine 35

T15. Carlisle 30

T15. Corrigan-Camden 30

Others receiving votes: Waskom, 28; Mount Vernon, 22; Grapeland, 16; Mineola, 11; Tyler Grace Community, 11; West Rusk, 8; Edgewood, 7; Arp, 5; Bullard Brook Hill, 5; Paul Pewitt, 3; Joaquin, 3; White Oak, 1; Frankston, 1.