This is a district that has some excitement around it heading into the 2022 season. Furr boasts a pair of Division I recruits, while North Forest is coming off a district title in 2021 and looks to defend it.
Wheatley and Yates both also made the playoffs a year ago. So, who gets in this year?
PREVIOUS DISTRICT PREVIEWS (2022)
North Forest Bulldogs
Kashmere Fighting Rams
VYPE PRESEASON AWARDS
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Cam’Ron Heard, Furr
OFFENSIVE MVP: Johnny Robinson, Furr
DEFENSIVE MVP: DeAndre Rodgers, Kashmere
BREAKOUT PLAYOER OF THE YEAR: Broderick Brown, Yates
SLEEPER TEAM: Kashmere Rams
Furr has become a playoff staple over the past few seasons. The Brahmans enter this fall on a four-year streak of making the playoffs. Cornell Gray took over this head coaching job in 2003 and the first year went 0-10. But since then, he has built a sustainable winning program making the playoffs seven times in the last 10 seasons. This is his 20th season as head coach and will get win No. 100 of his career this season. This year, the headliners for Furr are Oklahoma State-commit Cam’ron Heard and Rice-commit Chrisopher Clark-Jolivet. On film, Heard is a highlight machine at the quarterback position, while Clark-Jolivet is the stopper on the defensive line. Heard passed for 714 yards and four scores and rushed for another 1,068 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2021. Johnny Robinson will be big at running back as well after rushing for 1,380 yards and 16 scores a year ago. Watch for Christopher Crooks at TE as well. Defensively, Treyveon Harris (S), Kyle Calhoun (MLB) and Cameron Cruzan (LB/C) will be lockdown for the Brahmans. Calhoun will be the leading tackler returning from last year with 53 and four sacks. Clark-Jolivet had five sacks and 43 tackles as well.
NORTH FOREST BULLDOGS
With an undefeated district record last season (7-0), North Forest only lost four games. Three of their losses came during the preseason as the team faced off against Splendora (27-6), Cleveland (35-6), and Westbury (7-0) en route to district play. Once district play came about, the Bulldogs picked up steam and never looked back. Taking down opponent after opponent, the Bulldogs steam-rolled their way into playoffs before being defeated 65-18 by Columbia. Finishing at the top of their district, the Bulldogs will be fully motivated to continue their successful style of play this fall. Impactful returners fans can expect to post a strong season this fall includes running back Keith Willis who led the team in rushing with 1,077 rushing yards for 16 touchdowns. Aside from Willis, wide receiver Joseph Davis and Delwen Russell are set to make an outstanding return for North Forest. Defensively speaking, fans should keep their eyes on Cadarious Houston (CB) and Kobe Wright (DE, OLB). Wright finished last year with five sacks. Also, watch out for Alejandro Morales (OL), Jacob Whitaker (MLB/RB) and Clinton Babineaux III, who is expected to step into the QB1 role. Also, watch out for William Lewis and Paul St. Romain on the offensive line.
In their fourth-straight playoff appearance season, Wheatley finished second in their district with a 6-1 district record- dropping only four games for a 7-4 overall record. After starting the preseason strong with a 8-6 victory over Austin, the Wildcats struggled the rest of preseason play before opening district with a strong, shutout 50-0 victory over Worthing and never looked back. Moving forward the Wildcats defeat the likes of Worthing (50-0), Yates (45-37), Kashmere (32-7), Scarborough (56-0), Furr (37-7) and Washington (40-13). With the team’s six district victories, they were able to finish in the second-place spot - just behind North Forest. Looking to continue their success this fall, Wheatley’s defense can be expected to put up strong battles against their opponents. Look for the offense to come into the fall as poised as ever on the hunt for a district championship. Joseph Andrews Jr. is expected to step in at QB1 for the Wildcats. Also, watch out for Demetrius Evans Jr. (SS/RB), Chetwin Gentry (SS/RB), Chad Burks (DT/OG), Theodis Tibbs (WR/CB) and Malik Edwards (OL/DL).
Rafael Thomas is getting his first shot at leading a football program and it is a historic one – the Yates Lions. Thomas played high school ball at Lufkin, with Dez Bryant, and went on to play at Oklahoma State and finished at Southern Arkansas. Now it is #UsVsUs for the 2022 season as the Lions seek their third-straight playoff appearance. Although the team will have a lot of rebuilding to do on the offensive side of the ball, Lions’ fans can expect quarterback Broderick Brown to fill in for former quarterback star Dominick Martin. Others to watch include Jeromie James Jr., Jaquan Brandon and Marquise Sattiewhite.
KASHMERE FIGHTING RAMS
In their first year under head coach Joshua Harris, Kashmere posted a 4-6 overall record (3-4 in district play). Their four wins of the season came against Wisdom (56-12 in non-district), Washington (28-21 in district), Scarborough (66-2 in district) and Yates (32-26 in district). Last season marked back-to-back years that the Fighting Rams did not make a playoff appearance after losing in the first round against Giddings (50-0) during the 2019 season. With many of their top performers graduating, Kashmere is going to have to make big adjustments this season. Watch out for Jibril Rose at RB/LB (12 sacks), Benjamin Carr on the offensive and defensive lines, Robert Nash back at safety and DeAndra Rodgers (82 tackles) at LB and RB. They will have to come up big to get the Rams back into the playoff picture.
Washington is entering their second season under head coach Kelvin Chatham after a seventh-place finish in their district last year. The Eagles finished 3-7 overall with a 1-6 district record. Their only three wins came against KIPP Northeast (42-12), Northbrook (42-41) and Scarborough (54- 0). The team is looking to use their summer workout sessions to sharpen their talents on the field before their first game of the season. Watch for Daelin Randle, Daveon Houston and Tyrik Murray to anchor the defense. Chipper Hogue and Nicolaus Chenever will be the push up front on the O-Line.
Under the guidance of Brandon Ellis, the Worthing Colts are doing everything that they can to rebuild into the team that fans know they can be. Last season was one of the best seasons that the Colts have posted in the last three years - going 4-5 overall (3-4 in district play) and finishing in the sixth-place spot in their district. Despite opening strong with a 61-0 shutout victory over Northside to start preseason, Worthing had to fight into district play with their only victories coming against Scarborough (61-0), Washington (12-6) and Kashmere (20-14). Although the team has struggled in attempting to make a playoff appearance, their willingness to continue to compete through adversity has shown a lot of character development in the young athletes. Names to remember include Kenneth Jones (QB), Davion Edwards (ATH), Robert Brown (DB) and Vashawn Smith (ATH).
The Scarborough Spartans have not won a game since the 2019-20 season where they won two games- one against KIPP Generations Collegiate (33- 20) and one against KIPP Northeast (7-0). Going 0-10 last season (0-7 in district play), Scarborough allowed 505 points while putting up only 27 of their own — posting five scoreless games. The Spartans graduated a large class last season, so fans can expect to see a lot of rebuilding into the fall. Athletes to take note of include Isaias Jimenez (RB/LB), Tomas Almazo (DE) and Jammarius Caston (WR/CB).