VYPE 2022 Countdown to Kickoff: District 9-5A-DII Preview
This figures to be one of the tougher districts in the Greater Houston area, headlined by a perennial Regional power in Fort Bend Marshall that has two State Final appearances in the last four seasons.
The Buffs are the class of the district, but Port Neches-Groves and Texas City are not to be taken lightly. Marshall joins a more competitive district where travel will be more demanding and there will be few, if any, cakewalks.
It will be exciting to see the Buffs go up against some fresh faces, and vice versa.
PREVIOUS DISTRICT PREVIEWS (2022)
Fort Bend Marshall Buffs
Port Neches-Groves Indians
Texas City Stingarees
Fort Bend Willowridge Eagles
Galena Park Yellowjackets
Santa Fe Indians
VYPE PRESEASON AWARDS
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Ja’Koby Banks, Marshall
OFFENSIVE MVP:Cole Crippers, Port Neches-Groves
DEFENSIVE MVP:Zachary Chapman,Marshall
BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR:Marxquise Hayes, Willowridge
FORT BEND MARSHALL BUFFALOES
Twelve starters (7 defense) are back for the Buffs, who went 10-1 a year ago and fell in the Bi-District round. The cornerstones are senior 5-foot10, 170-pound QB and Houston-commit Ja’Koby Banks (1,358 yards, 22 TDs passing; 1,093 yards, 19 TDs rushing), senior 6-foot-6, 245-pound DL Trent Thomas (45 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 2 sacks), senior and TCUcommit 6-foot-6, 270-pound DL Zachary Chapman (37 tackles, 2 sacks), senior 6-foot, 180-pound Houston-commit DB Michael Patterson (30 tackles, 3 INTs), senior 6-foot-2, 190-pound LB Jordan Sample and senior 6-foot-3, 213-pound DL Logan Granville. Yes, that defense is LOADED. Offensively, look to junior 5-foot-11, 185-pound RB Jarrod Howard (271 yards, 5 TDs), senior 6-foot, 175-pound RB Jy’Adrian Wortham (469 yards, 8 TDs) and sophomore 6-foot-3, 170-pound WR Ja’Kayden Ferguson to help open things up for Banks. Coach James Williams expects the D-Line to be one of the best they’ve had in his 12 years at Marshall. A concern is there is not as much depth as the Buffs have had in the past.
PORT NECHES-GROVES INDIANS
The Indians return 15 starters (9 offense) from a Regional Semifinalist and are under a new head coach in Jeff Joseph, formerly a Southlake Carroll assistant. Jeff is the son of Katy legendary coach Gary Joseph. The passing game is the cornerstone of the offense, ignited by senior 6-foot-3, 185-pound QB Cole Crippers (3,019 yards, 35 TDs) and a pair of gifted receivers in 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior Chance Prosperie (1,374 yards, 14 TDs) and senior Landon Guarnere (785 yards, 12 TDs). The defense has a pair of anchors in senior 5-foot-11, 150-pound DB Torryan Hinton (7 INTs) and senior LB Nick Gardiner (111 tackles) but otherwise lacks experience.
TEXAS CITY STINGAREES
Texas City had an impressive season in 2021, going 10-2 and finishing in the Area playoffs. The Stingarees return 12 starters (6/6) but will also have a new head coach in Shone Evans, who comes over from La Marque. Texas City has absolute studs on each side of the ball. On offense, it’s junior 5-foot-10, 235-pound RB Caleb Bell (1,123 yards, 19 TDs), a bulldozer of a ballcarrier. On defense, it’s junior 6-foot-2, 205-pound DE Szyron Scott (39 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 12 sacks). Not bad pieces to build around. Keep an eye on junior LB Camryn Greif (59 tackles, 14 tackles for loss) as well. Other names to remember include Roman Vasquez (OLB), Ian Cortez (OL), TJ Garcia (FB), Evan Tullos (DE), Caden Teeples (RG) and Aldrick Stromile (FS). Concerns for the Stingarees are youth on the O-line and depth in the defensive front seven.
FORT BEND WILLOWRIDGE EAGLES
Kendron Penson is in as head coach to take over his alma mater after Ramon Chinyoung left in the spring to take an assistant coaching job with the Denver Broncos. Penson will have a lot to work with. First, nine starters (5 defense) are back from a 4-5 Bi-District finalist. Second, his son, junior dual-threat QB Kendron Penson Jr. (2,111 yards, 20 TDs passing; 5 TDs rushing), is a dynamic talent and helped lead Fort Bend Hightower to the Regional Finals last year. Penson will have a pair of junior electric receivers in Marxquise Hayes (315 yards, 5 TDs) and Travis Willis. The defense is led by the 5-foot-10, 155-pound Hayes, a ballhawk in the secondary; junior 6-foot-1, 245-pound DE Steven Brantley; and sophomore 6-foot, 200-pound DL Royce Wilson. Senior Issac Orellana holds down the offensive front at right tackle. Senior Tulio Nunez is an exceptional leader and led the team in tackles last season. Penson said he likes his receiving corps but has serious concerns about depth. Numbers are low.
The Bulldogs snapped a four-year streak of making the playoffs last season, finishing 6-4 overall but 3-4 in district play. Eleven starters (6 offense) return, led by a pair of dynamic playmaking receivers in junior Reeve Barrow (270 yards, 3 TDs) and senior Noah Kendrick (258 yards, 2 TDs). Barrow’s dad is head coach Monte Barrow and his brother Seth is his position coach. Defensively, Nederland has leaders on each level. Senior 6-foot-3, 230-pound DE Landon Caywood (5 sacks) holds down the front, senior LB Gage Driskell (105 tackles) is a menace in the middle and junior DB Nolan White (4 INTs) is a ballhawk on the perimeter.
GALENA PARK YELLOW JACKETS
Only 10 starters (6 defense) return from an 8-3 Bi-District finalist, so it could be a bit of a rebuilding year in Galena Park. Junior RB Jordan Balderas (541 yards, 5 TDs) and sophomore 6-2, 180-pound QB Daniel Gomez will pace the Jackets’ flexbone offense. Senior 5-foot-11, 163-pound WR Jonathan Renteria (94 yards, TD, 23.4 yards per catch) is a big-play threat. The defense is anchored by senior 6-foot-4, 270-pound DL Timothy Marshall (21 tackles for loss) and junior DB Kennon Thomas (25 tackles, 2 INTs). Also watch out for Diego Quintanilla (DE) and Justin Leal (OL) on the lines.
It has been a rough go for the Broncos of late. They have three wins total over the last four seasons. Two of those wins, however, came last year, so Dayton is hoping incremental progress in 2021 pays off in a big way in 2022. Eleven starters return (7 defense). Dayton is engineered by a trio of two-way talents in sophomore 6-foot, 170-pound WR/DB Ashanti Allen (42 tackles, 2 INTs), senior WR/DB C.J. Hubert (38 tackles, 3 INTs) and senior WR/CB Vernon Harrison (295 yards, 2 TDs receiving; 550 yards, 3 TDs rushing; 52 tackles, INT). Other stalwarts include senior 5-foot-11, 280-pound OL Alex Romero, junior 6-foot, 270-pound DE Eric Rosales, senior outside linebacker Jaxon Day, senior wide receiver Braylen Cook and senior quarterback Carson Horton.
SANTA FE INDIANS
Santa Fe has only made the playoffs once since 2009. It has four wins, total, over the last three seasons. New head coach Blake Ryder, formerly an assistant at Texas City, is hoping to turn things around. Fifteen starters return (eight offense) from a 0-10 team. There is a quintet of two-way talents in senior 6-foot, 180-pound RB/LB Jackson Stroud, a three-year starter who blocked four kicks and had 78 tackles last season; senior WR/DB Kyeler Thompson, who has size and athleticism at 5-foot-11, 165 pounds; senior OL/DL Anthony Arcidiacono, who holds down both lines at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds; and junior RB/LB Bryce Leal, who had 81 tackles last year. Keep an eye on junior OL Holden Weaver, who started every game last year, and sophomore DB Jarrett Pahkala.