VYPE Countdown to Kickoff 2022: District 15-6A Preview
Klein Collins coach Adrian Mitchell took a chance last season playing several sophomores in key roles. It paid off with a district title in 2021 and now the Tigers are hungry for more.
Tomball was the surprise of the Region a year ago, advancing to the State Semis.
Who will be this year’s biggest breakout team?
Cain will either rebuild or reload this season. From the looks of it, the Hurricanes have plenty in the cupboard to reload. Klein Forest will take another big step under coach Johnathan Wilson, as Waller makes a move up to Class 6A.
VYPE PRESEASON AWARDS
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Tucker Parks, Klein Collins
OFFENSIVE MVP: Kaleb Black, Klein Oak
DEFENSIVE MVP: Daniel Moore, Klein
BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Parker Jenkins, Klein Forest
SLEEPER TEAM:Klein Forest
Klein Collins Tigers
It was a tale of two seasons for Klein Collins in 2021 as the Tigers went 0-4 in non-district play before running the table in District 15-6A to take the crown. The reason? They Tigers were tremendously young in the two-deep roster, but extremely talented. The Tigers return Offensive Newcomer of the Year Tucker Parks at quarterback, who has developed into a college-level prospect. Collins does it up front and unanimous first-team selection Jackson Felkins anchors the big men. He will be helped by Aven Rendon and Blake Cruz. Carrying the ball will be junior Michael Wilson. On the outside stretching the field will be Ty Stamey, a big 6-foot-6 target with great hands. The defensive side of the ball is Collins’ calling card. The program was built on tough, hard-nosed tackling and fundamentals. The District Defensive Newcomer was defensive back Chris Gant, who will patrol the secondary with the experienced corners Asa Brown and Eli Wyatt. Juniors Antoine Milon and Mason Faye will stuff the run up front and pressure the quarterback. Both were second teamers. The linebackers will be led by Bryce Adeokun and Gage Luellen.
Klein Cain Hurricanes
Klein Cain is at a crossroads. The football team has set the bar high going into its fifth year of varsity ball under the direction of coach James Clancy. The Hurricanes are 17-6 overall and 10-2 in district play over the past two seasons. Trust in Coach Clancy. “We have established the expectations. Now we seek to execute and continue to raise the bar.” The Hurricanes must replace the District Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year in Matthew Golden and Lukia Rawls, who were cornerstones of the budding program. The baton will be passed to quarterback Lance Awe, receiver Jaelen Smith and linemen Gibson Pyle and Joseph Foxworth. Smith and Pyle were all-district first teamers and Foxworth earned a second-team nod. Grayson Dunbar will be a trusted safety valve for Awe as an all-district tight end.The defensive side of the ball will be solid in the back end. Patrick Batiste and Davin Martin are all-district returners, while Isaiah Byrd and Eric Solomon III round out the secondary unit with experience. Tyler Edwards will anchor the defensive line.
The Tomball Cougars had a season to remember in 2021 as a tremendously talented senior class led the north Houston community on a ride to the Class 6A DII State Semifinals. Coach Kevin Flanigan has moved to become the district’s AD and Dave Handal becomes the new head coach. Flanigan’s former assistant once was the head coach of Galena Park High School, so he has the chops to get the job done. However, Tomball returns a total of four starters in 2022 in a tough district. New QB Carter Noyes has some big shoes to fill but will be able to hand the ball off to RB Christian Womack, who rushed for 1,200 yards last season. Abram Nicklas will lead a new offensive line and Colson Snyder will be the safety valve at tight end. Junior Keegan Deemer will lead the defense along with Ramon Pernas. The secondary will be patrolled by Matt Gainey and Coleman Ryan. Other names to remember include Carson Monrad (RB) and Carlos Alvarado (K/P). The bright side? The Cougars were able to get a ton of reps for their inexperienced players as they advanced in a 15-game schedule a year ago. And the youngsters witnessed what winning really looks like.
Klein Oak Panthers
Oak enters the 2022 season with question marks after finishing third in district a year ago and winning a playoff game.“Our culture is established as a program,” he said. “We are always going to have great players graduate and have great players coming back. The offseason is a time to put the puzzle back together and see where our young guys coming up through the program will fit in.” Carpenter returns some talented pieces starting with athlete Kaleb Black – the District Utility Player of the Year. He will be flanked in the backfield by all-district, second teamer Keishaun Wooten at running back. The defense will fly around the ball this season and will be the team’s strength. It starts up front with first teamer Daymond Anderson at tackle and second teamer Ryne Berger on the end. Second-team linebacker Alexander Marsland will step up in the hole to stop opposing running games. The secondary is salty with Timmy Bakare, Kamryn Durham, McKinley Wilson and Malachi Oldacre. The quarterback spot will be a question but make no mistake – a “Klein Oak Man” will take over.
Klein Forest Golden Eagles
The rebuild of Klein Forest football continues under the direction of coach Johnathan Wilson, a former Golden Eagle himself. He’s invested and it shows. The Eagles made huge strides last year, winning five games and one district game. Upon beating district-mate Tomball Memorial, he lived up to his promise. If Klein Forest won a district game, he vowed to his players that he would shave his head. “This year, I told the guys that if we made the playoffs this year, I would shave my head… absolutely,” he said. “I had to clear it with my wife because she wasn’t that fond of it last year. I got it cleared, so that’s the bet.” Over the past several months, Klein Forest has been the darlings of the recruiting world. The big three of Brad Spence (Arkansas), Parker Jenkins and Jelani Watkins (Houston) collected dozens of offers each over the offseason.
The strength of Klein Forest is obviously speed. Jenkins and Watkins are elite sprinters on the Golden Eagle track and field team. Jenkins will run the ball, while Watkins is the deep threat downfield. A quarterback must emerge, who will be protected by all-district, second-team selection Jossue Rios. Chandler Williams is a rangy tight end, who could have a breakout season. Defensively, the edge at linebacker will be contained by the Spence brothers – Brad and sophomore Trent – who are big-time talents. Tivrell Hollings and Robert Graves will anchor the defensive line, while Chris Minor will patrol the secondary.
The Klein Bearkats were on the outside of the 2021 playoff picture in heartbreaking fashion. The ‘Kats fell 41-36 in double-overtime to Klein Oak to miss a playoff spot. “Missing the playoffs last year hurt,” senior running back Myles Arterberry said. “We have collectively come together as a team and we’ve been working on our craft all offseason.” It’s no shock that Arterberry is giving out the marching orders as he committed to Army over the summer. The other playmakers on offense includes outside receivers Grant Jansky and Aisayah Brown, who will hope to stretch the field. Kai Powell will also help as a slot receiver. Junior Bret Kilchrist will run the offense at quarterback with hopes that his offseason and summer training will translate to Friday nights. The defense will be the strength of the team. The captain of that side of the ball is unanimous first-team, all-district pick Daniel Moore -- a hybrid safety/linebacker.
The defensive line is solid with Vincent Wells in the middle and Judah Boyce and Joey Ortego on the edge. The back end will be led by Malachi Griffiths, who has a ton of game experience and will provide senior leadership to a team that could be a sleeper in 2022.
Tomball Memorial Wildcats
The year 2021 was one to forget for the Tomball Memorial Wildcats. The ‘Cats went 2-8 overall and 0-6 in district play. With coach Sam Parker at the helm, that likely will never happen again. He is one of the most innovative coaches in the city of Houston. Back in the fold are offensive weapons Espen Ramos, Chase Lovick and Cory O’Bryant. Ramos and Lovick can play any offensive skill position and must be accounted for. QB Reed Odell threw for over 1,500 yards last season and should even get better with an offseason under his belt. Clayton Schupp is a massive OL but will need some help. The defense is what needs improvement from a year ago. The push up front will need to come from Jalen Ellis, Cole Vedder and Ayden Abuzlam. Linebackers Bayden Poe, Kevin Fair and Hayden Winsor will patrol the middle of the field and DBs Colin Helmer, Matthew Bess and Nyle Hughes will anchor the secondary. Getting back in the district win column is key for Tomball Memorial before talking about a playoff spot.
Change has come over in Waller, Texas. The Bulldogs move up from Class 5A to 6A and legendary coach Gene Johnson has moved into the admin building. Offensive coordinator Marcus Mendoza takes over the head coaching job as Waller looks to improve on its 4-5 record from a year ago in a new landscape. The offense should be able to move the ball with Jaiden Stevens, Geiman Leighton and Kolby Karsteter controlling the line of scrimmage for QB Jordan Duncan, RB Alex Bars and receivers Austin Bice and Matthew Brown to do work. The defense has some pieces as well. The front seven is the strength with the likes of Dwayne Salters and CJ Woodson leading the charge. The next layer at linebackers are Ta’Shawn Justice and Branson Bean, who look to slow down the offenses in District 15-6A. It will be a tall order to make the jump to Class 6A this season, but Waller could be a sleeping giant in the next few years as that community continues to grow.