VYPE Football 2021 Preview: District 17-6A
This district could be very open.
Cy-Fair, which has won five consecutive district titles, generally runs things, but the Bobcats return few starters and will deal with inexperience this season.
Plenty of teams pose as threats to take over the crown, including Memorial, Jersey Village and Stratford. Don't sleep on Cypress Creek.
Cypress Ridge could make some noise as well.
(Bold Denotes Playoffs)
Most Valuable Player: Hunter Warren, Cy-Fair
Offensive MVP: Carson Zahn, Memorial
Defensive MVP: Landon Suarez, Jersey Village
Breakout Player of the Year: Hawkins Polley, Stratford
Sleeper Team: Cypress Creek
The defending 17-6A champs return six starters from last year's 10-2 area finalist. Most of coach Jeff Miller's returners are along the fronts: senior offensive linemen Blake Gonzalez (6-3 260), Alex Rodriguez (6-4, 300) and Aaron Padron (6-0, 260), and senior defensive tackle Lamond Henry (5-11, 240). Henry had 29 tackles with two caused fumbles, an interception and a sack last season.
Another key piece is 5-foot-11, 205-pound senior LB Hunter Warren, who had 60 tackles, four sacks and a caused fumble. Warren and Henry are two of the Bobcats' notable recruits. Miller says he has an inexperienced team that must grow up fast.
Cy- Fair's primary go-to playmaker offensively is 6-foot- 2, 195-pound senior receiver Landon Arrington. Arrington caught 10 balls for 310 yards and four TDs and ran seven times for 82 yards and two TDs.
Also keep an eye on junior receiver Kyle Chambers (88 receiving yards, 2 TDs; 4.3 yards per game on nine carries) and sophomore TE Cooper Stevens (34 yards and a TD on three catches).
Jersey Village Falcons
Twelve starters return from a 6-6 Area playoff finalist, seven on offense. There will be a quarterback battle between junior Arbrie Carter (364 yards, .658 completion percentage, 1 TD-2 INTs; 109 rushing yards, 5 TDs) and sophomore Adam Tran (1,515 yards, .464 completion percentage, 17 TDs-13 INTs). Carter started the first three games last season before succumbing to injury. Tran stepped in and did an admirable job.
Whoever wins QB1 will have potent targets in junior RB Rashon Estes (735 yards, 6 TDs), sophomore RB Quinton Jones (405 yards, 5 TDs) and senior WR Quinci Jones (381 receiving yards, 5 TDs). Versatile dynamos Xavier Joyce and Zy'Rion Turner can change the complexion of a game. The O-line is in good shape with 6-foot-5, 315-pound junior Reagan Gill and 6-foot-2, 305-pound junior Mateo Ortiz.
Defensively, the Falcons have just as impressive of talent in senior 6-foot, 210-pound DE Landon Suarez (38 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, two caused fumbles, fumble recovery), senior 5-foot-11, 200-pound DL Jeffrey Patton (32 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 fumble recoveries, blocked punt), and senior DBs Maurice Evans (39 tackles) and Chris Noble (31 tackles).
The Mustangs bring back 12 starters from last year's 7-3 Bi-District finalist, including arguably the best player in the district in senior RB Carson Zahn. The 5-foot-8, 175-pounder rushed for 1,003 yards and 12 TDs in eight games.
He'll have weapons around him, including senior offensive linemen George Eubanks (6-foot, 240) and George Foeng, and junior WR Kyle Siblik (290 yards, 4 TDs). Junior QB Mason Sanders threw for 583 yards and six TDs to five INTs as a sophomore last year, completing 50.6-percent of his passes. He also rushed for 239 yards and two TDs. In all, seven starters return on offense.
Defensively, Memorial has a strong linebacking corps led by seniors Bauer Bruce (67 tackles, 4 sacks, fumble recovery) and Marshall Bergenzer (11 tackles), but has holes elsewhere. Senior WR Christian Braddock (132 yards, 2 TDs in six games) and senior DL Will Klingberg (20 tackles, blocked FG) could play more prominent roles this season.
Coach Todd Rankin likes what he has in the 12 starters returning from last year's 6-4 team that barely missed the playoffs. "Close is not good enough," Rankin said. "We have to address all the little things that will help us finish."
The Spartans have strong offensive skill players, improved lines on both sides of the ball and an improved secondary. They lack an overall depth in size.
Key returners are senior 5-foot-11, 170-pound RB Diego Denson (526 yards, 2 TDs; 314 receiving yards, 3 TDs), senior OL Josh Hyland, junior WR Hawkins Polley (437 yards, 9 TDs), senior DB Antony Cuhel (59 tackles, 2 INTs), senior DL Colin Tenney (20 tackles), junior LB Cooper King (89 tackles, 2 fumbles caused), junior DB Bracken Menuet (50 tackles), junior DL Austin LaRue and junior K Giancarlo Chelala.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Polley is the signature name of the group, an impressive talent that boasts offers from Baylor, SMU, Vanderbilt and Houston. Key newcomers are junior WR Jake Brand, junior QB Nash Rankin, junior OL Hudson Perroni, senior DB Sincere Blackmon, junior DE Jared Botary and junior RB Dallas Payne.
Cypress Creek Cougars
Coach Greg McCaig likes his defensive line and quarterback play, but also knows his Cougars must replace a ton of production with a new group of receivers and improve the back end of the defense. That fits with his team's motto this season: "Go to work. Be consistent. Improve daily".
Cy-Creek returns four starters from a 4-6 Bi-District playoff finalist. Everything starts with sophomore QB Brad Jackson. The 6-foot, 160-pounder threw for 2,187 yards and 20 TDs to nine INTs in eight games last season. Junior 5-foot-9, 170-pound RB Yalance Brown returns to tote the rock for the Cougars, and will be joined by senior Raymond Rollins, who moves over from the defensive secondary. Junior WR Edgar Quintero is a threat on the perimeter, and Jonathan Vining steadies matters up front.
Defensively, Cy-Creek will abide by 6-foot-1, 105-pound senior DE Quinten Renteria (38 tackles, 5 sacks, 3 caused fumbles, fumble recovery), 6-foot, 220-pound senior DE Matthew Shrake (21 tackles, caused fumble) and 6-foot-1, 240-pound junior DL Kamauri Dumas.
Cypress Ridge Rams
The Rams return 13 starters from a 2-8 team and have some quality talent. Junior 5-foot-7, 155-pound RB Tav'ren Richardson has the potential to be a big-time game-changer. He averaged 7.3 yards per carry with 234 yards and a TD in nine games last season.
Senior 5-foot- 10, 165-pound WR A.J. Gooden-Dottin had a team-best 620 receiving yards and six TDs. Senior WRs Aaron Woods (281 yards, 10 yards per catch, 3 TDs) and Joinell Chiles (200 yards, 8.7 yards per catch, TD) add depth. But who will get them the ball? Cy-Ridge graduated its starting and backup quarterbacks. The Rams are also young on the O-line.
Defensively, junior 6-foot-2, 185-pound LB Emiliano Soldavilla (39 tackles, one fumble caused) leads the way. Senior 5-foot-10, 170-pound two-way playmaker Jaiden Vaquera (52 tackles, INT; 5 yards per carry) makes an impact on both sides of the ball.
Spring Woods Tigers
Though the Tigers went just 3-7 in 2020, it was their best record since 2012. They have not won more than three games in a season since 2004. But Spring Woods has a chance to keep the momentum going forward as it returns 15 starters (eight on offense) from last year's team. Senior QB Isaiah McKnight, junior 6-foot-1, 195-pound RB Karon Williams, and offensive linemen Joey Emerson (6-foot, 275) and Nicolas Tapia (6-1, 245) provide the foundation of a veteran offense. Junior DB Anthony Rodriguez headlines the defense after picking off seven passes last season. Sophomore LB Derek Loflin is well-regarded by coaches and could be in line for a breakout season.
Northbrook has not won a game since Nov. 3, 2017, but coach Andres Gomez is excited about this year's team. He returns eight starters (five on defense) and highlights the defensive line and receivers as strengths. The D-line lacks experience but has a collection of strong leaders. The receiver position has the most talent on offense.
The Raiders are led by senior WRs Arnez Semien and Daniel Holman. Defensively, junior LB Angel Reyes, senior DL Prince Echaverry and senior DB Gabriel Mata provide a steady core. Gomez is high on junior WR Marquell Hannah and an impressive sophomore class of quarterback Brandon Dillard, OL Miguel Muro and DB Dade Delva.
"There is a stigma around Northbrook football that we are working to change from within," Gomez said. "Many of our players have bought into the belief that we are operating on a different level than some of the teams that came before us, and we are excited to put our progress on the field."