Atascocita, Summer Creek to battle in District 22-6A
District 22-6A is top heavy with regional contenders Atascocita and Summer Creek. After that, it's a toss-up as the Humble ISD and Pasadena ISD schools battle for the third and fourth playoff spots.
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VYPE Preseason Rankings
(Bold Denotes Playoff Teams)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Brice Matthews, Atascocita
OFFENSIVE MVP: Bryan Bush, Summer Creek
DEFENSIVE MVP: Asyrus Simon, Atascocita
BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Dontavion Crosby, Dobie
SLEEPER TEAM: Humble
Craig Stump enters this season having to replace one of the best offensive linemen to come through Houston in recent years in Kenyon Green, who is bound for Texas A&M. A trio of Will Jones, Jer'Marques Bailey and Kameron Dewberry will anchor the line. Behind that line Brice Matthews (QB) returns after a District 22-6A Offensive MVP season where he passed for 3,280 yards and 29 touchdowns. His top target includes Dylan Robinson (University of Houston-commit), who had 1,208 yards and 16 scores. In the backfield is secondteam, all-district selection T.J. Thomas, who will carry the rock after rushing for more than 1,000 yards a year ago for the Eagles. Defensively, Asyrus Simon (UTSAcommit) will anchor the defensive line and be a key piece of a unit that brings back eight starters, including OLB David Tuihalangingie. Also, back on defense will be first-team, all-district selections Daniel Onwuachi (linebacker) and Taylen Blaylock (safety); second-team, all-district picks Leonard Randolph (defensive line) and Devyn Brooks (safety).
Summer Creek Bulldogs
One point is all that separated Summer Creek from a share of the District 22-6A Championship last season, which would have been its first since 2013. A dramatic 36-35 loss to Atascocita is what ended up being the difference. The Bulldogs will have to replace big men Jack Zelezinski (McNeese State) and Angel Robles on the line but have some firepower returning. Back off that team is dynamic dual-threat quarterback Bryan Bush, who was the District 22-6A MVP last year. Bush passed for 1,985 yards and rushed for another 1,375 yards and tallied 48 touchdowns. Expect a full offseason to pay off huge dividends for him heading into just his junior season. Other key returners on offense include Luke Lapeze and Kelvin Banks on the line, Elijah Bean and Drevion Grant at the receiver position and Torrie Curry and Sam Williams in the backfield. Defensively, Devion Hargrove returns after a first-team, all-district season at cornerback. The Bulldogs will have to find some pieces down in the trenches, but the explosive play of Bush will carry them early to success.
Dobie heads into this year needing to replace the talented Kris Morris, who rushed for 1,386 yards and 17 scores. District 22-6A Newcomer of the Year Darius Hale will step up as the lead back this season. Last year, Hale rushed for 1,132 yards and 15 scores in the regular season. In an offense that was predicated on the run, it will be a key for Dobie to have Hale and Dontavion Crosby to find early success. Other key returners for the Longhorns amongst their 14 returning starters, include Jason Brooks (OL), Giambi Boyd (CB), Javen Sanchez (DL), James King (OL), Cameran Guy (WR) and Jesse Mitchell (LB). Second-year coach Kevin Berneathy has some pieces back to get this program back into the playoffs for a second-straight season.
Kingwood's offense in 2018 was just like Dobie's, based a lot on the success of the running game. Unlike Dobie though, the Mustangs must replace both pieces of their dynamic duo – Blake Parr and Casey Roth. Kingwood does return Grant Wall at quarterback, who had 750 yards and nine touchdowns passing last season. Other key returners on offense include Parker Hemphill (TE), who was a first-team, all-district pick last year; Jack Dugas (WR) and Kasey Duplechin (RB). Defensively, the Mustangs bring back outside linebackers Brandon Lewis (70 tackles), Cade Burgess and Thomas Sutter.
Humble is coming off its first year at the Class 6A level and went 5-5 overall. Entering his eighth season at the helm of the Wildcats, Charles West has some pieces coming back and it starts at quarterback with Dexter Wyble. The incoming senior got a substantial amount of playing time last year after Chase Pena tore his ACL. Wyble finished the year with 787 yards and six touchdowns through the air. The Wildcats will have to find an answer at running back having to replace District 22-6A leader Isaiah Robinson (1,404 yards, 15 TDs). Other key returners from the offensive side include offensive linemen Ryan Suge and Nathaniel Alcantar and receivers Dontee McCray (572 yards, 3 TDs) and Robert Williams (338 yards, 4 TDs). Defensively, Tavian Coleman (DE), Joel Davila (DB), Aaron Lockett (LB), Brandon Moore (LB) and Eric Osegueda (LB) will be keys to the Wildcats stopping opponents.
South Houston Trojans
Patrick Longstreet enters year two at South Houston. There was a lot of hype around the Trojans to start 2018 as they opened the year at 3-0, which was the best start for the team since the 1975. South Houston went 3-4 the rest of the way and finished on the outside looking in. Entering 2019, the Trojans return just seven starters (five on offense, two on defense). Returning Trojans include Kendyll Hubert (695 yards rushing) and Brodrick Williams (384 yards) in the backfield. Second-team, all-district receiver Keith Oliver is back after recording 516 yards and eight scores last year. Other key returners include receiver Joseph Phillips and lineman Bryan Ramos. Defensively, Deondre Corbin is back at strong safety.
Pasadena Memorial Mavericks
After back-to-back playoff appearances, last season didn't go the way the Memorial hopeful had wished, going 3-7 overall. Heading into this year, new coach James Crocker will look for incoming junior Tyler Bennett to replace the rushing skills of Austin Franklin and Sabian Smith. Bennett had 488 yards and five scores on the ground last year. At quarterback, Jordan See will be the man taking the snaps. Other key offensive names to remember include offensive linemen Justin Rodriguez, Caleb Mendez, Daniel Aguirre and Ivan Robles. Defensively, Adrian Tamez is back after recording 50 tackles last year as a sophomore.
Pasadena is in the same boat as Memorial as David Zapien takes over the head-coaching duties being promoted from within. Zapien will have his work cut out for him, trying to turn around a team that has gone 2-27 the past three seasons and hasn't made the playoffs since 1996. Jacob Henriquez returns after rushing for 507 yards last year. Other key players to watch include receiver Kemon Haywood, offensive lineman Daniel Flores and quarterback Joshua Spann. Defensively, Luis Arroyo and Nelson Herrera will be some names to remember.
Sam Rayburn Texans
Sam Rayburn has had a rough go of it the past few years, not winning a game since the 2016 season. The Texans will have a new coach in 2019 as Shaun Wynn heads back to North Shore as an assistant. Demond Stafford takes over as he comes over from Pasadena Memorial. Despite the lack of success, the Texans do have some youthful experience coming back. In the backfield, RB Julian Falcon (170 yards rushing and 89 yards receiving) and QB Bryan Aguirre (138 yards rushing and 252 yards passing) are back. Other key returners include Isaiah Walker (RB), Alexis Telles (LB), Gerardo Ledezma (DB) and Jose Lemus (LB). Getting that first win under their belts this season will be key to getting some momentum going for the Texans.