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HOUSTON – Fort Bend Marshall track coach Lloyd Banks admitted he has been checking the weather quite a bit of late.
With the UIL State Track and Field Meet starting on Friday and weather in Texas being quite testy the last couple of weeks with strong thunderstorms hitting different parts of the state, Banks has been checking a lot.
“Today or the last two weeks,” Banks said with a laugh when asked about how much he’s checked the weather. “Today I’ve checked the app at least 20 times.”
To fit six classifications of state track athletes preparing to compete in the next two days, with that comes a rather tight schedule.
Class 1A, 3A and 5A are set to compete on Friday and then 2A, 4A and 6A to run Saturday that is a lot of events and athletes to get through their events.
With the impending severe weather in the Austin area this weekend there is the chance of lengthy weather delays and schedule changes.
“Biggest thing is managing the kids time,” Banks said. “When they’re going to warm-up, how much are they hydrating, make sure they are moving around a little bit.”
Before Fort Banks Marshall leaves for Milke A Myers Stadium on Friday, the team will eat a rather large meal. After that it will just be snacks the rest of the way until they are done.
They have a plan in place in case of a weather delay, Banks said referring to 2013 when they had to experience a few of those at the state meet but knows everyone will have to go through it just like his team will.
“We just have to run fast and turn left,” Banks said. “Make sure we get the stick around and just do what we’re ready to do. I think the kids are mentally tough enough to handle it and this is just one of the things they must go through. I think they’ll be ready.”
Last year, while chasing its third team title in four years, Fort Bend Marshall was facing adversity not on the track. There were rumors that Fort Bend ISD could be looking to close the school and disperse the students to other campuses.
This year, Mother Nature seems to be the obstacle trying to get in the way of the Buffs’ runs at a fourth title in five years.
“It is crazy, it is never normal,” Banks said. “That’s the norm is that it’s never normal. We deal with all of it, it is what it is. Because we always have adverse situations that’s one of the things that’s made the kids so strong too. They’re always fighting something. We’re used to it.
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“At the end day we’ve got to get it done. Period.”
Fort Bend Marshall does bring the fastest 4x100 and 4x200-meter relay teams in country to the University of Texas on Friday, which puts them as a favorite to win the Class 5A boys team title again.
If the Buffs pull it off, it will be the fourth title in the last five seasons.
“It’s monumental,” Banks said. “This is a crazy thing that they are a part of. I told them to embrace it. It’s very hard to cherish it while they’re in it. Right now, they just have their warrior hats on. They just want to go.”
HOUSTON – Ed Oliver was the headliner.
The former Westfield and University of Houston product was the one everyone in the Houston-area had their eyes on. The five-star prospect coming out of high school had been projected as high as No. 3 overall to the New York Jets to as low as No. 14 to the Atlanta Falcons.
Oliver landed in the middle.
After three other defensive linemen were taken ahead of him – Nick Bosa (No. 2 – 49ers), Quinnen Williams (No. 3 – Jets) and Clelin Ferrell (No.4 – Raiders) – the Houston-native’s name came off the board.
Oliver was selected with the No. 9 overall pick by the Buffalo Bills and to no one’s surprise was taken in the Top 10.
The 6-foot-1, 287-pound defensive lineman will most likely move to the outside now when he heads to Buffalo.
After Oliver was taken at No. 9 overall, it would be nearly 100 picks before another Houston player would be taken off the board.
With the first pick of the third round, the Arizona Cardinals got Kyler Murray a big target in Iowa State’s Hakeem Butler.
Butler, who is the cousin of the famed Harrison twins, played a year at Fort Bend Travis High School. The 6-foot-6 wide receiver was second-team, All-Big 12 in 2018 and finished in the top 10 in the country in receiving yards with 1,318. He is going to be a big target for Murray and expect him to be a big piece in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense.
Just eight picks later, former Fort Bend Marshall star Kendall Sheffield was taken by the Atlanta Falcons, who traded up to get him.
Sheffield was a first-team, all-state pick coming out of Fort Bend Marshall. On the track, the future Ohio State star was named the Gatorade Texas Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year in 2014. That same season, Sheffield won the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles at the Class 4A State Championships.
Sheffield spent his first year of college football redshirting at Alabama before heading to Blinn College and then to Ohio State in January of 2017.
In a draft that has been all about the defensive side of the ball, the 150th overall pick continued that trend.
Former George Ranch and Texas A&M defensive end standout Kingsley Keke is heading to the frozen tundra with the Green Bay Packers.
Keke is 6-foot-3 and 288-pounds and was a four-star recruit coming out of George Ranch. In 2017, Keke became a full-time starter for the Aggies and played in all 13 games. Last season, the senior broke through and had a team-high seven sacks for the Aggies.
The first running back from the Houston-area came off the board in the sixth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday.
Former C.E. King and Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams fit the bill getting taken at No. 182 overall for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Williams set the Texas A&M single-season rushing record last year busting loose for 1,760 yards on the ground, which ranked third-best in the NCAA.
The Aggie running back posted a 4.51 40-yard dash, 33-inch vertical, 121-inch broad jump, 19 reps on the 225-pound bench press and a 7.44-second 3-cone drill and 4.44-second 20-yard shuttle at the NFL Combine.
“Big legs, big trunk, big torso, upper body is stacked and that’s what you need to take that pounding in the NFL as a running back,” former NFL player and current trainer Derrick Blaylock said. “Fast, elusive, great vision and speed. That’s what you’re looking for. He’s a total package.”
Emeke Egbule is heading to Los Angeles.
The former North Shore linebacker, who stayed home to play college football at the University of Houston was selected with the No. 200 overall pick by the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday.
The 6-foot-2, 245-pound outside linebacker will be a piece that can rush in off the outside and cause havoc in the backfield. Egbule led The American Conference's linebackers with seven passes defended and ranked fifth nationally with three fumble recoveries.
Another former Katy Tiger is heading to the NFL.
Rodney Anderson's wait ended at the 211th overall pick on Saturday when the Cincinnati Bengals took him.
Anderson will join fellow Katy Tiger quarterback Andy Dalton with the Bengals. The former Oklahoma running back was the second back taken by the Bengals in the draft after 29 picks earlier, CE King's Trayveon Williams was taken by the Bengals.
The 6-foot, 224-pound back had to overcome multiple injuries during his college career, including a broken leg in 2015, neck fracture in 2016 and an ACL tear in his right knee this past season in the second game of the year.
When healthy, Anderson is a viable threat. Against Clemson in the National Semifinal game in 2017, Anderson rushed for 201 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries.
If Anderson can stay healthy he has the potential to be a solid running back in the NFL.
What a story.
Cullen Gillaspia after his time was over at Katy Taylor High School walked on at Texas A&M.
The next fall, Gillaspia was awarded a scholarship after fall camp and was named the Aggies' 12th Man, which is a high honor that includes wearing the No. 12. Gillaspia held that honor for every season he was in College Station.
As a senior, Gillaspia transitioned to fullback, which is what his hometown Houston Texans will use him now as after taking him 220th overall.
Gillaspia was shown to be extremely emotional in a video of him getting the call from Texans General Manager Brian Gaine on Saturday, while he was at a family crawfish boil. Gillaspia attended a local pro day the Texans hosted and also talked with them at the Texas A&M Pro Day as well.
Gillaspia is coming home to be a Texan.
The NFL Draft was coming to a close and Summer Creek's Dakota Allen remained on the board.
Would he fall to No. 254 (aka Mr. Irrelevant) and get chosen by his former college coach Kliff Kingsbury, who held that pick as the first-year head coach of the Arizona Cardinals?
Allen got close to reuniting but instead he is heading to Wade Phillips' defense, which includes offseason acquisition Clay Matthews and NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and the NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams with the 254th overall pick.
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