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VYPE has broken down the top private school programs in the city of Houston.
We divided them into three categories - the Contenders, Dark Horses and Sleepers. Who fits into what category? We start with the Sleepers, who are the teams that could truly jump up and surprise some people in 2022.
Here are VYPE's 2022 Private School Football Sleepers.
CONCORDIA LUTHERAN CRUSADERS
The Crusaders went 4-7 last season and could be in for another trying season as most of their offensive and defensive firepower graduated. New coach Willie Amendola is changing the culture quickly, but it takes more than an offseason. Offensively, they will lean on junior 6-foot-2, 185-pound athlete Lou Lamar (263 yards, 3 TDs passing) and senior RB Ayden Dominy (590 yards, 3 TDs). Senior Ryan Escalante (66 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 INTs, 4 passes defensed), senior DB Issac Keiper (31 tackles, 4 INTs, 9 passes defensed) and junior 6-foot-1, 195-pound Alex Kissamis (37 tackles) lead the defense, where the Crusaders will hang their hat early and often this season. Could a new QB transfer make an early impact?
After reaching the TAPPS 6-Man State Semifinals the previous year, the Jaguars got the job done last season in winning the Division I State Championship decisively, 69-24, over San Marcos Academy. Emery/Weiner went a flawless 12-0 and won by an average of 41.3 points per game. It could be a bit of a reloading year for the Jags, however, after they graduated their top quarterback, running back and receiver from last season. Only three starters return. Fifteen of the team’s 34 varsity players were seniors last year. Keep an eye on senior receiver Ari Strauss. The defense has a little more stability in senior LB Josh Costa (54 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, sack, INT) and senior DB Elliott Ellis (43 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 3 INTs).
LUTHERAN SOUTH ACADEMY PIONEERS
Defense will be the identity, at least early on, for a Pioneers team that returns 12 starters (seven on defense) from a 7-4 team. Junior LB Cole Noack (69 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, INT, 2 fumbles caused) and senior DB Reid Goldstraw (49 tackles, 2 INTs) lead the way. Senior DL Josh Gomez (46 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, INT) and senior DL Collin Fox (43 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 3 sacks) take care of business up front. Offensively, the Pioneers have some nice pieces in senior RB Matthew Savala (539 yards, 3 TDs) and senior 6-foot, 195-pound TE Ethan Savell (192 yards, 2 TDs).
BAY AREA CHRISTIAN BRONCOS
In TAPPS Divison III play a year ago, Bay Area Christian was one win away from playing for a State Championship. The Broncos reached the State Semifinals and fell short to eventual State Champ Cypress Christian. BACS does return first-team, all-state linebacker Kade Sink to the mix, while Titus Grumbles will anchor the defensive line after being second team, all-state a year ago. Noah Box will return as well after an honorable-mention, all-state pick in the secondary. Other names to remember include Rylan Dee, Jack Dudley, Matthew Anderson and John Russo to watch in 2022.
ROSEHILL CHRISTIAN EAGLES
Fifteen starters, eight on defense, are back from a 1-9 Eagles team. Nine underclassmen started games for Rosehill Christian last season. Rosehill is hoping those growing pains and lessons learned get it back on the right track in 2022 as experience will not be a burden. The Eagles return 16 lettermen and graduated just five. Junior QB Trey Walker III and senior WR AJ Wilder make for a potent quarterback-receiver duo and will pace the Eagles’ offense. The defense will be anchored by junior 6-foot, 200-pound DE Blake Straten.
Concordia Lutheran got their man.
One of the names most synonymous in Houston high school football has come out of retirement to take over Sader Nation… Willie Amendola.
Amendola won a Class 5A DII UIL State Title in 2011 with an upstart Dekaney Wildcats. Dekaney went 14-2 and defeated Cibolo Steele 34-14 in the championship game. program before overseeing athletics on a macro level as Spring ISD’s athletic director. He also oversaw the construction of Planet Ford Stadium in Spring -- a state-of-the-art facility on the north side of Houston.
Amendola joined the coaching staff at Westfield High School and served as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Mustangs. He then was selected to open Dekaney High School in 2007.
He has been in education for over 40 years years. Prior to coming to Spring, he taught and coached in the Houston, Klein and Aldine school districts. He graduated for Northeastern University in Boston and earned a Master of Administration degree from Sam Houston State University.
His son, Danny Amendola, starred at Texas Tech and has played in the NFL since 2008. He's won two Super Bowls with the New England Patriots.
He is taking over the Crusaders' program that went 4-7 overall and 4-2 in district play.