HOUSTON - Carson Zahn side-stepped defenders, hit the endzone, flexed and yelled.
The junior running back finally found his groove. The Memorial Mustang offense had found its rhythm and there was nothing Seven Lakes could do to stop it.
Zahn rumbled for a 28, 1 and 19-yard touchdowns in the third quarter, ballooning his stat line for the night rushing for 211 yards and leading Memorial to a 20-15 victory at Darrel Tully Stadium.
"We're a bunch of fighters, especially our defense," Zahn said about what he learned about this team tonight. "Those boys are awesome and we're going to be able to compete all year. I'm excited."
VYPE 🎥 Game Report: VYPE Media Managing Editor @jokoch09 breaks down the @MHShouston 20-15 win tonight to open the season. #txhsfb #VYPECampus @SBISD @sbisdathletics @kphershey @jennifer_blaine @MHSMustangsBC @KPRC2RandyMc @alexradow @KPRC2Ari @TXHSFB @ToddFreed57 @CarsonZahn pic.twitter.com/AP4HX4XwnA
— vypehouston (@vypehouston) September 25, 2020
After last season, Memorial coach Gary Koch felt like the team was starting to gel towards the end of the season. That has seemed to carry over after going 6-2 to finish the 2019 season after a 1-3 start.
"Our returners really shined tonight, especially on the defensive side," Koch said.
The first half was a defensive battle. Seven Lake's secondary picked off a pair of passes, one by Jonah Vela and the other by Connor Brooks. The Spartans broke through on the scoreboard first with an eight-yard touchdown run by Nick David-West, taking a 7-0 lead, which was the halftime score.
In the third quarter, that's when Zahn went off, rushing for his eventual three scores as he helped carry the Mustangs to the win.
"For a kid his size, he runs a lot bigger," Koch said. "His tenacity is very important. Obviously, he's got great quickness and his vision is good and all those things. I think the thing not a lot of people understand about him is how physical he runs. He's a pretty physical runner for a kid his size.
"He felt confident, so when they feel confident you try to feed him and see what happens."
VYPE Player of the Game: @CarsonZahn | @MHShouston Jr Running Back
Zahn went OFF for 211 yards on 36 carries and 3 TDs. #txhsfb #VYPECampus @KPRC2RandyMc @KPRC2Ari @SBISD @sbisdathletics @kphershey @dragna_jack @MHSMustangsBC @jennifer_blaine pic.twitter.com/i3swKoH2Qc
— vypehouston (@vypehouston) September 25, 2020
HOUSTON – Andres Gomez has always dreamed of this moment.
Getting to take over the helm of a football program of his own is something he has worked his way up to and now he is getting that opportunity at Northbrook.
"There's a lot of growth opportunity there," Gomez said. "A lot of potential for positive movement. I feel like it goes well with my skillset."
Gomez knows how to win.
In high school, Gomez played for Mike Johnston at Katy and in 1997 was a part of the first state championship for the program since 1959. After his time there, Gomez went to Texas A&M, where he didn't play, but then started his coaching career at Chavez High School.
Following his stint there, Gomez coached at Tomball, Aldine, Klein Oak, College Park and then most recently at Klein Cain as the Assistant Head Coach.
At Klein Cain, which played its first season in 2018, Gomez – who was named the Klein Cain 2020 English Teacher of the Year – got to watch and assist as James Clancy has built that program, which made the playoffs for the first time last year, from the ground up.
"I am so incredibly proud of Coach Gomez," Clancy said. "He has been an integral part of opening our young school and getting our program started. He is a relationship driven leader who makes everyone around him better. He truly cares about every student and player he comes into contact with. Northbrook is getting a great coach and better person. We are so grateful to him, and his family for all they have done for Klein Cain."
Even though Northbrook has been playing football since 1974, the Raiders are still seeking their first playoff berth and Gomez is approaching this as the same as they did with Klein Cain.
"It almost feels like the same situation of having to start from scratch," Gomez said. "There has not been a lot of positive football history, so it's almost the same mentality of putting some systems in place, some things we believe in, some non-negotiables of how we approach the everyday things we do and continue to trust the process."
Through his career, Gomez has coached on all three sides off the ball.
He's coached defensive backs, wide receivers (the position he played in high school) and special teams over his tenure as a coach.
When looking towards his first coaching staff, Gomez knows exactly what he's wanting.
"I just want passion for kids and energy," he said. "It's important to get some hungry, young coaches who are willing to put in the work necessary to turn the program around. I have an idea of what the right way to do things is and what kind of mindset and work ethic it's going to take to do what those kids need."
In the job of getting Northbrook turned into a winning football program, Gomez won't be alone in that challenge.
He will have mentors, such as Stratford head coach Todd Rankin, who he worked with at College Park.
"I feel like he's going to be a great mentor for me as far as taking over a program in Spring Branch and some of the minor details I'm going to need help with along the way, I think he's going to be a positive influence," Gomez said.
Not only will he have help from fellow Spring Branch ISD coaches, the first-year head coach will also be getting help from the top – SBISD Athletic Director Paige Hershey.
"She's been extremely helpful, she's been around the district for a long time and she knows all the ins and outs," Gomez said. "I feel very privileged to have been chosen for this position because I know that she has a great feel for what the school needs and what the community needs. The fact that I was selected is a great honor. She has been extremely helpful and pleasant to work with."
At the end of the day, wins are what will be the thing many will look for.
Northbrook hasn't won a football game since 2017 – going 0-10 the past two seasons – and hasn't posted more than three wins since going 4-6 in 1997.
But to get to those wins, Gomez said they have to focus on the small things first.
"As long as we focus on the important things, such as player development and academics, then the big things will take care of themselves by following those ideals," he said.