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CONROE - No. 16 Grand Oaks has been impressive throughout its debut season as a football program but not just that but doing it at the Class 6A level.
The Grizzlies have rolled through the opening four weeks of the 2020 season and that included Thursday night at Moorhead Stadium, where Grand Oaks blew past Fort Bend Austin 69-10. This win also marked win No. 200 in the coaching career of Dr. Mike Jackson.
"It's all the places you've been and the coaches you've worked with and the administrators," Jackson said as he reminisced after win No. 200. "It's very special. While I'm incredibly proud of it and I wouldn't want any other team to hit that mark with me except this team, who is a bunch of overachievers and scrappy and gets after it. Getting win 200 is great, but our focus is on doing well in district."
VYPE Game Report: @GOaksFootball improves to 4-0 on Thursday behind a 69-10 victory. @jokoch09 was on hand for this one. #txhsfb
(@KPRC2RandyMc @KPRC2Ari @ConroeISD @grandoaksath @HTownHSS @Coop_micah @hudhamilton2023 @GOaksBooster @ConroeISDSupt @tara_brause @ToddFreed57) pic.twitter.com/gGR6Skbafu
— vypehouston (@vypehouston) October 16, 2020
Seeing the Grizzlies for the first time in person, here are the 5 Big Takeaways.
What a Start!
TOUCHDOWN GRIZZLIES: @GOaksFootball QB @hudhamilton2023 hits Triston Brause on the 33-yard TD pass. #txhsfb— vypehouston (@vypehouston) October 16, 2020
2nd - 3:21 @grandoaksath - 38@AHSBulldogs - 10
(@KPRC2RandyMc @HTownHSS @alexradow @Coop_micah @ConroeISD @GrandOaksCISD @GOaksBooster) pic.twitter.com/upDQtTaxSi
Grand Oaks is 4-0 in its first varsity season. A lot of people didn't know how Grand Oaks would fair in its debut season but so far so good. Wins against Caney Creek (64-7), Klein Forest (56-36), Kingwood Park (56-21) and now Fort Bend Austin (69-10) has this program rolling. Through its first four games, Grand Oaks is averaging an impressive 61.25 points per game. The Grizzlies will look to keep it rolling next week against College Park.
"We have a bunch of kids that kind of play with a chip on their shoulder," Jackson said. "They feel like they've been overlooked a little bit. We realize we don't pass the eye test. When we come out for warmups you're probably looking at the other team going 'oh goodness'. But there's something to be said about kids that make their grades and come to school everyday and they're selfless and buy into the team concept."
The most recent program to have this kind of success in its inaugural season was Shadow Creek in 2018 in Class 5A Division II. The Sharks ended up going 15-1 in that year, falling short to Highland Park in the state title game.
The Wright Choice
TOUCHDOWN GRIZZLIES!! @GOaksFootball Seth Wright takes this opening kickoff to the HOUSE!! @grandoaksath strikes first.— vypehouston (@vypehouston) October 16, 2020
1st quarter - 11:47
Grand Oaks - 7
FB Austin - 0#txhsfb @HTownHSS @KPRC2RandyMc @KPRC2Ari @Coop_micah @grandoaksath @ConroeISD @TXHSFB @MaxPreps pic.twitter.com/MtcS1Euqfs
Early on in the season a lot of the talk around Grand Oaks has been about the talented running back Micah Cooper and deservingly so. But this offense has speed to burn by multiple people. Seth Wright opened the game with a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and then later took a pitch in from 87 yards, tip-toeing the sideline all the way to the house. In the third quarter, Wright added to his resume with a seven-yard receiving touchdown. So, by night's end Wright had a special teams, rushing and receiving score.
"It was great, that was my first kick return ever," Wright said. "I had all my teammates give good blocks. It was just great."
He has some speed. He isn't the biggest player in the world but he will burn you with his speed in the open field. He also shows patience as a rusher.
No Surprise Cooper
TOUCHDOWN GRIZZLIES: There goes that man again. @Coop_micah busts off an 82-yard touchdown run. His two TD runs have been for a total of 114 yards. #txhsfb— vypehouston (@vypehouston) October 16, 2020
2nd - 10:16@GOaksFootball - 24
FB Austin - 3
(@KPRC2Ari @HTownHSS @grandoaksath @alexradow @KPRC2RandyMc @GrandOaksCISD pic.twitter.com/TcLychUi76
No surprise here right? Micah Cooper, who entered the game with 552 yards rushing and seven touchdowns, didn't slow down. A 32-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and then an 82-yard touchdown run pushed him into his fourth-straight 100-yard rushing performance. Cooper brings a lot of elusiveness to the backfield. The way Grand Oaks runs its offense, which is a triple-option, he is always elusive no matter which way the play is going. Once he hits the open field he is gone.
At the half, Cooper had 149 yards and two scores on just four carries. That is flat-out ridiculous.
"The season has gone great because of the receivers and the offensive line," Cooper said. "Every run play was executed perfectly, like how we drew it up in practice. We busted our tails Monday, Tuesday and even Wednesday."
Defense Making the Plays
HALFTIME@grandoaksath - 38@AHSBulldogs -10#txhsfb@GOaksFootball has a pair of touchdowns from @Coop_micah & Seth Wright and a passing TD from @hudhamilton2023 | Defense has a FR and an interception by Gabriel Anzaldua pic.twitter.com/W0hKfMbN4L— vypehouston (@vypehouston) October 16, 2020
The Grand Oaks defense came up with some big plays in the win. Early on the Grizzlies forced a fumble and recovered it, which led to an eventual score. To end the half, with Fort Bend Austin driving, Gabriel Anzaldua picked off a pass by Braedon Abboud to end the half. To end the game, the defense came through again as Chris Vandenbergh picked off a pass and returned it for a score. Three defensive turnovers. The defense also only gave up one rushing touchdown and a field goal in the victory. The 10 points are the second-fewest the Grizzlies' defensive unit has given up. The lowest was just seven against Caney Creek in the season opener.
The Big Leg!
Grand Oaks' kicker Grant Nickel can boom the ball. On kickoffs he is either sending it through the end zone or FB Austin was taking it out from the two. On field goals, Nickel hit a pair of field goals from 24 and 21 yards in the game. He did miss one from 40-plus yards wide to the left. But this kid has a leg. Even on the miss from far, Nickel had plenty of distance to play with. He has a college-level leg the way he can kick the ball.