Dickinson earned its second district title in three years in 2021 and is looking for another gold trophy. The Gators are set to do so but it won’t be easy.
Clear Falls and Clear Springs are poised for dominant campaigns as well. Keep an eye on the fourth and final playoff spot in 24-6A. It could come down to a battle of attrition between three teams: Clear Lake, Clear Creek and Brazoswood. Clear Brook also won’t be a slouch.
Top to bottom, 24-6A is one of the more competitive districts in the Greater Houston area.
PREVIOUS DISTRICT PREVIEWS (2022)
Clear Falls Knights
Clear Springs Chargers
Clear Lake Falcons
Clear Creek Wildcats
Clear Brook Wolverines
VYPE PRESEASON AWARDS
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: David Smith, Clear Falls
OFFENSIVE MVP:Xai’Shaun Edwards, Clear Springs
DEFENSIVE MVP:VJ Glover, Dickinson
BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR:John Solomon Jr., Dickinson
SLEEPER TEAM:Clear Creek
The Gators look primed to repeat as district champs, returning 10 starters (6 defense) from a 9-3 Area finalist. Coach John Snelson said defense will be the strength of his bunch, and for good reason. Dickinson is loaded in the secondary with senior three-year starter and TCU-commit DB VJ Glover, senior DB Jabari Ellison (81 tackles) and junior DB Diego Sanchez (60 tackles, 2 INTs). Up front, senior DL Tre Ford and junior DL Ja’Marcus Anderson will handle business, while the linebacking corps is solid with senior Layden Roque, junior Jontue Fears and senior Kaleb Walker. Offensively, the Gators are potent on the perimeter with senior WR and Missouri-commit Marquis Johnson (220 yards, 3 TDs receiving; 125 yards, TD rushing) and senior DeRion Crooms (364 yards, 4 TDs). The question is who is going to get them the ball? Keep an eye on junior ATH John Solomon Jr. (487 yards, 9 TDs rushing; 266 yards, TD passing) to possibly take the reins at QB. Sophomore 6-foot-3, 200-pound TE Jeremiah Scoby and sophomore OL Tyler Thomas figure into plans, as well as junior RB Malachi McNair and junior FB Izaak Arias. Snelson said youth is a concern.
CLEAR FALLS KNIGHTS
The Knights return 10 starters (6 offense) from a 9-2 Bi-District playoff finalist. Coach Zach Head said the strengths will be the O-line, RBs, CBs, LBs and QB. Inexperience at safety and depth, or a lack thereof, in the trenches on both sides of the ball are concerns. Leading the way for Clear Falls will be senior 6-foot-2, 180-pound CB/WR Max Williams (7 pass breakups, INT), who will see extensive time on both sides of the ball; senior 6-foot-4, 215-pound OLB/TE Corey Kelly (71 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 7 pass breakups); senior RB David Smith (1,569 yards, 18 TDs), who is already the Knights’ all-time leading rusher; senior 6-foot, 180-pound DB/QB Cam Roberson (870 yards, 7 TDs passing; 239 yards, 3 TDs rushing), who will play both ways; junior 6-foot-2, 185-pound QB Landon Vessel (947 yards, 7 TDs); junior OL Jude Edwards, who has started every game since freshman year; senior CB/ WR Josh Moore; junior 6-foot-4, 215-pound DE Le’Kell McGowan; junior RB/WR Payton Greer (650 yards, 8 TDs rushing); sophomore 6-foot-3, 275-pound OL Jacob Lockstein; and junior OL Skylar Luzader. Clear Falls is going to be a problem this season.
CLEAR SPRINGS CHARGERS
Fourteen starters return from a 7-5 Area finalist, so keep an eye on Clear Springs (2020 district champs) to make a run at its second district title in three years. The Chargers have a slew of difference-makers in senior 6-foot-3, 240-pound DL Serigne Tounkara, senior 6-foot-4, 275-pound OL Nick Fattig (57 pancakes, 0 sacks allowed), senior 6-foot-6, 230-pound TE Hayden Davis (28 pancakes), senior 6-foot-3, 185-pound WR Ashton Schumann (558 yards, 4 TDs), junior 6-foot-5, 280-pound OL Blake Ivy (31 pancakes), junior RB Xai’Shaun Edwards (1,621 yards, 15 TDs), senior DB Keelan Morgan (49 tackles, 5 fumbles caused, 4 fumble recoveries, 2 INTs, 9 pass breakups), junior 6-foot-3, 210-pound OLB Michael Sylvalie (39 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 fumbles caused, 2 fumble recoveries) and senior DL Branson Winter (37 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 3 sacks). That’s a lot of talent. It’d also be wise to keep an eye on sophomore 6-foot-3, 185-pound WR Muizz Tounkara and senior 6-foot-3, 215-pound Jackson Ehlers.
CLEAR LAKE FALCONS
The Falcons went through a serious youth movement last season as 14 sophomores started at one point or another. They hope the pains of 2021 grows into pleasure in 2022. Fifteen starters (8 defense) return from that 4-6 team, led by junior 6-foot-3, 220-pound QB Devin Lippold (354 yards, 4 TDs) and junior RB Elijah Harris (826 yards, 6 TDs) on offense, and junior 6-foot, 185-pound DB Damani Maxson and junior LBs 6-foot-1, 210-pound Cecil Dressendorfer (85 tackles) and Tyler Best (88 tackles). Keep an eye on dynamic 6-foot-1, 175-pound junior two-way talent Hunter Moddon and senior WR Rodney Searles.
CLEAR CREEK WILDCATS
The Wildcats are hoping to make it four consecutive years as playoff participants. They’ll certainly have the experience. Clear Creek returns 15 starters (9 defense) from a 3-8 team. Senior RB Rocky Ketchum (981 yards, 6 TDs) will be the rock on the offense, running behind senior 6-foot-3, 260-pound OL Campbell Melcher en route to many, many touchdowns. The Wildcats will have to figure out who will be handing him the ball, however. Junior Bryson Drake and senior 6-foot-3, 170-pound Dante Frederick are expected to compete for the job in fall camp. Defensively, Creek could be a monster. Junior S Cah’lil Ward and senior DB Landen Gunter are the anchors of a talented secondary. Also look out for senior CB Stephen Jurbala, senior LB Dylan Russo, junior CB Quinton Gray, senior LB Isaiah Thomas and senior DB Denis Anderson. That’s a lot of talented depth in the secondary. If Clear Creek can find a consistent pass-rush, it’ll be in business.
Joe Dale Cary is the new man in charge of the Bucs. His mission? Revive a program that hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2012. Should not be a problem for Cary, who comes over after leading Hondo to the postseason each of the last two seasons. He’ll also have plenty to work with as 15 starters return from a 4-6 team. Senior 6-foot-2, 185-pound WR Kade Bengston and senior QB Isaac Ponce (1,105 yards, 11 TDs) give the Bucs some athletic, dynamic playmaking. Senior 6-foot-3, 270-pound OL Dawson Scott is a rock up front. Defensively, Brazoswood is not as experienced as the offense but still has some tools. Senior LBs Croix Rivera and Ronnie Jones will anchor the unit. The 6-foot-1 Rivera bringing length and size and the 215-pound Jones adding physical toughness and strength.
CLEAR BROOK WOLVERINES
Clear Brook is under new leadership after Deer Park defensive coordinator Patrick Sanders was named head coach in late June. Sanders takes over a program that returns 11 starters (6 defense) from a 3-6 team and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2018. Sanders doesn’t have long to exert his ways but he will have some talented pieces to build around, starting with gifted senior WR Michael Lewis (859 yards, 8 TDs) and senior DB Jaylen Price (42 tackles, 5 INTs). The Wolverines are steady on the offensive front with junior 6-foot, 242-pound Jude Effinger and junior 6-foot-4, 250-pound Charles Holt. The QB spot is an unknown. In all, there is a substantial amount of youth and inexperience dotting the roster
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Shadow Creek has owned District 23-6A since it started up its varsity football program four years ago. It’ll be hard for anyone to take down the Sharks this year but there will be plenty of suitors.
It starts with Pearland and new coach B.J. Gotte, fresh off leading Katy Paetow to the Class 5A-DI State Title.
It continues with Pearland Dawson, which returns a lot of firepower to also take its shot at the crown. District 23-6A football figures to be a fun ride this year, with fresh blood on the sidelines and plenty of talent to go around.
PREVIOUS DISTRICT PREVIEWS (2022)
Shadow Creek Sharks
Pearland Dawson Eagles
Strake Jesuit Crusaders
Alief Taylor Lions
VYPE PRESEASON AWARDS
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Duke Butler, Shadow Creek
OFFENSIVE MVP:Bryce Fucik, Strake Jesuit
DEFENSIVE MVP:Maurice Williams, Shadow Creek
BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR:Jackson Hamilton, Pearland
SLEEPER TEAM:Alief Taylor
SHADOW CREEK SHARKS
In its four years as a varsity football program, Shadow Creek has been district champion three times. This year likely won’t prove any different, as the Sharks return 13 starters (7 defense) from a 9-3 Area finalist. The offense is high-powered thanks to senior 6-foot-1, 170-pound QB Duke Butler (1,891 yards, 29 TDs), junior RB Tylik Burton (760 yards, 8 TDs), senior RB Felix Buchanan (401 yards, 6 TDs) and senior ATH Jacob Washington (162 yards, TD). Sophomore WR Jacorey Watson could make an immediate impact for a thin receiving corp. But it’s defense where Shadow Creek will shine, led by senior DE and Washington State-commit Theorin Randle (11 tackles for loss, 5 sacks), junior 6-foot-2 DE Zion Taylor (8 tackles for loss, 4 sacks), senior LB Robert Edmonson Jr. (77 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 2 INTs) and junior 6-foot-2, 185-pound DE Maurice Williams (47 tackles, INT), an LSU-commit. Coach Brad Butler said senior leadership is a strength this year while he will need new starters at key positions to mature quickly.
The Oilers are under new leadership in B.J. Gotte, who led Katy Paetow to the Class 5A-DI State Title last year. Gotte, a Katy native, came to Pearland for its tradition and homey, small-town feel, where the Oilers are the big game in town every Friday night. He has a chore on his hands in Pearland, which has not made it past the Area playoffs since 2013. But Gotte does have talent as nine starters (6 offense) return from last year’s 7-4 Bi-District finalist. Leading the way is sophomore 5-11, 170-pound QB Jackson Hamilton (232 yards, 3 TDs), son of Houston Texans OC Pep Hamilton. Hamilton is ideal for Gotte’s multiple pro-style attack, and he will have weapons in senior RB Kennedy Lewis (552 yards, 7 TDs), senior WR Christian Pitts (331 yards, 3 TDs) and senior WR Aiden Glasper (223 yards, 3 TDs). The defense is led by senior 6-foot-2, 200-pound LB Zander Winter (65 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 5 sacks), junior DB Ashton Hampton (25 tackles, 2 INTs) and senior DL Abraham Diaz (11 tackles, sack). Keep an eye on newcomers like sophomore RB LaDamion McDowell, junior DL Wesley Willingham, junior DL Jaden Wincher and senior LB Andre Duke. Gotte said concerns are both lines and safety play. The strengths are the offensive skill positions, cornerbacks and linebackers.
PEARLAND DAWSON EAGLES
After a dominant 10-1 2020 season, Dawson finished 8-4 last year with a team that returned five starters (one on defense). Not too shabby for what was supposed to be a reloading year. Now 13 starters (7 defense) return and the Eagles could be a darkhorse to make some serious noise in 2022. Dawson has some serious firepower in the dynamic duo of senior 6-foot-3, 185-pound QB Colin Johnson (1,955 yards, 17 TDs) and junior RB Bryce Burgess (1,423 yards 16 TDs). They combined for 33 of the Eagles’ 42 offensive TDs last season. Defensively, an experienced unit is anchored by senior 6-foot-1, 220-pound LB Jackson Cody (15 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, INT) and aided by the playmaking of senior 6-foot-1, 305-pound DL Chris Herpin and junior 6-foot-6, 220-pound DL Edward Smith (8 tackles for loss, 6 sacks), each of whom has no problem getting to the quarterback.
STRAKE JESUIT CRUSADERS
After missing the playoffs, the last two seasons, this could be the year Strake Jesuit, which returns 10 starters (6 offense) from a 4-6 team, gets back in. The Crusaders have one of the more prolific performers in the district in senior 6-foot, 175-pound QB Bryce Fucik (2,548 yards, 29 TDs passing: 211 yards, 4 TDs rushing). He makes the Crusaders go. But Fucik will need help to make the final four of a rough and rugged district. So, keep an eye on senior 6-foot-4, 220-pound TE Chico Holt (213 yards, 4 TDs in 8 games), a Northwestern-commit, and senior WR Bryce Lanier (316 yards, 16 yards per catch, 3 TDs). Defensively, Strake Jesuit will be paced by senior 6-foot, 185-pound LB Jake Jongebloed (59 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 6 sacks) and junior 6-foot, 230-pound DL Jackson Priesmeyer (49 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 4 sacks).
ALVIN YELLOW JACKETS
Coach James Gage expects the offense to be a strength this year as it enters year No. 4 in his flex-bone system. The Yellow Jackets averaged 13 more points per game last year compared to 2020 (23.3 to 10.2), and Gage expects to see more considerable progress this season. Senior 6-foot-2, 200-pound FB DayShawn Peterson (1,200 yards, 12 TDs) and senior 6-foot-1, 175-pound RB Cole Erndt (450 yards, 4 TDs) are entering their third year as starters and are the rocks behind the running attack. The line will be steadied by RT Finn Madding. Defensively, Alvin will be led by senior CB Gio Gutierrez (25 tackles, 3 pass breakups) and senior DL Eddie Parker (30 tackles, 3 sacks). Keep an eye on senior S Sear Lomeli, junior K Austin Hill and junior RB Ezaiah Vaughans to make some noise as well. Gage said depth and special teams are concerns for a team that returns 13 starters (7 offense) from a 4-6 team.
ALIEF TAYLOR LIONS
Taylor returns 10 starters (7 defense) from a 6-5 Bi-District finalist. It will be a bit of a reloading year for the Lions. The offense will be built around senior QB Chase Jenkins (1,800 yards, 17 TDs-1 INT) - a Rice-commit - and senior 6-foot-2, 165-pound WR Bricen Brantley (539 yards, 7 TDs). Jenkins is also the team’s top returning rusher, having gained 695 yards for seven TDs on the ground last season. Defense will have to carry Taylor, at least early in the season. The front is formidable with 6-foot-5, 205-pound senior DE Collins Simpson (37 tackles, 3 sacks) and 6-foot-1, 245-pound senior NT Samuel Robles (26 tackles, 3 tackles for loss) running around. Robles is versatile enough to play any position on the line, and he figures to play some tight end as well. Watch for sophomore LB Collin Germany, senior WR Terrence Naulings, junior WR Brandon Barrera and senior DB Aaron McCardell to have opportunities to make their names known this year.
Elsik has not made the playoffs since 2015 and has only eight wins over the last six seasons. But it’s a fresh start for the Rams as alum Shea Rodriguez takes over a program that returns 17 starters (9 offense) from a 1-9 team. Junior ATH Eric Dadzie Jr. is the centerpiece of an experienced offense. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder rushed for 807 yards and 7 TDs last year while throwing for 407 yards and 2 TDs. He could find himself at QB this year after playing all over the field last season. The O-line is in good shape behind senior Oke Akpoborie and Amara Sylla. Junior 6-foot-3, 200-pound DL Adeyini Adewola and sophomore LB Sam Marcelin headline the defense. Keep an eye on senior two-way dynamo Arik Dennis, senior DE Richard Alvarado, senior ATH Anthony Calderon and junior TE Tony Pretzantzin.
Hastings is hoping to avoid a fourth consecutive year of not making the playoffs. The Bears have only made the playoffs twice since 2014. Eleven starters (8 offense) return from a 1-9 team. The offense is in good shape with junior RB Jae’Don Webster and a tough, physical and big OL of junior 6-foot-2, 325-pound Tristan Shandy, junior 6-foot-4, 255-pound Darian Snell and junior 6-foot-3, 260-pound Pablo Membreno. Keep an eye on senior 6-foot-3, 200-pound QB Victor Mbajiofor and sophomore 6-foot-2, 147-pound WR Triston Brooks to make some noise on offense. Both are physical, athletic talents. The defense is young and inexperienced and will need more time to gel early on. Senior LB Deundre Willis (89 tackles), junior LB Reece Bender (43 tackles, 2 sacks) and senior CB Kingsley Okafor are the anchors. The Bears are hoping having their first full offseason in two years leads to immediate results
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