Wharton, Sweeny, Washington have eyes on District 11-4A-DII title
Last season was a big year for the Wharton Tigers. A big one. For the first time since 2003, Wharton captured the district championship and made its first playoff appearance since 2016. The Tigers are the favorites in the district followed by Sweeny.
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(Bold Denotes Playoff Teams)
VYPE PRESEASON AWARDS
Donovan Krushall, Wharton
Demarcus Nelson, La Marque
Trey Fields, Sweeny
BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Armond Robinson, La Marque
Heading into last season, Wharton hadn't won a district championship in 14 years but had finished as runner-up seven times. No more runner-ups in Wharton. The Tigers went 5-0 in district play to claim the title. Head coach Chad Butler is going in to 2019 with QB Donovan Krushall (2,391 passing yards, 28 passing TDs) leading the offense and outstanding DE JaShawn Nickerson (94 tackles) leading the way for the defense. The Tigers have several talented starters returning and have a chance to win back-to-back district crowns for the first time since the 2002-2003 campaigns.
The Bulldogs had a strong 2018 season finishing with an overall record of 10-2 and 4-1 in district, but fell one game short of a district championship. Sweeny fell a field goal short, losing to Wharton 17-15. Head coach Randy Lynch had a talented defense last season (giving up an average of 96.6 yards per game in the regular season). Lynch expects more of the same in 2019 with defensive playmakers LB Trey Fields (77 Tackles, 3 sacks, 3 INTs) and DL Logan Page (29 tackles, 4 sacks) returning. Sweeny will need to find an answer in the running game after losing 1,000-yard rusher Cameron Adams to graduation. Justice Clemons could make some noise at the receiver position after registering 15 grabs for 348 yards last year.
Houston Washington was a tale of two teams in 2018. On offense, the Eagles had the second-best unit averaging 317.5 yards per game. On defense, they gave up a district-worst 429.9 yards per game. Last season, Washington got into the playoffs with a 2-3 mark and finished 3-8 overall. With some solid weapons back on offense, they could make some noise. Glen Hogan (895 yards) and Bobby Betts (829 yards) return as a solid one-two punch. Also watch for receiver Israel Viser and two-way player Marletto Johnson. The Eagles have anchors on the offensive line in Tremaine Lemons and Lavar English. Phillip Kent enters his second season at the helm and has 14 starters back to help continue the build-out.
La Marque Cougars
Consistency has been a staple of La Marque's reputation the past few seasons, not to mention decades. The Cougs have been a power program dating back to the mid-1980s as they have five state titles to show for their success. Finishing third last year clinched the program's ninth-straight playoff appearance. Coach Shone Evans is heading into this second season with the Cougars and returns 12 starters. Youth will lead this team as sophomore Armond Robinson and junior DeMarcus Nelson will be the tandem in the backfield at quarterback and running back. Nelson rushed for 182yards last year. Defensively, Jacobe Wagner (83 tackles) returns to lead the charge.
The Kashmere Rams are heading into the 2019 season after a tough year in 2018 that saw the Rams win one game. The Rams have a new leader of the team with the hiring of James Laster as their new head coach. He replaces legendary coach Garry Dunham, who was the beacon for the community. The Rams have 12 starters returning and among those returning starters are impactful players Donald Thomas (LB/RB) and Ty'Colbiy Houston (TE/DE). Before the season starts, Laster has a decision to make at the QB position between Christopher Nathan (808 yards, 4TDs passing) and Daniel Limbrick (413 yards, 2 TDs passing). They will play a big role in turning the Rams around in 2019. Also watch for Damonte Boyd (391 yards) at the wide-out position.
Scarborough is looking to change the culture starting this season. The Spartans have failed to win more than one game since the 2007 season. Second-year coach Gary Howard returns 12 starters to hopefully turn the tide. Players to watch include Payton Joseph (RB), Patrick Johnson (OL/DL/DE/FB), Deandre Howard (WR), Kenny Dordies (WR), Danny Hernandez (OL/DL) and Jose Hernandez (QB)