Written by Angel Verdejo of the Houston Chronicle
IN PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
ENROLLMENT: 3,219.5 (4)
2014 RECORD: 14-2 6A Div. II State Finalist
THE COACH: Gary Joseph
THE PLAYERS: Kyle Porter (Sr., RB), Collin Wilder (Sr., DB), Travis Whillock (Sr., DB), Paddy Fisher (Sr., LB), JoVanni Stewart (Sr., LB). Corey Bethley (Jr., DL), Joey Woodring (Sr., DL), Tony Mullins (Sr., WR), Garrett Doiron (Sr., QB), Kyle Williams (Sr., RB), Cole Shannon (Sr., OL), Grant Jackman (Sr., WR)
THE WORD: Last year marked the third straight season Katy played for a state championship, doing so for the sixth time since 2007. But for the second year in a row, the Tigers came up short, losing to Cedar Hill again after beating the Longhorn in 2012. That's doesn't mean expectations change for the Tigers, especially with their tradition and - more importantly - who is returning. The defense will be loaded with experienced talent. DB Wilder (118 tackles, 3 INT) has started since his freshman year, while DB Whillock (83 tackles, 3 INT) and LBs Fisher (147 tackles, 6 sacks) and Stewart (84 tackles, 10 sacks) are all 3-year starters. Watch for DL Bethley, the district's top newcomer last season. RB Porter, who ran for 974 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2014, becomes the top back after sharing time with Rodney Anderson, now at Oklahoma. QB Doiron, who threw for 1,569 yards and 23 scores last year, brings balance to the run-heavy Tigers. The offense front will be young.
KATY CINCO RANCH COUGARS
ENROLLMENT: 3:256.2 (3)
2014 RECORD: 9-3 6A Div. I Area Finalist
THE COACH: Don Clayton
THE PLAYERS: Corey Rau (Sr., TE), Dami Ilesanmi (Sr., LB), Jesse Ehimare (Sr., DL), Russell Morrison (Sr., QB), Devion Johnson (Sr., RB), Ishan Rison (Sr., OL), Jacob Smith (Sr., DB), R.J. Clayborn (Jr., OL), J.T. McComas (Jr., OL), Austin Simmons (Sr., DB), Cole Rice (Sr., LB), Gustavo Torres (Sr., DL), Brandon Green (Sr., WR)
THE WORD: Well, one thing is quite obviously when looking at the Cinco Ranch Cougars - the program is as consistent as can be. The Cougars have missed the playoffs just once since 2004, including nine consecutive trips going into this fall. And when it comes to the standings, Cinco Ranch has finished second to rival Katy six years running. Could this year be a breakthrough season? If it is, the Cougars will have to grow up. That's especially the case with an offense that returns only two starters. The line has a chance to be solid behind OLs Rison, Clayborn and McComas, a massive anchor who should only get better. Add in TE Rau and his 6-foot-4, 243-pound frame as well. QB Morrison (952 yards passing in 2014) has big-play potential with both his arm and feet. The defense starts with DL Ehimare (45 tackles), an all-district pick who opens up space for teammates. That includes LB Ilesanmi (120 tackles) and DB Simmons, a smart player with a nose for the ball.
KATY SEVEN LAKES SPARTANS
ENROLLMENT: 3,765 (1)
2014 RECORD: 8-3 6A Div. I Bi-District Playoffs
THE COACH: Lydell Wilson THE PLAYERS: Bryan Moore (Sr., ATH), Bryan Sturges (Sr., DB), Kenneth Pleasant (Jr., OL), James Brown (Jr., ATH), Brock Sturges (So., RB), Alic Arnold (Sr., WR), Elliott Lege (Sr., DB), Any Garcia (Sr., RB), Cooper Campbell (Jr., OL)
THE WORD: Coach Wilson's career, which includes a state championship at Lamar Consolidated, already has two playoff appearances in three years with the Spartans. The lone miss was a 6-4 season. They have a chance make it back-to-back years, though a district that includes powerhouse Katy, playoff regular Cinco Ranch and upstart Katy Taylor should make it interesting. Seven Lakes, which returns plenty of experienced and talented skill players, will do its part. Leading that charge is ATH Moore, who coach says has a chance to finish with 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving. He finished with 1,671 combined yards as a junior. WR Arnold are both all-district performers, while ATH Brown and RB Sturges are the next in line. OLs Pleasant, a future big-time recruit, and Campbell started 11 games as sophomores. Leading the defense is Sturges, a honorable mention all-state pick last year who finished with six interceptions and 65 tackles.
KATY MAYDE CREEK RAMS
ENROLLMENT: 3,115 (5)
2014 RECORD: 2-8
THE COACH: Mike Rabe
THE PLAYERS: Jaylen Brown (Sr., DB), Damon Bryant (Sr., LB), Tyler Hanson (Sr., OL), Alex Brookins (Sr., DL), Donovan Lee (Sr., RB), Calvin Laskey (Sr., RB), Ezra Bentancud (Sr., LB), Christ Patton (Sr., DB), Nicholas Crawford (Sr., OL), Kameron Arredondo (Sr., DB), Kelton Mangrum (Sr., DB), Grant Pifer (Sr., WR), Anthony Alcoser (Jr., QB)
THE WORD: Rabe comes over from Waco Connally, taking over for Lance Carter, who had playoff appearances in his first two seasons but just 10 total wins in the six years that followed. Looking at Rabe's year-by-year records, Rams fans should love the fact that his previous two programs slowly built themselves into playoff contenders - Ganado went from 1-9 to consecutive nine-win campaigns, and Connally went from 0-10 to 16 wins his last two years. He'll build his 3-4 defense around five returning starters, led by DBs Brown, the top returner tackler, and Mangrum, LB Bryant and DL Brookins. On the offensive end, Rabe and his staff will install and multiple spread scheme. RB Lee should do his part, as the all-district picks has great speed. OL Hanson leads an offensive line that will need to grow up fast if the Rams are going to take a step.
KATY TAYLOR MUSTANGS
2014 RECORD: 8-4 6A Div. II Area Finalist
THE COACH: Trey Herrmann
THE PLAYERS: Kelan Winters (Sr., DB), Stephen Pilbeam (Sr., LB), Jacob Yohr (Sr., WR, Kale Johnson (Sr., LB), Carson Gillaspia (Sr., DL), Cameron Horry (Jr., TE), Ethan Beek (Jr., DB), Brad Vaile (Sr., TE), Trey Dupuis (Sr., LB), Rodney Rodriguez (Sr., OL), Andrew Plistil (Sr., OL), Brayten Kubecka (Sr., TE), Chris Rogers (Sr., OL)
THE WORD: Herrmann, who came over after two seasons at Alvin, quickly turned things and has the Mustang fans believing. It's easy to do that when you go from four total wins over three years to a 8-4 year and second-round playoff appearance. And the Mustangs could get better with 14 total starters back, including eight on the defensive side of the ball. The secondary does lose Rodney Clemons, now at SMU, but have another prize back there in Kelan Winters (25 tackles). He switched positions last season and should only improve with time. LB Pilbeam (62 tackles) will lead the unit, using a strong frame to go along with good speed. Johnson is a linebacker who can cover like a safety, while DL Gillaspia moves from linebacker and has a great motor.
KATY MORTON RANCH MAVERICKS
ENROLLMENT: 3,441 (2)
2014 RECORD: 4-6
THE COACH: Dave Meadows
THE PLAYERS: Kievan Boudreaux (Sr., LB), Dartavious Dixon (Sr., RB), Jon Martinez (Sr., OL), Henry Huff (Sr., DL), Mateo Alvarez (Sr., DB), Rashon Clark (Jr., OL), Nic Hernandez (Jr., ATH), Derek Faucette (Sr., OL), Gbenga Adedarian (Sr., DL), Elijah Dean (Sr., RB), Ryan Lopez (Sr., LB), Larry Anderson (Sr., LB), Sean Williams (Sr., LB)
THE WORD: Looking at his team's history means this season could be a good one for coach Meadows and his Mavericks, who have advanced to the playoffs in each of the last two odd-numbered years. Speed will definitely be in their favor, as is experience. Eleven total starters return this fall, including seven on offense. That starts up front with OLs Martinez, Faucette and Clark, a group coach describes as "strong and quick." That should equal space for RB Dixon, who has 4.4 speed and already has a 1,000-yard season under his belt. ATH Hernandez can play multiple positions and will work himself into the offense and watch for QB Austin Richardson, who fits the Mavericks' option scheme well. The defensive strength is at linebacker - Boudreaux averaged 14 tackles per game last year and plays sideline to sideline. In addition, LBs Lopez and Williams are back. Former quarterback Jacob Taul is expected to help in the secondary.
Houston STRAKE JESUIT CRUSADERS
ENROLLMENT: 1,872 (7)
2014 RECORD: 3-7
THE COACH: James Clancy
THE PLAYERS: Christian McStravick (Sr., WR), Zach Zubia (Sr.,QB), Braden Smith (Sr., OL), Andrew Eichelberger (Sr., TE), Evan Whaley (Sr., OL), Camden Andarsio (Sr., DB), John Lilly (Sr., DL), Troy Porche (Jr., DL), Kevin Graff (Sr., RB), Michael Purvey (Jr., RB), James Webster (So., TE/DL), Harry Longwell (Sr., OL), Tyler Johnson (Sr., LB)
THE WORD: Experience doesn't equal wins or playoff appearances, but it sure can bring hope - especially in the months leading into a season. That's where the Crusaders stand with nine starters back on the offensive side of the ball and seven on defense. Leading that offense could be a dangerous 1-2 punch in WR McStravick and QB Zubia. The 6-foot-4 McStravick (44 catches for 739 yards and nine touchdowns) is a big, physical target with speed and great hands. He led the district in receiving as a sophomore and junior. The sky is the limit for Zubia, coach says, who has a big arm and high football IQ. And don't forget about the 6-3 Eichelberger, who will be another mismatch for opponent. Smith, Whaley and Longwell hold down the front. DLs Lilly and Porche both earned all-district honors last year, while LB Johnson leads a solid back seven.
KATY TOMPKINS FALCONS
ENROLLMENT: 1,672 (8)
2014 RECORD: 0-10
THE COACH: Tony Tademy
THE PLAYERS: Hayden Smith (Sr., DB), Logan Murski (Sr., OL), Jordan Gregory (Sr., DB), Avery Williams (Sr., RB), Ryan Rake (Sr., QB), Brady Stephens (Sr., DL), Brandon Pinkerton (Jr., LB), A.J. Tademy (Jr., LB)
THE WORD: Katy ISD's newest school definitely is right in the middle of its growing pains, especially in a league that features one of the state's top programs (Katy) and a playoff regular (Cinco Ranch). The Falcons should improve with all 32 lettermen back and now a year older. The team lost their top playmaker in RB Christian Wallace, who transferred back to Sealy. Others to watch in the backfield are QB Rake and RB Williams, who combined great feet and speed. OL Murski will be counted on up front. On the other side of the ball, the secondary will be a strength behind DBs Smith, a sure tackler, and Gregory. LBs Pinkerton and Tademy have high football IQs.
If you enjoyed the detailed information on the District previews here on the site then purchase The Old Coach FNF Magazine to get the ENTIRE STATE all classifications with much more information on Texas High School football.
The Old Coach FNF Texas magazine is now available at traditional newsstand outlets and high school campuses statewide. The best way to receive the magazine is to purchase it online with orders being accepted now at this link: