Written by Angel Verdejo of the Houston Chronicle
IN PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
Houston LAMAR TEXANS
ENROLLMENT: 3,274 (2)
2014 RECORD: 10-2 6A Div. I Area Finalist
THE COACH: Tom Nolen
THE PLAYERS: Logan Latin (Sr., DB), Dixie Wooten (Sr., OL), James Bell (Sr., DB), Brian Bourgeois (Sr., OL), C.J. Fletcher (Jr., WR), Orlando Morris (Jr., LB), Owen Holt (Jr., QB), Leon Pinto (Sr., OL), D.J. Williams (Jr., RB), Giovanti Spain (Jr., OL), Jordan Stevens (Jr., DB), Tyvell Stokes (Jr., DB), Jalen Moy (Jr., WR), Carson Thomas (Jr., DB).
THE WORD: One of Houston's top football factories continues to reload despite wave after wave of talent moving on to the next level. That talent will be a little young - Lamar returns only six total starters. That includes just two back on defense. DBs Latin, Bell, Stokes and Thomas are the next in line for the Texans, who have sent five members of their secondary to major colleges in the last three years. Latin (4 INTs in 2014) was a first-team all-district pick as a junior. The front should be solid while LB Morris leads the second level. The offense will need to find a new backfield after graduating a district most valuable player, newcomer of the year and first-team pick. QB Holt has seen time on the field, while RBs Williams has a chance to fit in nicely. The offensive front will be solid behind OLs Wooten (6-5, 315), who is a Houston commit, Bourgeois (6-3, 265), Pinto (6-3, 270) and Spain (6-3, 260). Despite the youth, Lamar’s superior talent and depth will make them the odds on favorite in 20-6A.
HOUSTON BELLAIRE CARDINALS
ENROLLMENT: 3,667 (1)
RECORD: 7-4 6A Div. I Bi-District Playoffs
THE COACH: Trey Sissom
THE PLAYERS: Courtney Lark (Sr., WR), Nathan Lewis (Sr., RB), Terrence Franklin (Sr., WR), Kimel Beauman (Sr., DB), Donovan Stiner (Jr., LB), D'aundre Boyd (Sr., WR), Alex Duke (Jr., DL), Jackson Twyman (Jr., LB), Darrion Manning (So., QB)
THE WORD: The Cardinal offense scored the most points in program history a year ago and has a chance to stay at or near that level. But what could take them over the edge is defensive experience - eight starters are back on that side of the ball. It also helps getting reinforcements from a JV that went 6-2. DL Duke was a first-team all-district pick as a sophomore, while LBs Stiner and Twyman can both cover in space. DB Beauman, who has sprinter's speed, leads the secondary. The offense also has its x-factor in WR Lark, who caught 58 passes for 1,138 yards and 16 TDs a year ago. He committed to TCU in late January. Attention on him will leave space open for RB Lewis and WRs Franklin (42 catches for 613 yards in 2014) and Boyd (first-team all-district). Taking over the Cardinals' spread offense will be QB Manning, a dual-threat sophomore. If there’s one team with the combination of depth and talent to take down Lamar it’s the Cardinals. HOUSTON WESTSIDE WOLVES ENROLLMENT: 2,780 (4) 2014 RECORD: 4-7 6A Div. II Bi-District Playoffs THE COACH: Jomaul Masn THE PLAYERS: Jordan Elliot (Sr., DL), Bradley Anyagafu (Sr., DL), Elie Mukule (Sr., LB), LaDarian Jamison (Sr., WR), Donovan Carpenter (Sr., RB), DaGeneral Bellard (Jr., RB), Malik Guillory (Jr., LB), Lawrence Emmanuel (Sr., DB), David Crenshaw (Jr., WR), Josh Kiboko (Sr., TE), Jalen Williams (So., WR) THE WORD: The win total went down to four last season but the Wolves still reached the playoffs for a fourth-straight season. 2015 could be a rebound year for Coach Mason’s squad. The Wolves return 25 lettermen and eight starters on each side of the ball. At the same time, the district as a whole is trying to replace a number of impact players. That experience should help Westside, which has a chance to be special on defense. DLs Elliot and Anyagafu should give opposing offensive lines nightmares as they demand constant double teams. Elliot is one of the nation's best at his position and is drawing multiple FBS offers. That attention to the defensive line should leave plenty of opportunities for LB Mukule, a second-team all-district pick last season. Offensively, RBs Carpenter and Bellard should make a good 1-2 punch in the backfield. WR Crenshaw should make a nice-sized target downfield, while WR Williams could be the next in line at a program known for its receivers. Mason, a former defensive assistant took over late in the off-season after Mark Byrd left for Coldspring.
HOUSTON REAGAN BULLDOGS
ENROLLMENT: 2,197 (6)
2014 RECORD: 6-5 6A Div. II Bi-District Playoffs
THE COACH: Stephen Dixon
THE PLAYERS: Robert Revels (Sr., LB), KeLenn Davis (Sr., WR), Tommy O'Reilly (Sr., OL) Cederick Pickrom (Sr., DB), Treyvion Waldon (Sr., DB), Patrick Roberts (Sr., WR), Fred Cooper (Sr., ATH), Cody Roscoe (Jr., DL), Jarron Manning (Sr., OL), Jonathon Campos (Jr., LB), Cameron L'Herault (Jr., OL), Joshua Reed (So., LB)
THE WORD: The move up to the state largest classification didn't stop the Bulldogs from reaching the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season, which is now the longest streak in the program's long 106-year history. The good news for Bulldog fans is there's more depth, more athleticism and more team speed across the board. The not-so-good news is there are holes to fill as talented former Bulldogs dot college rosters. The cupboard isn’t quite bare, starting with LB Revels, who combines a 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame with good speed. He leads a defense that returns six starters and will carry the team while a young offensive unit finds its legs. DB Pickrom is a versatile defender, while DB Waldon can get after the quarterback and is a sure tackler. Watch for LB Reed, a young-but-solid player. Whoever takes over under center will have weapons with RB Cooper and WRs Davis and Poberts. OL O'Reilly is solid up front. “We will be young in some spots, but we like our team,” said Coach Dixon.
HOUSTON CHAVEZ LOBOS
ENROLLMENT: 3,027 (3)
2014 SEASON: 4-6
THE COACH: Cory Jiles
THE PLAYERS: Juwan Duckworth (Sr., RB), Michael Hernandez (Sr., OL), Delshawn Allen (Sr., DB), Jeremy Owens (Sr., DL), Davaziea Wilson (Jr., QB), Joshua Menifee (Jr., TE), Oscar Garcia (Sr., DL), Aaron Lara (Sr., DL), Justin Cofield (Sr., RB), Derrick Smith-Jones (Sr., DB), Kevonte Shepard (Sr., WR), Alvaro Alanis (Jr., OL), Stephon Ashby (So., DB)
THE WORD: The Lobos, known affectionately by their alter ego “Blue Dogs” who haven't reached the postseason since 2010, have been knocking on the door. In each of the last two seasons, they were one game away, last year a loss in Week 11 to Reagan ended the playoff hopes for CHS. An experienced team in 2014 could make the difference. In all, 19 lettermen are back, with six starters returning on offense and another seven back on defense. The offense will have to find a No. 1 back - all-state workhorse Nicholas Pelrean is now at Texas A&M-Kingsville. RB Duckworth, a second-team all-district pick a year ago, moves up the ladder. OL Hernandez was a first-teamer and has the frame (6-4, 295) to be a solid anchor up front. OL Alanis and TE Menifee (6-4, 230) should help as well. QB Wilson combines good size and speed. On the other side, DL Owens, Garcia and Lara lead the way up front. DB Ashby is young but has a chance to be special.
HOUSTON WESTBURY HUSKIES
ENROLLMENT: 2,113.5 (7)
2014 RECORD: 3-7
THE COACH: Ajani Sanders
THE PLAYERS: Jonathan Pecina (Sr., OL/DL), Roy Lewis (Sr., QB), Deungray Prince (Sr., WR), Myles Stennis (Jr., RB), Sammy Khalil (Jr., OL), Joshua Nwuba (Sr., DL), Oshea Clements (So., DB), Isaiah McCloud (Sr., LB), Justin Wooden (Sr., DB)
THE WORD: Expect plenty of change with the Huskies, who themselves go into their second season with a new nickname. George Campbell is out after five seasons and in comes Ajani Sanders, who comes over from Houston Scarborough where he did lead the Spartans to the playoffs, but not without seeing the program's lengthy losing streak extend. Before that, Sanders, a former Notre Dame defensive back, spent two years as a Klein Collins assistant. Pecina was a first-team all-district pick last year, while Khalil and Lewis were both second-team selections. But it's likely to be a fresh start for the Huskies, expect an open competition heading into the season at nearly every position. That could help things turn, but it's going to be an easy road for the Huskies as several younger players must make an impact quickly if they want to make a surprise playoff push.
HOUSTON MILBY BUFFALOES
ENROLLMENT: 2,105 (8)
2014 RECORD: 3-7
THE COACH: Phil Camp
THE PLAYERS: Moses Fleming (Sr., RB/DL), Demarcus Bryant (Jr., LB), Brandon Young (Jr., QB), Joseph Salazar (Sr., WR), Adonte Borne (Jr., WR), Elias Villarreal (Jr., OL), Ethan Duron (So., DB)
THE WORD: On one hand, the Buffaloes don't have the numbers as many of their opponents - Milby is the state's smallest 6A football school that is not new (Katy Tompkins) or private (Houston Strake Jesuit). But what long time HC Phil Camp is banking this fall is time in the system. He'll return five starters on each side of the ball, and reinforcements coming from a JV that had a winning record. Fleming, who missed most of last season, will be a four-year starter at both running back and defensive end. If he can show the college scouts he’s 100% healthy he could have several FBS schools taking a look. Fleming will line up next to QB Young, who started six games and combined for 1,600 yards of offense. Salazar is the top returning receiver, and teams with the 6-foot-1 Borne to give the spread offense options. On the other side, watch for LB Bryant, who had 87 tackles last season while also spending time at quarterback and running back. Making the playoffs will still be tough in this top-heavy district.
HOUSTON Sam Houston TIGERS
ENROLLMENT: 2,677 (5)
2014 RECORD: 1-9
THE COACH: Larkay James
THE PLAYERS: Michael Green (So., QB), Lennard Robinson (Sr., DB), Kennard Robinson (Sr., DB), Carlton Prejean (Sr., DL), Keith Brown (Sr., DL), Mario Reveles (Jr., LB)
THE WORD: Making headway that includes powerhouse Lamar and playoff regular Bellaire is tough for the rest of this HISD league, but even more so for the Tigers, who have just three wins - none in district play - since restoring the program in 2010. They enter 2015 on a 27-game losing streak. The Tigers will be young, returning just three starters on offense and the same amount on defense. But coach says work in the offseason could help turn things around. QB Green has nice size and combines great speed with a strong arm. The offense will go as he goes. On the other side, DLs Prejean (6-5, 270) and Brown anchor the front. Prejean is also a mismatch as a receiving TE. DBs Lennard and Kennard Robinson both play basketball and can use their successful run to the region semifinals to lead their teammates.
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