Houston Area 4A Countdown: Houston Wheatley

The No. 18 team in the Houston area 4A countdown is the Houston Wheatley Wildcats, who look to make another dash to the postseason this fall. The preview is for TPI premium subscribers, who can find out why this team is one to watch for.

Eldridge Small will once again have one the Houston area's more competitive teams as the Wheatley Wildcats will be on the hunt for yet another playoff berth.

Despite the loss of RB Marc Woods and WR Cornelious Robertson, Wheatley's offense will be loaded. QB Eddie Williams took control of the reigns as a sophomore and threw 11 touchdowns; the junior should be able to improve a completion percentage that hovered under 50 percent.

The strength of the Wildcats will be in their three-pronged ground game, which brings back three of its top four runners. Javorie Liggins will handle the bulk of the carries, while Willie Harris and Roderick Johnson will also get considerable touches. Johnson averaged more than seven yards per carry in ‘06. WR John Boutte is now the featured wideout, having averaged 20 yards per catch and six touchdowns as a junior.

Leonard Anderson, Kevin Andrews and Kendrick Shorts give the Wildcats three experienced members of an offensive line that helped Wheatley average 300 yards per game last season.

The offense will have to carry the Wildcats in the early going as Small looks to replace a defensive unit that lost six players that earned all-district 19-4A honors. Wheatley does get Irvin Flanagan, who earned an all-district nod, back to the defensive line. Small is confident that DE Marshall Williams will evolve into a productive player as a junior.

The Wildcats will have a lot of youth dominating the back seven, and how they develop will determine if Wheatley will be more balanced or become a offensive-minded team that will have to outscore opponents every Friday.

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