The Houston Westside Wolves exceeded expectations last fall, winning the District 20-5A championship and advancing to the Region III area round. Despite the loss of head coach Lance Carter, new head man Mark Byrd welcomes back 25 lettermen and 13 starters from a 10-2 team that is capable of bigger things.
OFFENSIVE BACKS/RECEIVERS: Any conversation of the best quarterbacks in the region had better have Michael Goodnight involved in it. The 6-5, 230-pound senior accounted for more than 2,500 yards of offense and 23 touchdowns last fall and returns to run the Wolves' spread attack. At least a dozen major Division I programs are interested in Goodnight, who also projects as a top-tier baseball prospect. Three of Goodnight's receivers return, with Mike Smith (34-500-6) slated as the go-to guy. Kevin Brooks and Brandon Mabley also come back along with Armin Jackson, while junior Dontrey Dukes adding more big-play potential at running back.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Four members of the district's top offensive line come back, led by senior guard Andrew Ellis and senior tackle Phillip Oaks. Nate Jackson is the anchor of the line at center, while Will Allen's versatility is valuable across the unit.
DEFENSIVE LINE: Tackles James Eckford (a first-team all-district performer), Kevin Ogden and Joel Barnett give the Wolves depth, but the team will need some time to further add experience at the end spot. The team is counting on Hunter Eaton to provide production at end.
LINEBACKERS: Michael Burch is another all-district player the Wolves can count on defensively. Reggie Dunnigan is also a returning starter. Both will get help in the form of seniors Gabe Grady, Treyian Norris and Tony Ohomba.
SECONDARY: Safety Albert Fontenot is the only returning starter.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Jorge Rivas is an all-district performer who delivered in the clutch several times last season and is the district's best at his position.
OVERALL: A playoff spot is a given. Few teams in the area will be able to match the Wolves' firepower, especially when Goodnight is in tune. The showdown against Lamar will likely decide the 20-5A title again as the two schools are developing one of the best new rivalries in the Houston area.