Houston Stratford: Allen sees athleticism

It seems as though the Houston Stratford team looks to continue building on their playoff runs that they have done for the past two seasons. Now with a newly reloaded team, the Spartans will not settle for anything less than a deep playoff push. But there are still a few unanswered questions. TexasPrepInsider talked with coach Eliot Allen to see how things finished up for spring over at Stratford.

Before Fort Bend Clements halted their efforts in the playoffs last year, the Houston Stratford football team expected to go deep into the playoffs. And while that is still the case for next year as well, coach Eliot Allen saw a few things this off-season that has him elated about 2008 season.

"I think that we will be a lot more athletic than we have ever been in years past. With the skilled positions, I think we have a lot of depth at running back. Our receivers will be pretty good, and out secondary may be the most athletic we have had since I have been here."

Defensively, Allen said that there is plenty of depth on the line and at linebacker, but the offense is going to have to grow up in a hurry. This could be because the Spartans have yet to name a starting quarterback.

But, on a positive note, both are sophomores so Allen has begun planning for the future now.

"On offense we have a couple of young quarterbacks who battled everyday (during spring ball). We really focused on that," Allen said. "They split time and they are still sitting about neck and neck. We'll just have to see what happens."

The battle is between Andrew Mitchell and Mark Benninger. Both of them are playing on the Stratford 7-on-7 team this summer. Though that is not the deciding factor, Allen said that will be a start in the evaluation.

But it won't be the last.

"They are going to have to come into camp next year and they'll pick up where they left off and finish," Allen said.

Another youngster who caught Allen's early eye was defensive tackle Richard Burge. In fact, he was one of the many highlights in the Spartans' spring workouts.

"I think I was most pleased about our defensive line because we had a couple of surprises there," Allen said. "Richard Burge was probably our biggest surprise on how he came on this spring."

With two back-to-back playoff appearances for Stratford, what are the expectations for next year? 

"We expect to be competitive and get into the playoffs and go far," Allen said. "I don't think anything changes on that. We just need to stay healthily so we will have a chance to be a playoff team. That is what we are battling for."

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