In its first varsity season, the Alvin Manvel Mavericks immediately showed their potential, staying in pursuit of a District 24-4A playoff berth until the final week. Wins over La Marque and Texas City were indicators that coach Kirk Martin's wide-open spread offense would have to be respected, while the Mavericks came within a play of upending eventual Region III champion Friendswood.
With 15 returning starters, the Mavericks (3-6, 3-4 in District 24-4A) must be considered a threat for not only a playoff spot, but the 24-4A title. Again, the key to success will come from the offense, where junior quarterback Dexter Foreman (6-3, 205) returns after throwing for 1,301 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2008. Foreman also ran for a team-best 296 yards and two scores and has established himself as one of the state's top signal callers in the Class of 2011.
Receivers Saquwan Edwards (6-2, 170), Xavier Reed (6-0, 165) and Chris Colwell (5-10, 170) all return, giving Foreman his top three receivers. There are high hopes for senior Mike Yarborough (6-2, 190), who showed big-play potential. Trevion Alexander (5-10, 200) will take the bulk of the carries, but Reed -- who averaged 12 yards per carry on 23 attempts -- will also factor in the ground attack.
Manvel welcomes back four starters on the offensive line, led by 6-2, 270-pounder Martin Pospisl. Joining him on the line will be Clint Weekly (6-2, 240), Cameron Schlegel (5-10, 250) and Bryce Barbabosa (6-1, 260).
A year of varsity play should give the seven returning starters on defense the confidence to elevate their game. Senior Sterling Diggs (5-11, 300) is the interior anchor of the Mavericks' 4-2-5 scheme. End Two Willis (6-3, 220) has drawn attention from college scouts with his potential as an edge rusher.
Junior Shaka Sterling (6-0, 190) will return at one of the linebacker spots, while seniors Sammy Mendez (6-0, 195) and Caleb Duff (5-10, 180) will also contribute. Promising defender Jeremy Ragland (5-10, 205) will also play linebacker, but could also see time in the secondary.
The secondary will be led by cornerback Forest Jones (6-1, 170) and safety Justin Luna (5-11, 165).
The element of surprise won't be in the Mavericks' favor this fall, but Manvel won't need it. With the exception of Angleton, the bulk of 24-4A will be in various stages of retooling, which should give the Mavericks the opening needed to secure a playoff berth.
BEST CASE: Foreman becomes a weekly highlight reel and an improved defense makes stops at critical junctures.
WORST CASE: The rest of 24-4A has long memories of what the Mavericks did to them in 2008.