District 22-4A 2009 Outlook

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Predicted Order of Finish (Division I teams all CAPS) 
1. Houston Jones
2. Houston Furr
3. HOUSTON WHEATLEY
4. Houston Worthing
5. HOUSTON STERLING
6. Houston B.T. Washington
7. Houston Kashmere
8. Houston Scarborough


Quick 2008 recap (season finish)
It was the Houston Jones (7-3) versus Houston Furr (6-4) that decided the 22-4A crown and the Falcons came out on top. Though each had solid regular seasons, both lost in bi-district rounds (Jones fell 27-6 to Yates; Furr lost 51-33 to Sharpstown). Wheatley (3-6, lost to Westbury 42-21) and Worthing (4-6, lost to Davis 13-6) were eliminated in similar fashions. 

Kashmere (3-5), Sterling (3-5) B.T. Washington (2-7), and Scarborough (0-8) all finished well below.500 and failed to make it to the postseason. There are two things that stick out in reference to this district: One, is that most of these squads have a solid number of returning starters and two, all have surprisingly low enrollment numbers for 4A competition, especially for football. This disparity becomes known when these teams get into the post season play against larger schools.

2009 Breakdown
Once again, it looks as though Jones will run the table in the district and it all starts from a leadership standpoint with nine returning starters. From the shotgun, quarterback Aaron Taylor (5-9, 170) is back after a huge junior season. Taylor threw for over 2,200 yards and 24 touchdowns. Ha added another three rushing touchdowns and led the Falcon team that averaged over 27 points a game. 

Taylor will have some help wide receivers Musa Mahmud (6-2, 185) and Michael Holmes (6-1, 185), who doubles on defense. Mahmud caught 10 passes and Holmes had 12 catches and the two combined for 3 offensive touchdowns. On defense, Holmes is equally valuable after snagging three interceptions, returning two for touchdowns with 61 tackles. Lineman Lonnie Wilson (6-3, 215) will hold down the middle.

Last year's runner up, Furr, returns 12 starters but there is some excitement building up with coach Cornell Gray's boys. Defensively the team should reload, and should after giving up over 24 points a game in 2008. Of course that starts with experienced linebacker Frankie White (5-11, 210). On offense, quarterback Rocky Duplant (6-0, 195) takes over after limited action as a sophomore. He and running back Jarvis Milton (5-9, 185) should be able to fuel the offensive attack, but there are big shoes to fill.

If it wasn't for offensive woes, Wheately could easily be in the No. 2 spot in the district running. One concern may be that the squad averaged only 223 yards a game. And even though they return six starters on that side the ball, production may still be a concern. Wide receiver Traveon Kelly (5-10, 175) will be back and will be the Wildcats' primary playmaker. On defense, underclassmen run the show, led by linebacker Delvante Franks (6-0, 210).

Really, after looking things over, there is no reason to think that Worthing could not actually move up a spot in the district rankings. The Colts bring back 11 starters, including running back Arthur Jackson (6-0, 200). After a 1,512-yard rushing season, he will be the fire needed to get the Colts back to the postseason.

It's evident that there is a youth movement going on at Sterling as coach Dwayne Colbert returns 15 starters from last year's 3-5 team. Keep an eye on quarterback Darnelle Jones (5-10, 170) and running back Kenneth Duckworth (5-9, 175). These two will likely get the ball rolling, which is needed after a dismal offensive showing in 2008.

Washington may return 15 starters, but there may be some offensive issues here as well. For one, wide receiver William Waddel (6-4, 190) is back for his senior season, will the passing game improve for the Eagles? It's a wait-and-see situation, but for sure it will take more than what was produced in 2008 (700 yards, three touchdowns, 13 interceptions). Then too, running back Charles Cooper (5-10, 200) could have a breakout year.

Quarterback Darrell Ned (6-2, 215) is back for the Kashmere team after almost 450 yards of offense in 2008. Ned is only one of 17 starters returning to the Rams. With Ned slinging the ball and Terrance Bradley (6-4, 245) and Joshua Hicks (6-3, 175) the passing game should be improved.

Surely Scarborough is hoping for better days since going winless last season and winning a couple the year before. New coach Tim Gillespie has a tall task ahead and will make the most of it. Look for the Spartans to improve in 2009.


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