Predicted Order of Finish (Division I teams all CAPS)
1. Clear Brook
2. CLEAR LAKE
3. Clear Springs
6. Clear Creek
8. Galveston Ball
Quick 2008 recap (season finish)
Always a battle in the Southeast Houston district and last season many of these squads saw success. Dickinson (9-3) made a nice run three rounds until running into the eventual Division II state champions Katy. Clear Brook (7-4) fell to LaPorte while Clear Lake (8-3) lost a heartbreaker to Pearland, both in the area round. Clear Creek (4-6) was eliminated early by Division I finalists Hightower.
Clear Springs (5-5) went .500 in its first year and showed lots of promise. Brazoswood (3-6), Alvin (2-7), and Galveston Ball (2-5) all failed to advance to postseason play. This was one of the main districts that hit the hardest by Hurricane Ike, but Ball took the lion's share of the damage.
In a district full of clock-controlling, ground gamers, Clear Brook in the early favorite to take the crown in 2009. The success of the Wolves will rely heavily on the shoulders of full back Brandon Ellison (6-0, 220). Getting the tough yards as a junior, Ellison was good for 1,325 yards and 10 touchdowns. Making sure Ellison gets past the first line of defense will be center Michael Candler (6-2, 265), who leads the offensive line. Quarterback Matt Heidt (5-10, 165) is projected to take the snaps in 2009.
Defensively, Clear Brook lineman Bennett Ofor (6-3, 215) and Nathaniel Dann (6-3, 220) provide the Wolves with the size and speed needed from the end positions. Michael Donovan (6-0, 175) leads the way in the secondary.
A team to never count of the race is the Clear Lake squad that returns 11 players. Keeping a stable of backs is something that coach Troy Aduddell is used to having and this year Randall Holliman is the man after a 600-plus yard season in 2008. Nate Otto (6-1, 245) will clear the way. And though this team will run its opponents crazy with formations and complex offensive attacks, it is the defense that will bring the heat.
Linebacker John Witten (6-2, 220) and Aaron Jones (6-0, 205) are one of the best duos in the city with 97 and 95 tackles respectively. Also look for Kiel Heidman to get with this strong linebacker rotation as well. Kelvin Hicks (6-3, 255) is the man up front for a squad that gave up only 14.2 points a game.
Still fairly new to the varsity ranks, the Clear Springs team is one that will have the attention of many by season's end. Of course, all 22 starters are back. Offensively, quarterback Phillip Miller (5-10, 180) returns after throwing for nearly 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns. His primary target will likely be James Cunningham (6-0, 180) who hauled in 38 catches and four touchdowns last season. Dimitri Donald (5-10, 165) and Byron Williams (5-7, 160) are also solid for the Chargers at receiver. Trevvon Randle (6-2, 215) will come over to play running back after a year as a linebacker.
Speaking of defense, linebacker Khary Alexcee recorded 89 tackles and four sacks as a junior. Devin Walker and Sam Richardson are two of the best backs in the city. Walker had 122 tackles and Richardson had 56 tackles and a sack.
Dickinson returns eight starters and will look to build on the success of 2008. Offensively the Gators should be just fine with quarterback Clay Honeycutt (6-2, 185) leading the way. Honeycutt threw for 1,242 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. But he won't have to do all of the work, especially with running backs Corey Thomas (5-10, 175) and Jermaine Jenkins (5-8, 175) in the backfield. The two combined for over 850 yards. Donte Brown (5-7, 150) will be the team's primary returning receiver.
Defensively, end Danyel Hunter (6-2, 245) will bring it up front after a 68 tackles and three sacks junior season. Linebacker Kenneth Mullins is the returning tackle leader with 93. Jashaud Sims (6-5, 185) leads the secondary unit. He had 70 tackles and three interceptions.
For Brazoswood, 14 starters return and quarterback Chase Matzke (6-1, 170) and tight end Bradley Peters (6-4, 205) are quite acquainted and hooked a few times last season. On defense, end Dartwan Bush (6-2, 255) and Clarence Green (5-11, 200) are the top defenders.
It's a close call and the Bucs could easily make their case for the No. 4 spot. Coach Dean Deatley has produced plenty of successful under-the-radar squads in the past (see 2006 team).
With Clear Creek, there six starters back, four of which are on the offensive side. Look for Marcus Mata (5-9, 180) and C.J. McElroy (5-10, 175) to be the go offensive guys. McElroy had 52 catches and 202 yards rushing for six total touchdowns while Mata had over 1,000 yards of offense. Defensive strength lies in the secondary with Mike McCullough (5-10, 175) and Brandon Speth (5-10, 175) as the last line of defense.
Not a lot of action going on for Alvin on the offense, but the Yellow Jackets welcome back 11, of which six are defenders. Linebacker Matthew Bass (6-0, 225) is valuable to the team in many ways, but has 115 tackles to his credit. Brothers James (6-2, 230) and Jacob (6-2, 210) will also make a lot of noise. Each recorded three sacks.
It's the dawn of a new day for Galveston Ball and coach David Suggs takes over the Tors after a shortened 2008 season. On offense, Marcus Ball (5-10, 170) is the Tors' top back while linebacker Justin Galavez (5-11, 180) is a 100-plus tackler from last season and will lead the defense.
District 24-5A 2009 Outlook
Predicted Order of Finish (Division I teams all CAPS)