District 24-4A Predicted Order of Finish:
3. Pearland Dawson
4. Texas City
5. Alvin Manvel
7. La Marque
8. Santa Fe
2008 Season Recap
Behind QB Jacob Karam, coach Steve Van Meter's Friendswood Mustangs (11-2) rolled to the district championship, scoring a school-record 505 points in the process and advancing to the 4A, Division I semifinals before falling to Austin Lake Travis. The Mustangs' success marked the sixth time in seven years a team from 24-4A reached the Region III finals.
Angleton (9-4) rode a bevy of explosive backs to the Region I semifinals before bowing out to Beaumont Central in a 35-34 heartbreaker.
Both of the district's Division II representatives bowed out in bi-district play. Texas City (5-5) was blanked (13-0) by Rosenberg Terry, while Brazosport -- making its first playoff appearance since 2002 -- lost to El Campo 21-19.
Perhaps the biggest story of the 24-4A season involved the end of the La Marque Cougars' run of playoff success. Two years removed from their fifth state title, La Marque finished 3-6 and missed the postseason for the first time since 1989.
All but Santa Fe (1-7) will have a legitimate shot at a playoff spot; realistically, only two spots will be available considering the gap Angleton and Friendswood has left between the rest of the district.
QB Quandre Diggs (5-8, 180) and RB Henry Josey lead a senior-laden Angleton squad that's ranked among the area's top teams while also receiving state mention. The Wildcats will be balanced on both sides of the ball, but will have to deal with the expectations of being the top dog in perhaps the toughest district in 4A.
Karam may be gone, but Van Meter's Mustangs return 14 starters, including RB Andrew Cole (6-1, 185). QB Peter Matzold (6-1, 175) has the makings to become the next in a long line of productive signal callers at Friendswood. The Mustangs have an underrated defense and once Matzold has a firm grasp of the offense, there is little reason to think Friendswood has another deep postseason run in them.
In just its second year of varsity play, Pearland Dawson has become an emerging giant in the district. All 22 starters return for the Eagles, including versatile QB Darian Lazard, who accounted for nearly 2,000 yards from scrimmage last year. Coach Eric Wells has the talent and depth needed for Dawson to crash the postseason party sooner than expected.
Pundits have learned not to disregard Texas City (5-5). The Stings return the fewest starters in district, but few coaches in the area know how to maximize talent better than Tim Finn. TC must replace injured QB Derrick Bernard (5-11, 175), but -- as usual -- the Stingarees have a bushel of backs and a well-coached offensive line to execute their smash-mouth style of play.
Scoring won't be a problem for Alvin Manvel (4-5). QB Dexter Foreman (6-3, 210) is one of the state's top juniors and is well-versed in coach Kirk Martin's high-powered spread offense. The Mavericks need only to improve their defense in order to make a serious run at a playoff berth.
RB Gary Bevins (1,288 yards, 18 TDs in 2008) highlights a Brazosport (5-5) team that returns 11 starters. The Exporters are no longer the district's pushover, having added depth and an attitude since coach Brian Welch took over the program. B-Port will have to win a road game or two in order to boost what is becoming a homefield advantage near the water.
La Marque has three gifted skill position players in QB Mandy Williams (5-11, 175) and RBs Tim Wright (5-9, 180) and Le Reco Wright (5-9, 190), but the Cougars (3-6) must replace four starters on the offensive line. The defense is improved, but coach Darrell Jordan's team faces a tough road in returning to the postseason.
Santa Fe (1-7) has not won a district game since 2005, and it's hard to see that streak ending this fall. Coach Jay Buckner brings back 19 starters, and the team's return to emphasizing the run will make them competitive against the district's heavy hitters. Still, the lack of a gamebreaker on either side of the ball will condemn them to the 24-4A cellar.
District 24-4A 2009 Outlook
District 24-4A Predicted Order of Finish: