It is no secret that the Manvel Mavericks have one of the toughest football schedules in 6A this season.
The No. 5 state-ranked Mavs will face No. 12 state-ranked Spring Westfield Mustangs on Friday, August 28 at Alvin Memorial Stadium at 7:00 p.m. to open the 2015 football campaign.
Manvel and Westfield opened the season last year with the Mavs completely dominating the contest to emerge with a 35-10 victory. That would be the only loss for the Mustangs throughout the 2014 season until they fell to Cedar Hill 64-33 in the Class 6A Div. II state-semifinals to close out the year at 13-2.
Meanwhile, Manvel won the District 22-6A title and advanced to the Class 6A Div. II Region III finals where their season ended, for second straight year, with a 45-17 loss to the Katy Tigers.
Manvel head coach, Kirk Martin, has another talent-loaded team with at least 11 Division I players on the roster.
Westfield should challenge the Mavericks, but on paper, Manvel should dominate the season opener again.
The Mustangs have a new coach in Matt Meekins who took over for his brother, Corby Meekins, who accepted a position on the coaching staff at the University of Houston.
Westfield has four offensive and seven defensive starters returning with 18 lettermen.
Players to watch include DT Ed Oliver (6-2, 275), WR Tyrie Cleveland (6-3, 190, 4.5), QB Dillon Sterling-Cole (6-3, 180), LB Keeath Magee ((6-1, 215), and Gordon Warren (5-10, 170).
Cleveland will be the favorite receiver for Sterling-Cole after gathering in 53 passes for 1,105 yards and 13 TDs last year.
Cole was 124-of-214 for 2,206 yards for 24 TDs and seven INTs passing last season and should have even a better year in 2015.
Manvel comes loaded on both sides of the ball with All-State senior quarterback D’Eriq King leading the way.
In 2014, King was 204-of-310 passing for 3,193 yards and 47 TDs with only three INTs. He also had 780 yards rushing on 110 carries and 12 TDs giving him almost 4,000 yards of total offense. The elusive signal-caller has 7,849 total yards with 112 TDs in the past two seasons. The Mavericks are 26-3 with King at the offensive controls with their only losses coming to the Katy Tigers twice and North Shore.
Other key players include Texas commit senior WR Reggie Hemphill (6-1, 185, 4.4) who had 36 catches for 725 yards and 14 TDs as the team’s leading receiver.
Senior OL Austin Meyers, who is also committed to TCU, will anchor the offensive line to open up huge holes for the ground game and protect King in the pocket.
Senior RB D’Vaughn Pennamon (6-1, 215, 4.4) has emerged as a offensive threat to compliment King so defenses can’t key on just one player. Pennamon had 62 carries for 661 yards and 6 TDs with 17 catches for 261 yards and 7 TDs make him another top recruit in the nation.
Defensively, the Mavs should also be tough on that side of the ball led by senior DB Deontay Anderson who had 54 tackles, 1 sack, 2 INTs).
Junior DT Koby Foster had 21 tackles with good footwork and speed. WR/DB Jalen Preston (6-3, 205, 4.5) will also be a new face on the field for the Mavs.
Other playmakers include junior OL Togan Tonini (6-3, 295), WR Hunter Hagdorn, WR Sean Dykes, DB Brandon Bell, DE Hasaun Glasgow, LB Jordan Carmouche, DE Tyler Fuller, DT Shawn Simms, QB Kyle Trask, DB Derrick Tucker, and DB Ryan Hudson.