By DR. DAVID DAVIS
Photo by Casey Chancellor
Manvel has a new head football coach and a new district, but there is nothing new about the Mavericks being favored to win the league title.
Most would agree that the Mavs won’t really be tested until it is time to enter the post-season especially after their heart-breaking loss for the 5A Division I state title last year.
Defensive coordinator Kevin Hall was selected to take over for the departed Kirk Martin who has moved on to become the quarterback coach for Syracuse University. Martin, the only coach that Manvel has ever known, will certainly be missed after seeing Manvel become a state power for many years. Martin compiled an overall 108-25 mark with the Mavs.
Manvel was 14-1 last season and lost a heartbreaker to defending 5A Division I state champion Highland Park 53-49 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. It appeared that the Mavs would return home with their first-ever state championship until a late touchdown gave the Scots the improbable win in one of the most memorable state title games in the history of Texas football.
Graduation hit the Mavs hard last year as they only one offensive and two defensive starters for the 2018 season plus 23 returning lettermen.
The ground attack may be their most lethal approach as the Mavs return two All-District performers in senior RB Garrison Johnson (5-11, 225, 4.6) and senior Ladarius Owens (5-10, 185, 4.4) as both have power and speed to rush through opposing defenses. Johnson had 677 yards rushing on 102 carries for 12 TDs while Owens posted 713 yards on 112 totes for 12 TDs while also catching 15 passes for 150 yards.
Hall will look to QB Joshua Coltrin (6-1, 195, 4.7) to take over for All-State QB Kason Martin who is now at North Texas State. In a limited role, Coltrin was 23-of-29 passing for 259 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT. He is accurate and will look for some young receives to step up to give the Mavs the potent offense they are accustomed to seeing on the field.
Players to watch on offense include: RB/LB Donovan Eaglin (5-11, 215, 4.6) who had 204 yards rushing on 21 carries and 3 TDs. OL Jhase Edwards, WR Eric Hebert, and OL Damarius Countee.
Defensive players to watch include: DL Corey Roberson (6-4, 270) who had 47 tackles and six sacks last season. LB Jermaine Brown (6-0, 190, 4.3), DB Kamryn Alexander, DB Trevion Robertson, LB Devon Roush, DL Travorris Hardison, and DL Brian Wilturner.
The season will begin with the defense being the major strength, but the offense should develop quickly to keep in the tradition of a potent Manvel team. Tradition will certainly play an important role as the younger players gain experience in a weak district.
Manvel is an overwhelming favorite to capture the district title followed by Fort Bend Marshall, Houston Waltrip, and Houston Madison as the teams to advance to the post-season. Other teams include Houston Sterling, Fort Bend Willowridge, Houston Sharpstown, Houston Northside, and Houston Milby.