2018 High School football season kicks off this week

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BY DR. DAVID DAVIS

The area football teams will kickoff the 2018 football season this coming Thursday and Friday. The teams have wrapped up their scrimmage schedules and now they are ready to get the real season underway.

Here are the teams and how they match up to their opponents:

Thursday, Aug. 30
Clear Lake Falcons at Manvel Mavericks
Alvin ISD Freedom Field – 7:00 p.m.

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.

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.

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.

Clear Lake Falcons
For the past several years, the Clear Lake Falcons have run into some tough times, but new head coach Larry McRae has brought the Falcons out of the bottom of the pack in District 24-6A and made them a contender to challenge for the league crown.

Clear Lake is a pre-season pick to place second in the league behind Clear Springs. Finishing behind the Falcons is Dickinson and Clear Brook for the top four spots followed by outsiders Clear Creek, Clear Falls, and Alvin.

The Falcons were 8-4 last season while finishing 5-2 in district with a second round area loss to Kingwood 38-30.

Clear Lake is loaded with seven offensive and seven defensive starters while 35 returning lettermen will fill up the experienced roster.

Manvel will have to contend in stopping QB Shae Suiaunoa (6-3, 200, 4.6) who was 160-for-266 for 2,513 yards, 25 TDs and 13 INTs last season. Suiaunoa is a duel threat as he also rushed for 810 yards on 144 carries for 12 more TDs.

Junior RB Brendon Holmes (5-8, 175, 4.5) led the ground attack with 1,118 yards on 218 carries for 17 TDs. He also caught 18 passes for 177 yards and one score.

With an equal number of starters on defense, LB Rian Davis (6-4, 230, 4.6) will anchor that side of the ball after recording 94 tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 INTs last season.

Friday, Aug. 31
Summer Creek Bulldogs vs. Shadow Creek Sharks
Alvin ISD Freedom Field – 7:00 p.m.

For the past two years, Shadow Creek has been competing in football at the junior varsity level. This year, the Sharks get to play with the big boys. And they couldn’t have been placed in a tougher district.

Despite being placed in District 10-5A Div. I, they weren’t picked to finish last this season as the past two years they have shown a very competitive team that could be a dark horse to make the playoffs.

Former Manvel High School offensive coordinator Brad Butler is the head coach of the Sharks and he certainly knows about winning tradition.

The Sharks were 5-3 last season at the JV level and they played some stiff competition.

Butler produced fast and exciting offenses at Manvel and there is no reason why the Sharks won’t have the same mentality in a run and gun spread offense that attacks opposing defenses.

Shadow Creek will be led by QB Ja’Marian George who threw for 994 yards and 11 TDs last year in eight games. WR Kealon Jackson (5-10, 170, 4.5) and WR Ketrick Burkhalter both can fly and will be primary targets in the passing game. RB Marquez Huland will carry the load in the running game.

OL Cam’ron Johnson (6-4, 290) will anchor the offensive line with support from OL Damian Jackson.

The Sharks will need for the defense to step up as well as they are led by DL Alec Bryant (6-3, 225), DB Jevin Murray (5-11, 170, 4.5), DB Kaymen St. Junious (5-10, 170, 4.6), LB Jeremiah Harris (6-0, 190, 4.5), DB Xavion Alford (6-0, 170, 4.6), and DL Tristin Drones (5-11, 240).

The Sharks will compete against Angleton, Foster, Friendswood, Fort Bend Hightower, Texas City, Ball High, and Rosenberg Terry.

Summer Creek Bulldogs
The Bulldogs finished 7-4 overall and 5-2 in district while advancing in the playoffs in the area round before losing to Friendswood 27-26 when they botched the snap on a game-winning field goal attempt. Friendswood beat Summer Creek in the regular season 27-19.

Summer Creek is a pre-season third place team in District 22-6A with Humble Atascocita selected to win the district followed by Kingwood, Summer Creek, and Pasadena South Houston. The other teams looking to make the post-season include Pasadena Memorial, Pasadena Dobie, Humble, Pasadena, and Pasadena Sam Rayburn.

Summer Creek returns five offensive and four defensive starters with 24 returning lettermen. The Bulldogs have a new head coach in Kenny Harrison who was at Port Arthur Memorial.

The offensive line has some veteran players, but the Bulldogs will be searching for a signal-caller to them.

Defensively, the ‘Dogs have some young defensive players that will need to mature quickly if they are going to be successful early in the season.

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