The biggest news going into this season is at North Shore where Jon Kay stepped down as head coach to become an assistant at Rice. During his 9 years as head coach, Kay won 4 state titles and solidified North Shore as a Texas high school football dynasty. Now Willie Gaston takes over and the Mustangs don’t plan on missing a beat. They entered the season nationally ranked and will be sparked by the return of quarterback, Kaleb Bailey. The junior quarterback missed a majority of last year with an injury but the dual threat is back and will have targets like Deion DeBlanc, Christopher Barnes and Terrence Guillory to throw to. The Mustangs also have playmakers on defense, so look for them to make another championship run. Of course, Katy will be a good bet to go be playing football in December. They graduated all time leading rusher, Seth Davis, but the Tigers offensive line is one of the most experienced in Houston and they should open holes for the next great Katy back. Their biggest competition could come from in their own district. Katy Tompkins, the only team to knock the Tigers off their district title perch of late, takes on Katy in week 3. The Falcons have a ton of athletes on both sides of the ball, but coach Todd McVey is really looking to quarterback Wyatt Young for leadership on offense.
Spring Westfield came within a touchdown of taking out eventual state champion, Duncanville, last year. Running back Taji Atkins and a ton of experience on the defensive side of the ball will lead the way for the Mustangs in a tough Region 2. Speaking of that region, 13-6A is going to be a juggernaut this fall. New Caney went undefeated in the regular season last year, but must replace a lot on offense. The Woodlands, on the other hand, will be explosive on the offensive side of the ball where the Highlanders have playmakers like quarterback Mabrey Mettauer (Muh-TOY-er) and wide receiver Quanell Farrakhan.
Meanwhile Oak Ridge has 3 of the top 20 players in the state in linebacker, Justin Williams, running back, Frankie Arthur, and defensive end Joseph Jonah-Ajonye (Uh-john-AY). And you can’t forget up and coming Willis. They have Florida commit, D J Lagway, behind center and are looking for a playoff spot as well
There are several other 6-A teams who could be making noise this fall. Cy-Fair ran through 17-6A last year and returns a ton of talent for 2023. Atascocita not only has 3 year starters, Zion Brown at quarterback and Tony Blalock at running back, but recently took in the fastest receiver in Houston, Jelani Watkins, from Klein Forest. 20-6A has perennial district winner, Ridge Point, looking to take home another title, but Hightower could be a problem. The Hurricanes are a small 6-A team in terms of numbers, but have explosiveness all over their offense.
In 5A, look out for teams that are nightmares to scoreboard operators. Lake Creek averaged over 50 points a game behind speedy running back, Tyvonn Byars. And Fulshear scored 50 points or more in 8 of their 11 victories last year. They return 22 hundred yard rusher, Davion Godley, and should make noise in the Division 1 playoffs. Fort Bend Marshall will be loaded with athletes as usual. Especially in the secondary where William Mitchell and Joshua Lair will be on the hunt for turnovers. And finally, Manvel welcomes back Kirk Martin as their head coach. Martin led the Mavericks to 2 state title appearances during his first stint as head coach. This year he welcomes a stacked defense that should wreck havoc on Houston area foes.
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