The DCTF Regional Roundup looks at HS football across Texas.
Highland Park ready for jump
A new season will bring some new faces, but for Highland Park a new season will bring a new class and new opponents.
The Scots made the move to 6A after a 13-2 finish in 2013, and head coach Randy Allen feels his players are ready to get started and look forward to the challenges a bigger class will bring.
“They retained a lot from spring practices, so we are further ahead than we would have been if we were out of shape,” Allen said.
Highland Park knows what 6A football entails with Allen being one of the winningest coaches in state history. His background has been effective on making that mentality spread to his players.
“When your kids have goals to set and they have high expectations, you have a chance to be successful,” Allen said.
And being successful is something Highland Park is good at doing with big names returning on both sides of the ball. Two offensive players have received offers from FBS schools — dual-threat quarterback Brooks Burgin has an offer from Texas State and offensive center Clayton Woods committed to UTSA. Allen feels that moving to 6A is a good way to prepare for FBS football.
“The tougher the competition, the better prepared you are for college,” Allen said.
Defensively the Scots have SMU commit Mitchell Kaufman returning for his senior season to provide defensive stability in this time of transition. Kaufman who recorded 79 tackles in 2013 will be a pain in the big schools’ sides as Highland Park looks to keep its “powerhouse” label in the 6A world.
- Jordan Ottaway
Longview ready to roll
Longview will be getting a bit of a facelift this season, adding 15 new starters in 2014, and for a program that is deeply rooted in wining, it will be put to the test from the very beginning.
With a program that returns seven starters, position depth will be a concern for head coach John King.
“We’re going to try to install as much as we can in shorts,” King told East Texas Sports Network. “We’re going to try to perfect our craft, so to speak, with the blocking and the tackling.”
Four of the seven starters returning are big names that have all received preseason college attention, most notably running back and Baylor commit JaMycal Hasty. They will be valuable building blocks for King to get his team back on track.
The Lobos also are going to play in a new district being realigned into 15-5A, and right now nothing is guaranteed for Longview, even after going 6-0 in district play last season, and that is the mentality King wants to bring. Hard work and don’t take any game for granted.
“I think there’s some potential in this district, too. You can’t sleep on anybody,” King said. “Any team can come up and beat us. Some things have rated us No. 1 in the district. We don’t need to be reading any of that and need take it with a grain of salt. We just need to keep our minds focused. We have a lot to work on these next days before we can get into any of that.”
- Jordan Ottaway
Manvel loaded with talent
Manvel finished last season with a 12-2 overall record and has been tabbed as the No.13 ranked team in Class 6A.
Entering his eighth season as head coach, Kirk Martin and his crew will look to duplicate success again this season in a powerhouse 6A class that features last season’s DI state champion and No. 1 team Allen, followed by last season’s DII 5A state finalists Katy at No. 2 — the Tigers defeated Manvel in the quarterfinals last season
One thing is for sure, 6A will be a dogfight.
“I think we’ve got a good squad,” Martin said. “We open with Westfield, which we know they’ve got a great squad, and that’ll be a great test for us to see where we’re at.”
Martin has a talented group in his arsenal with 12 FBS recruits including recent UCLA commit Will Lockett, 2016 stud quarterback D’Eriq King and viral sensation Gary Haynes, who holds an offer from Houston.
But it’s going to take more than his recruits to get to where they’re trying to go.
“The thing I try to tell them is a ranking has never won a game,” Martin said. “A scholarship offer has never won us a game, and we’ve just got to keep getting better as a team and not get caught up in our accolades and start to better ourselves. It’s not time to start patting ourselves on the back just yet. We haven’t won a game yet.”
Drennan leads EP Americas
After finishing 5-5 last season and just 3-4 in district play, head coach Patrick Melton and El Paso Americas are heading into this season with the same mindset as every other.
“Our goal is to win every game,” Melton said. “We were district champs a few years ago and fell off a little bit last year, so we want to get back to that and try to go a couple rounds deep.”
Melton’s main man on offense is 6-foot-3 177-pound athlete Q’ Drennan, who has been clocked at 4.4 in the 40-yard dash.
Drennan recently committed to New Mexico over UTEP, Air Force and Colorado. Last season, the all-around Drennan had a huge season, tallying 934 receiving yards along with 16 touchdowns and had 221 passing yards with a touchdown.
He will also take snaps as a quarterback, running back, wide receiver, kick returner, punt returner and will sometimes line up as a cornerback on defense.
“He’s going to definitely play quarterback,” Melton said. “He just committed to the New Mexico today, and I expect him to be the district MVP. He’s the MVP of our city, of our region, and we expect a lot of big things out of him, and we’ll be putting a lot of responsibility on him. He’s going to be playing quarterback though.”
- Eric Siner
Q&A with Chad President
In case you missed it, we had an exclusive interview with Temple quarterback Chad President. Here is a free preview, but make sure to read it all by purchasing our new August digital edition.
EJ: You were on your way to having a monster season last year before you suffered a torn ACL. What was the rehab process like?
CP: It really wasn’t that difficult. I pushed myself to the limit. At the end of the day, I told myself to keep pushing and pushing because it was all going to come together one day. And it did. Back in April, I got to go through spring, and I reached all my goals coming back from rehab.
EJ: You’ve obviously gotten your decision out of the way, so now you can focus on your upcoming senior season. What are your expectations for this year?
CP: I want to help my team win district and go deep in the playoffs. I want to stay healthy and lead my team the best way I can. I’m just going to give it all I got. I think we’re going to be one of the best teams to ever come through Temple. They won (state) in 92’ and 79’ but this team is special. I’ve sacrificed a lot, the coaches have sacrificed, everybody has sacrificed a lot. I can’t wait.
- EJ Holland
Tarpons look to overcome graduation hit
After finishing last season at 12-1, Port Isabel will have a practically new team on the field Friday nights, as the RGV powerhouse lost many of its players to graduation.
But head coach Monty Stumbaugh remains optimistic about 2014. The Tarpons still bring back one of the state’s top defensive backs in Marco Colorado and 1,300-yard rusher Jaime Gonzalez.
“We had 36 on varsity, lost 28 seniors and have eight coming back with varsity experience, so we’re going to be young, but we feel like we have some kids that can step in and do the job,” Stumbaugh said. “For us to reach that level, we have to really work hard at being fundamentally sound and doing things right, but we feel like when it’s all said and done, we’re going to have a good football team.
“We have to replace a lot of people, but we feel we have the kids that can do it, but we’ve just got to be patient and keep coaching our rears off, and eventually we think we’re going to be okay.”
This will be a challenge for Stumbaugh as he looks to put together a competitive unit for this season, but as much success as he’s had with the program, Port Isabel should be in good hands.
Entering his 14th season as head coach, Stumbaugh has an overall record of 102-54. So how does he continue to find motivation to continue coaching after such a long tenure with one school?
“For me, I love working with kids, and I love the game of football, and that’s the bottom line. I still have a passion for it, and I still love being around the kids and trying to help them out as being as successful as they can be and hopefully make positive influences on their lives, so my motivation is I love what I’m doing.”
- Eric Siner
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