Friendswood prepares for non-district schedule to start season

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Friendswood running back Walker Winters will be counted on to lead the ground attack for the Mustangs this season.

Winters proved he was a tough ball carrier last season.

"We'll look to Walker this season to be one of our leaders on offense," Friendswood head coach Jordan Johnson said.

There is nothing like having to face a former rival to open up a new football season, but new Friendswood head coach Jordan Johnson is getting his chargers ready to face old nemesis Texas City in this year's season opener.

Friendswood and Texas City have a long history going back to when they were in Class 4A as district opponents. The overall series is just about a 50-50 split when they play one another.

There is no question that coach Johnson, a Friendswood grad returning back home, will get baptized by fire when the Mustangs and the Stingarees take the field to do battle in the 2023 season opener at Henry Winston Stadium.

The Mustangs have only one more non-district game before the start of league play as they will host the Fort Bend Willowridge Eagles who are in the same District 9-5A DII as Texas City.

The Eagles have struggled over the last decade to put a strong competitive team on the field so the Mustangs should have a little easier contest though coach Johnson certainly won't let his team relax to avoid an upset.

Friendswood Mustangs vs Texas City Stingarees

Friday, August 25
Henry Winston Stadium at 7:00 p.m.

Pearland native and Texas City head coach Shone Evans completed his first year in 2022 in guiding Texas City to a 6-5 record while advancing to the bi-district playoffs.

Texas City should be loaded this season with seven offensive and seven defensive starters returning with 20 lettermen from last years squad.

The backbone of the offense will be RB Caleb Bell (5-10, 225, 4/5) who is the featured back after rushing for 1,381 yards and 17 TDs last season. Paired with Bell will be QB Joey Duran (5-8, 175, 4.6) who threw for 1,344 yards and 9 TDs who is considered the team leader.

WR/DB Clyde Burton (5-10, 180, 4.4) is a double impact player on both sides of the ball as he caught 36 passes for 463 yards and 5 scores while also gathering 5 INTs.

Other offensive players include WR/DB Xavier Skowron (6-2, 185, 4.5) and WR Jayden Johnson (5-10, 165, 4.6).

Defensively, LB Szyron Scott (6-1, 215, 4.5) will be an impact player as he had five sacks last year. His partner in crime is LB Camryn Grief (6-2, 190, 4.5) who had 87 tackles, 15 TFL, and 4 INTs.

The Mustangs will need to show up with their best effort against the Stings. Texas City won last year's contest 27-13. The Stings are a pre-season pick to finish in third place behind Fort Bend Marshall and Port Neces-Groves.

Friendswood Mustangs vs Willowridge Eagles

Friday, September 1
Henry Winston Stadium at 7:00 p.m.

It was a tough year for Willowridge in 2022 as the Eagles finished 1-9 and 1-6 in district.

Friendswood tacked on one of Willowridge's loss last year 34-0 and the Mustangs should be a heavy favorite to repeat the feat again this year.

The Eagles are picked to finish seventh in their District 9-5A Div. II district. However, they could surprise a lot of teams ahead of them as they have seven offensive starters and six defensive starters returning with 24 lettermen so they will be a more experienced squad to improve in 2023.

Willowridge has some key offensive skill people this season including QB Kendron Penson, Jr. (6-1, 180, 4.5) who has a good arm and speed after throwing for 1,494 yards and 16 TDs. He also has two danger targets to throw to in WR Momon Lattimore (6-2, 185, 4.5) who caught 26 passes for 344 yards and 1 TD while WR Marxquise Hayes (5-10, 170, 4.5) snagged 26 passes for 379 yards and 2 scores, and WR Travis Willis (5-9, 165, 4.8) grabbed 37 passes for 379 yards and 2 TDs.

RB Tylon Rydolph (5-8. 225. 4/8) gives the Eagles a balanced attack on the ground as he rushed for 371 yards and scored 4 TDs.

The defense should be better as well led by DE Royce Wilson (6-2, 225, 4.8) who had 20 tackles, three sacks, and one INT. DB Rome Jackson (5-8, 145, 4.5) had 22 tackles and a pair of INTs.

Depth will be a challenge for the Eagles as they prepare for the upcoming season.

Coach Kendron Penson says youth on the offensive and defensive lines will be concerns.