Pearland, Dawson to face touch challenge in District 23-6A


PEARLAND — While Pearland is a pre-season pick to win District 23-6A and Dawson is selected to finish third, Pearland head coach Ricky Tullos and Dawson head coach Mike Allison would be the first to tell you that the games are won on the field and not in some pre-season poll.

The two schools are faced with having to play Alief Hastings, Richmond George Ranch, Houston Strake Jesuit, Alief Taylor, Alief Elsik, and Brazoswood. Here's a look at the 23-6A teams.

Alief Hastings

Hastings is a pre-season pick to finish in second place as they have five offensive and seven defensive players returning with 20 lettermen. Hastings was 6-3 last season as a bi-district finalist while finishing 5-1 in the district standings.

The Bears will be led by duel-threat quarterback Javon Williams (5-11, 170, 4.6) who is quick and fast and will challenge opposing defenses to keep him contained. Williams accounted for over 2,000 yards and 22 touchdowns last season.

RB Tremaine Cox will look to come back from an early injury last season, but he should have a break out senior season after averaging 8 yards per carry last year.

The strength of Hastings will be their defense led by 23-6A Defensive MVP Jevon Leon (6-2, 250) who had 72 tackles and 8 sacks a year ago. The defensive secondary should be strong as well led by Gerred Wiltz (6-0, 190, 4.4) and JaCorey Benjamin (6-0, 175, 4.5) who have speed to burn.

George Ranch

A projected fourth place team, the Longhorns, who won the 2015 Class 5A Div. I state title, have a great winning tradition. The will be loaded with eight offensive and eight defensive starters returning with 31 lettermen to face their former coach, Ricky Tullos, who is now at the helm of Pearland.

The Longhorns were 5-4 last season and were 4-2 in district with a trip to the bi-district playoffs.

The ground attack will be their first choice of offense with two very fast running backs in Jacqrueil McGee (5-8, 190, 4.4) and Jay'Ren Miller (5-8, 185, 4.4) who combined for more than 1,000 yards and 10 TDs.

George Ranch will be directed by field general Christian Jackson who had 1,515 total yards and 8 TD passes. An experienced offensive line should provide plenty of protection passing or big holes rushing.

DL Peter Mpagi (6-5, 240, 4.6) will anchor the defense for the Longhorns who should be strong and experienced on that side of the ball.

Houston Strake Jesuit

Strake Jesuit is the newcomer to District 23-6A and is on the pre-season bubble for the playoffs. The Crusaders have seven offensive and five defensive starters returning with 25 lettermen and are no strangers to stiff competition having been competing against the schools in the Katy district.

The Crusaders were 8-3 last season and were 6A Div. II area finalists. Strake Jesuit is on its third head coach in three years. They will be looking for some leadership at quarterback from either Michael Hansen or Matthew Sanders.

RB Michael Wiley (6-0, 185, 4.5) should be a threat on the ground while WRs Nathaniel Beal (6-5, 190, 4.5) and Dylan Campbell should be strong targets along with TE Thomas Gordon (6-5, 235).

LB Jett Bush (6-2, 215) will lead the defense and get strong help from DB Denzel Blackwell (6-1, 175, 4.5).

Alief Taylor

Alief Taylor shouldn't be counted out of the playoff race with five offensive and three defensive players returning with 20 lettermen.

If senior QB Charlie McFarland can limit his turnovers from a year ago, the Lions could be very dangerous after he had 1,617 yards passing and 17 TD passes. Add WR Shea Whiting (6-2, 180, 4.6) who had 556 yards receiving and 7 TDs and they can be a potent pair on offense.

Defensively, Taylor will be led by LB Ezrah Thibodeaux (6-2, 235) who had 64 tackles; LB Isaiah Wheeler (5-8, 175) who had 35 tackles; and DB Montrell Winters (5-11, 190, 4.5) who had 54 tackles and 3 INTs.

Alief Elsik

The Rams were 3-5 overall and 2-4 in district last season and didn't make the playoffs. They return six offensive and two defensive starters with 18 lettermen.

Elsik is picked to finish next to last in the district standings. They have to rebuild their defense and that could present some problems against some strong offensive teams in league action.

The Rams are settled at quarterback and they may be looking at Quincy Ivory (6-4, 210, 4.7) who is a gifted athlete. RB Nshiminimana Mohamed (5-9, 165, 4.5) is recovering from an injury last season and should add to the ground attack. OL Rodquice Chaney (6-6, 325) is considered a strong FBS prospect and should anchor the offensive line.

The defense will be led by LB DeAngelo Williams (6-0, 195) and DL Nick Garrett (6-0, 245), but the Rams will need to find some other players to step up if they are going to have a chance to compete against some very good district teams.

Brazoswood

The Buccaneers have been down for the past several years and are picked to finish in the league cellar. They were 2-6 overall and winless at 0-6 in league action last season.

Brazoswood has four offensive and two defensive starters returning with only 13 lettermen.

The one ray of hope they have is the return of QB Lane Caballero who had 762 yards passing and 6TDs in 2017. TE K.J. Brown (6-2, 230) should provide some added offensive experience as a three-year letterman. He also handles the punting duties.

LB Dorian McDougal (5-8, 180) should anchor the defense after recording 57 tackles, but the defensive unit will be very young.