October 6, 2010

Teams making statements in district play

Heading to Week 6, teams look to make statements in district play


Week 6 is upon us and teams in all classifications and all parts of the state are looking to start making statements on the field regarding how good their teams are.

Here are a few in southeast and central Texas…

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As district play begins this week in District 22-5A, Pasadena Rayburn will learn a lot about their 2010 squad in their opening contest. The Texans, off to a 4-1 start, will take on the Pasadena Memorial Mavericks on Thursday night at Veterans Stadium in Pasadena.

Rayburn, which has won two games in each of the last three seasons, is off to their best five-game start since 2004. That team finished 6-4, and 3-4 in a district that included North Shore, La Porte and Deer Park.

This year, the Texans are in a newly-realigned six-team district that has seen Pearland and La Porte moved out. Deer Park, also 4-1 in 2010, remains in the district with the Pasadena ISD schools.

The new alignment may offer Rayburn its first opportunity for playoff action since the 1997 season, when they lost in the first round to Brazoswood.

The four wins the Texans have posted this season have been against new varsity squad Summer Creek, MacArthur (18-5A) and a pair pretty solid 4A teams, Waltrip (3-3) and Houston Austin (4-1).

Their offense, which averaged 220 yards and 15.5 points per game in 2009, has produced 267 yards per game this year while averaging nearly 27 points. They have scored 30 or more points in their last three games.

The balanced offensive attack has been led by senior QB Augustin Velasquez, who has thrown for 600 yards and eight touchdowns and rushed for another 330 yards and 3 TDs.

But, they face a tough district opponent in Pasadena Memorial to get their five-game district schedule underway.

Memorial has opened the season 2-3 against a very tough non-district schedule. Their losses have been to Clear Creek, Clements and North Shore. But the Mavericks have a powerful offense, averaging 380 yards per game.

In the run-heavy offense, junior RB Thaddeus Stewart has rushed for 729 yards, averaging over eight yards per carry, and has scored seven touchdowns.

When they have not turned the ball over, Memorial has won. In their two victories, they turned the ball over once. In their three losses, the Mavericks committed eight turnovers.

Memorial is 5-1 all-time against Rayburn, their only loss coming in their inaugural varsity season of 2004. The Texans won that contest by four points, 28-24. Since then, Memorial has outscored Rayburn 178-30 in their five wins.

Memorial has been a playoff team each of the last four years and expects to contend with Deer Park for the District 22-5A crown this year. The Mavericks, who have been to the playoffs in just five of their 46 years of varsity play, will come away from Thursday night's game with a good feel for how much progress they've made toward their sixth playoff appearance.

(Note: Pasadena Rayburn vs. Pasadena Memorial can be heard as one of the Week 6 broadcasts on The Old Coach Radio Network)

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Since they began playing varsity football in 2002, Alief Taylor has managed to field competitive teams, first under Tom Gerber and, in recent years, under Trevor White. But the Lions played six years in the shadow of the powerful Katy ISD teams, including perennial powerhouse Katy, and then the last two with Spring Branch ISD leaders Memorial and Stratford.

Now, in the realigned District 18-5A, which paired the three Alief ISD schools with the four Aldine ISD schools, Taylor has jumped to the head of the district class with Eisenhower.

The Lions, under first-year head coach J.D. Jordan, are off to a 4-1 start in 2010 and defeated MacArthur, 41-0, in the district opener last week. In that game, senior RB Derrick Lair rushed for 339 yards and three touchdowns. His touchdown runs were 37, 50 and 84 yards.

The Lions' only setback has been to old nemesis Katy. The Tigers defeated the Lions in their second game, 45-20. But for a half, that road loss showed some promising signs for Alief Taylor.

The Lions led Katy at the half, 20-14, before the Tigers exploded in the last two quarters for 31 unanswered points.

In their three games since, Taylor has averaged 40 points per game and defeated Dulles and Conroe, along with MacArthur.

The Lions take on Hastings (4-2, 2-0) this Friday night at Crump Stadium in what should be the first of a three-game stretch that will help sort out who will contend for the 18-5A crown. Following the Hastings game, Taylor takes on Elsik and Eisenhower in the following weeks.

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Georgetown is coming off a big win on the road last Friday night over the Round Rock Dragons and has started 3-3. The Eagles are 1-1 in District 16-5A play.

And while those numbers won't bowl anyone over, the starts marks a big improvement over last season's 1-9 record. The Eagles needed a 54-35 win over McNeil in their final game of 2009 to prevent their first winless season since their 1911 team went 0-1-2 in an abbreviated season at the time of the onset of World War I.

So, to rebound to a .500 start this year potentially signals good days ahead for Georgetown. Their three losses have been to Harker Heights, Austin Anderson and Leander. Anderson is the only undefeated team (5-0) in District 15-5A and Leander, though off to a tough start, is expected to contend for a playoff spot in District 16-5A.

This week, however, the Eagles will have the toughest test of their season to this point: the Stony Point Tigers.

Stony Point continues to mow down opponents, most recently pinning a 37-8 defeat onto McNeil last Friday night at Kelly Reeves Stadium. In the game, senior RB Sam Kelley rushed for four touchdowns to raise his season total to 12.

The Tigers average 45.5 points per game, while their defense is allowing just 13.2 per contest. Kelley, the team's leading rusher, has run for nearly 800 yards. Quarterbacks Aaryn Sharp and Gus Barrera have combined to rush for over 600 yards and seven TDs.

Georgetown and Stony Point have played eight times prior to this season; Georgetown won the first five and Stony Point has won the last three.

The Eagles may very well find themselves in a similar situation to Westwood two weeks ago. The Warriors were a bit of an unknown commodity coming into their district opener against Stony Point, but managed to hang tough before eventually losing to the Tigers, 27-14.

Even in defeat, though, the Warriors gained some respect and followed up that game with a huge 41-19 win over Pflugerville last week.

Now the Warriors are considered playoff contenders in 16-5A.

The Eagles would like to pull off the biggest upset of 2010 at home this week against the No. 4-ranked team in Class 5A, but they won't necessarily need a win to earn a little more respect.

(Note: Stony Point vs. Georgetown can be heard as one of the Week 6 broadcasts on The Old Coach Radio Network)




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