Eight months have passed since the city of Houston hosted the Class 5A Division I championship game between The Woodlands and North Shore High School. The game marked the first time in over three decades that two Houston area teams faced off in the Class 5A finale.
North Shore won in a lopsided victory, but The Woodlands look forward to getting their revenge in week two of the upcoming season.
However, so much has changed since that special contest. Over 20 athletes in the game are off to college to play football, including Bobby Reid (Oklahoma State), Stephen James (Oklahoma State), Justin McNeese (UTEP), Danny Amendola (Texas Tech), Kevin Mims (Northwestern), Danny Charbonnet (Duke) and Samson Taylor (Texas A&M), just to name a few.
The Woodlands coach Weldon Willig retired to become Conroe ISD's athletic director, and two North Shore assistant coaches parlayed their teams' success into head coaching positions. Willig is putting together a bond election for a new stadium in North Houston, and The Woodlands new head coach Mark Schmid is left to find kids to replace the special class of a year ago.
Who will lead this year's Highlanders?
Kyle Anderson has been offered by several of the major programs across the country but plays tight end; running back Cameron Montgomery is coming off an injury-riddled season; and linebacker A.J. Montalvo will lead a young defense.
But the question still remains, who will lead The Woodlands to a Class 5A championship?
Meet Greg Meinzer, a 6-6 senior quarterback, with a rocket of an arm but no varsity experience.
"That is how it works here at The Woodlands," he said. "You have to pretty good to start as an underclassman. It kind of hurts if you play behind a great player, because you don't get the exposure or the playing time until you are a senior."
Meinzer played behind former quarterback Jordan Dodson, who received a full baseball scholarship at Rice. Dodson backed up University of Texas' Chance Mock. Get the picture?
Meinzer has yet to make a name for himself at The Woodlands, but he is receiving attention from college recruiters without playing a significant down on the field.
"It feels good to know that it's my turn," he said. "I'm a little different than our other quarterbacks. I'm a drop-back style quarterback who sits in the pocket. I have good arm strength and an accurate arm, but it's time for me to prove it on the field."
Meinzer, who is also a pitcher for the Highlander varsity baseball team, has been receiving interest from the likes of Texas Tech, BYU, Texas State and Southeast Missouri to play football after his time at The Woodlands.
In the same boat as Meinzer is wide receiver Eric Paul, a 6-5 wide receiver, who was also a leader on his undefeated junior varsity team. Paul played behind Texas Tech-commit Amendola, and never saw the varsity ponderosa.
Despite that, he has already been offered a scholarship by Yale University to play football. That's called speculation.
Another interesting Highlander athlete, who is receiving rave reviews are Kyle Drabek, a 6-1, 200-pound wide receiver. Drabek, only a junior-to-be, is the son of former Houston Astro pitcher Doug Drabek and was a starting pitcher for the Highlanders as well.