The Sterling Rangers showed signs of promise in 2016. But when they looked to take a step forward, they took a step back.
Sterling started the season with three non-district wins, but the Rangers went 3-4 in District 21-6A to finish 6-4 for the year. Sterling lost at Summer Creek on the second week of district and then won two straight games to even their record to 2-2.
After a blowout loss to a dangerously good Atascocita team, Sterling defeated Kingwood at home on senior night, 20-7. Kingwood finished third in district. All Sterling needed was a win at Channelview to end the season for the third playoff spot ahead of Kingwood. Channelview won, 41-15, to grab the final playoff spot and Sterling found itself tied for fifth.
Jaquandrez Ardoin was a do-everything quarterback who ignited the offense. However, the Rangers averaged only 19 points a game while surrendering 22 — most of that average lifted from a 79-19 loss to Atascocita.
QB Jaquandrez Ardoin, DE Jude Jack, OL Nelson Goudeau
Ardoin rushed for 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns and threw eight touchdown passes en route to an all-district selection.
Goudeau and Jack were big plugs on the offensive and defensive lines, respectively.
FS Noah Campbell, RB Calvin Hill, WR Kaleb Davis
Hill rushed for 954 yards and seven touchdowns last year as a sophomore. He rushed for 152 yards and two touchdowns in the regular-season finale — a 41-15 loss at Channelview. Davis led the team in receiving as a junior and Campbell was an all-district pick in the secondary.
Sterling went 5-1 at home last season, which means six road games in 2017. They went 1-3 on the road last year, which showed they can struggle away from home. Hill and Davis will bring back big-game experience to an offense looking for an identity as Ardoin graduates.
Non-district starts with Clear Lake, Lee and MacArthur before jumping into the 21-6A fire on the road at North Shore.
Sterling needs to take care of the middle part of its district schedule — Summer Creek, Goose Creek and King — and needs to knock off one more team for its best shot of returning to the playoffs.
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