Friendswood Will Have To Find A Way To Reload After Losing Star Seniors

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Photo via Ashleigh Arnaud, TexasHSFootball.com

 

The Friendswood Mustangs were easily one of the top offenses of the 2016 regular season. They routinely pushed the limits of scoreboards across the state during their 9-3 season, which featured an 84 point game against Clear Falls, a 58 point game against Kingwood, and a 56 point game in the playoffs against La Porte.

Friendswood’s defense wasn’t a slouch, but they were definitely outshone by their offense. In the Mustangs’ three losses, they failed to score over 28 points, and their season ending loss to Cinco Ranch only featured a single touchdown, although they were without Tyler Page, who holds Friendswood’s all-time leading rusher title.

The bottom line here was this: Friendswood can outscore you, and if their defense could make just enough stops, the game was essentially over. It took an injury to an all-time Friendswood great to stop them, and it can definitely be argued that if the injury to Tyler Page hadn’t happened, there’s a chance that game against Cinco Ranch ends very differently. A staggering 87% of Friendswood’s offense ran through Page, according to head coach Robert Koopman.

Now, the task for Friendswood is monumental: the Mustangs must face life without the most prolific player in program history and a class of seniors that were nothing short of outstanding.

Key Losses

QB Tyler Page, OL/DE Connor Stanford, WR Reed Roher, DT Chase Willis, ILBs Zach Follis and Cade Roenne

The Mustangs will miss two way player Connor Stanford heavily across their offensive and defensive lines. Defensive tackle Chase Willis was excellent in his senior season, and explosive linebackers Zach Follis and Cade Roenne will be missed. Once again, this format isn’t enough to properly express the losses – I really like the Friendswood secondary members too.

It’s very hard not to simply use this space to talk about Tyler Page. Let’s say this about him and move on: he was unbelievable.  Wideout Reed Roher was excellent in the clutch, and most of the standout offensive line will have to be replaced as well.

Key Returners

OL Max Yarbrough, RB Mason Barnes, WR Nick Swaney, OLB Jake Yurachek, DE Wyatt Hall, DT Blayde Boddie

Friendswood will return some of that explosiveness on the offensive side of the ball in running back Mason Barnes and wide receiver Nick Swaney. Barnes, whose season was cut extremely short by a knee injury, will likely be the bell cow of next year’s offense. Whoever Friendswood’s quarterback will be will find a good friend in Swaney, who can block downfield in the run game as well as catch passes.

On the defensive side of the ball, Friendswood will return sure tackler Jake Yurachek as well as a lot of meat on their defensive line in Hall and Boddie, who were both all-district performers in a district that included that devastating Dickinson defense.

The Verdict

The end is not nigh for Friendswood. They return some very serious playmakers for the 2017 campaign, and Friendswood kids are very hard players. The defensive line returners are especially exciting, and most coaches would love to have a running back like Mason Barnes.

However, you can’t have a guy run 87% of your offense, be the all-time leading rusher in your program’s history, and escape without taking a huge blow. That dominating offense that defined Tyler Page’s career might take a few steps back due to the sheer amount of playmaking he brought to that team.

However, I don’t expect Friendswood to take a colossal step back. This is still a good program, and will definitely still be competitive in the district race and in the early rounds of the playoffs.

 

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