George Ranch is still the new kid on the block, but the Longhorns can put the moniker “growing pains” behind them. When you win a state championship in your fourth varsity season, the new car smell has worn off and you’re a legitimate contender.
That’s why a 6-5 record in 2016 might be considered a down year for a program that went 16-0 and won a state championship the previous year.
Regardless, the Longhorns had a successful rebuilding year, going 6-4 in the regular season and placing fourth in the grueling District 23-6A. All four losses were to playoff teams, including Dickinson and The Woodlands in non-district, and to Pearland and Dawson in league play.
The Longhorns finished regular season by handing district champion Alief Taylor its only loss of the regular season before entering the playoffs.
RB Alex Fontenot, LB Aaron McGee, QB Antonio Jackson
Fontenot was a first-team selection on the all-district team, running behind beefy senior linemen like tackle Jake Gore (6-2, 280) and center Rene Martinez (5-11, 270).
RB Jay’Ren Miller, DT Travis LeFall, TE Ryan Moore
Miller was the district’s Offensive Newcomer of the Year last season while splitting time in the backfield. LeFall was a sophomore starter and named first-team all-district last season. Moore has good size at tight end with his 6-2, 220-pound frame.
The Longhorns haven’t had a losing season since its program began playing sanctioned varsity games in the 2012 season. After going 5-5 that initial season, George Ranch went 14-1, losing the state quarterfinals, 12-2 and the quarterfinals in 2014 and their magical state championship 16-0 season in 2015.
George Ranch will be back, and the teams on their schedule shouldn’t be near as dangerous this year, but the Longhorns will be better.
The Longhorns have a good blend of size, speed and experience returning from a team that showed promise at the end of 2016 by beating Taylor in the regular-season finale before falling to a tough Friendswood team in the bi-district round.
Coach Ricky Tullos should have his squad ready to go again in 2017, and that could be bad news for their opponents.
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