Kingwood’s Strong End To 2016 Will Provide Momentum This Year

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Photo via Jerry Baker, Freelance for the Houston Chronicle

 

A 5-5 record was good enough to get the Kingwood Mustangs into the 2016 playoffs. A 56-23 win over Channelview gave the Mustangs the third seed out of District 21-6A, and Kingwood throttled South Houston in the Bi-District round.

However, Clear Brook took down Kingwood, 42-18, in the Area Round, and the Mustangs ended the season at 6-6.

Four of their five regular-season losses were to teams that made impressive playoff runs, and the other was a district loss to Baytown Sterling.

The battery in the backfield was senior quarterback Dawson Trudell and senior running back Eric Hammersmith. Both graduate, leaving voids to fill in 2017.

Key Losses

LB Matt Dean, CB Cole Preston, DT Robert Amar, RB Eric Hammersmith

Hammersmith led the Mustangs with 925 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Dean, Preston and Amar were all-district players in 2016.

Key Returners

WR Grant Taylor, DE Matt Bailey, OL Chris Elam

The offensive line returns Chris Elam (6-5, 310) and Austin Hodges (6-0, 175), who made all-district as a sophomore.

Taylor was the team’s leading receiver and Bailey is a big run stopper on the defensive line.

The Verdict

Kingwood loses a lot of talent from last year’s playoff team, so the Mustangs will need to lean on its experienced offensive line.

The tough non-district schedule includes Ridge Point, Fort Bend Austin and Friendswood before opening District 21-6A at home against a salty Atascocita team.

Kingwood opened the season a 1-3 in 2016 before going on a 4-2 run to close out district. The Mustangs need a better start this year and should strive to be fundamentally sound in 2017 to make another run at the state playoffs.

 

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