Texas High School Football 2020 Season Preview: District 16-6A

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District 16-6A is located west of downtown Houston and contains eight of the eleven 6A Cy-Fair ISD schools. Cypress Falls comes over from District 17-6A and joins the other seven Cy-Fair schools, which competed against each other in District 14-6A in the previous realignment.

With an up-and-coming program led by one of the state’s top junior quarterbacks, one of the top junior linebackers in the state starring for a varsity program aiming to reach new heights, a team looking to get over the hump for its first ever playoff appearance, and plenty of familiarity among these Cy-Fair ISD schools, it is sure to be a district to watch.

Here are the key players and storylines to keep an eye on in District 16-6A this year.

Bridgeland Bears (2978)

Last Season: 8-3; Defeated in bi-district by Austin Vandegrift

Head Coach: David Raffield: 4th season as head coach

Player to watch: WR Dylan Goffney- A SMU commit, he had an impressive season last year as a junior, catching 60 passes for 964 yards and ten touchdowns. He will be a weapon to watch in what should be an explosive Bears offense.

Storylines: Bridgeland is a program on the rise after earning its first playoff appearance last season in just its second year as a varsity program. A second consecutive playoff appearance and first playoff victory are well within reach as the Bears return a ton of talent on both sides of the ball. Junior quarterback Conner Weigman, 2,501 passing yards, 729 rushing yards, and 34 total touchdowns, returns to lead the offense and is rated as one of the top junior quarterback prospects in Texas. He will have plenty of weapons at his disposal too as Goffney and fellow receivers Atrevion Hunter, 593 receiving yards, and Hunter Wallis, 462 receiving yards, return along with tight end Dylan Crippen, 276 receiving yards. “Conner is a tremendous competitor and loves the game of football.  He can make all the throws and can run,” Raffield said. “We have four receivers with 21 varsity starts under their belt, and I believe this will be a very explosive offense.” The running game is in good hands as well as junior Mason Culton, who rushed for 842 yards on 166 carries last season, is back at running back. The defense is loaded too. SMU commit safety Bryce McMorris, 43 tackles, will be a key player in the secondary alongside 2019 second team selections Gavan Kaspar, 42 tackles, and Kamren Amao, three interceptions. Up front, Oghenemine Imarah, 16.5 tackles for loss, and Brayden Amacker will anchor the defensive line after being unanimous first team selections a year ago, while Conner Motsinger, 50 tackles, will lead the linebacking corps. The Bears are set up to have another successful season as they return almost all of their key players from a year ago. They will certainly be a team to watch and a favorite to improve on their first round exit last year.

Cypress Falls Golden Eagles (2974)

Last Season: 10-2; Defeated by Katy Tompkins in area round

Head Coach: Chris Brister: 4th season as head coach

Player to watch: RB JP Martin- A Memphis commit, he had a huge junior season, rushing for 1,481 yards and 25 touchdowns. He will be a key figure in the backfield again for the Golden Eagles again this season as arguably the top back in the district.

Storylines: Brister has taken the Golden Eagles to the playoffs all three seasons as head coach. However, he has some holes to fill heading into the year as the Golden Eagles have a laundry list of graduates to replace including their quarterback, top two receivers, four offensive linemen and seven players on defense who earned first or second team honors last season. Fortunately for Cy Falls, Martin and explosive back Jaylan Walker, 429 rushing yards and first team all-district honors as a return specialist, are back to provide a one-two punch in the running game. Trey Silas will be a key returnee out at receiver after catching 19 passes for 275 yards last year as a sophomore. On defense, Walker will be a candidate to star in the secondary as well after earning second team honors at that position last year, while defensive back Javion Davis is another player to keep an eye on after a promising junior season, where he had 50 tackles, including nine for loss. Up front, Elliott Jones, 49 total tackles, will lead the defensive line. After losing several impact players to graduation on both sides of the ball, the Golden Eagles will look for Martin to lead the way offensively as they aim for their fourth consecutive playoff berth.

Cypress Lakes Spartans (3108.5)

Last Season: 5-5

Head Coach: Ronald Patton: 6th season as head coach

Player to watch: WR Amir Turner- A basketball star as well for the Spartans, he had a breakout sophomore season on the gridiron, catching 27 passes for 499 yards. After being named a second team selection last season, the Spartans will look for him to be a key target this year as the team’s leading returning receiver.

Storylines: Heading into the year, the Spartans will have to replace their star quarterback Sofian Massoud, two leading running backs, two leading receivers, and four leading tacklers after graduations and a transfer. Despite these graduations, there is still experienced talent returning offensively. At 6’3”, Turner will be a big target in the receiving corps and will be a good option for the new quarterback along with fellow returnee senior KeLan Dove, 283 yards and a touchdown a year ago. Darnell Green is a player to watch out of the backfield after an impressive season as a freshman on varsity last year, rushing for 201 yards. Defensively, linebackers Enrique Urrutia, 41 tackles, and Givon Ortega-Jones, 34 tackles, return alongside fellow linebacker Donavon Carter, another promising prospect for the Spartans after playing on varsity last season as a freshman. With key receivers and talented linebackers returning, the Spartans have a lot of potential heading into the season as they look to be the group that gets Cypress Lakes into the playoffs for the first time in school history.

Cypress Park Tigers (2715.5)

Last Season: 3-7

Head Coach: Greg Rogers: 5th season as head coach

Player to watch: LB Harold Perkins- The District 14-6A Defensive Newcomer of the Year last season, he can do it all for the Tigers. He had 46 tackles, including nine for loss on defense. Offensively, he rushed for 268 yards and also caught four passes for 71 yards. He is a highly touted recruit with 25 Division I offers from several powerhouse programs.

Storylines: After a winless season in their varsity debut in 2018, the Tigers took a step forward last year with a 3-7 record. Perkins, the most talented player in Cypress Park’s short history, will continue to lead the Tigers in all three phases of the game. However, they will have holes to fill on both sides of the ball after their quarterback, top two running backs, top receiver, and seven out of their eight leading tacklers graduated. “We did lose a lot of players due to graduation from our 2019-2020 team and they will be difficult to replace. However, we feel like we were able to get some good, quality playing experience for our younger kids last year in preparation for that,” Rogers said. Along with Perkins, fellow junior Cameron King is another key player returning offensively after rushing for 516 yards a year ago in the Tigers’ Wing-T offense. “Harold and Cameron will no doubt have big roles on our team, but there are a bunch of other players that will as well,” Rogers said. “What impresses me most about these two [King and Perkins], and our other players, is that they are great people, they play the game with passion and have fun doing it, and that they are team players. They are all willing to do whatever it takes to help the team succeed, from playing offense, defense, and special teams to volunteering to be on a scout team in practice.” Defensively for the Tigers, Perkins and seniors Raymond Sims, 26 tackles and a district honorable mention, and Isaiah Jackson will bring plenty of experience to the linebacker position. “All of our players play a very important role on our team and all are extremely valuable,” Rogers said. “We are not the same without each and every one of them. Each player is a piece of the heartbeat of Tiger Football.” The Tigers have gotten their feet under them as a varsity program, and, with Perkins leading the way, they will look to continue on that upward trajectory.

Cypress Ranch Mustangs (3054.5)

Last Season: 8-4; Defeated in area round by Klein Oak

Head Coach: Sean McAuliffe: 2nd season as head coach

Player to watch: S Romario Noel- A Baylor commit, he racked up 36 tackles last season and second team all-district honors. He will be a key component of a talented Mustang secondary this season.

Storylines: The Mustangs have a lot of talent back this season and will certainly be a team to watch in this district. Their athletic quarterback DJ Ciers is back to lead the offense after throwing for 1,684 yards and rushing for 709 yards a year ago. The Mustangs did graduate their starting running back but Ciers’ contribution to the run game and promising junior Kameron Burton, 428 rushing yards last season, should help fill that hole. Out at receiver, Edwin Smith, a UTSA commit, will be a player that Ciers will be glad to have at his disposal in the passing game after Smith missed most of last season through injury. The Mustangs also return Georgia Tech commit tight end Ben Postma, 41 receiving yards and two touchdowns, who will be a big target in the passing game at 6’5” and a key blocker as well. The defense is arguably even more talented. Leading tackler Landen Nowak, 81 tackles, is back to anchor the linebacking corps, while, up front, defensive tackle Blane Channel, five tackles for loss, will look to be a force on the defensive line. The most talented position group on defense will likely be the secondary though as Noel, Robin Neely, six interceptions a year ago, and Xavier Watson, 39 tackles and an interception, all return from last year’s team. “All three [Noel, Neely, and Watson] have strong work ethics, and are constantly working to improve their skill set along with those around them,” McAuliffe said. “With the league we play in, everybody has a kid who can sling it, and at least one who is scary good at catching it. Secondary improvement will be critical to our success.” With the talent found throughout the depth chart, Cypress Ranch will certainly be a favorite to take a step forward and compete for a district title after a fourth place finish in district play last season.

Cypress Springs Panthers (2444.5)

Last Season: 0-10

Head Coach: Rusty Rohan: 3rd season as head coach

Player to watch: DB Jermari Seals- He earned a district honorable mention last season after racking up 72 tackles and five forced fumbles. He will be an important piece of the secondary for the Panthers this season.

Storylines: It has been a bumpy ride the past two years for the Panthers with only one win combined in their past two seasons. Despite this record, there is certainly some hope that things will start to turn the corner this year. Quarterback Jeremiah Mosley returns for his third year on varsity after being the starter last year. At running back, senior Camdyn Brooks is also back and is starting to attract the attention of programs at the next level, recently picking up an offer from Valparaiso. On defense, Brooks can play linebacker as well, while Seals will continue to be a playmaker from his position in the secondary. Cy Springs will hope that with Rohan leading the way and the talent returning on both sides of the ball, this Panther program can take a step in the right direction this season.

Cypress Woods Wildcats (3320.5)

Last Season: 8-4; Defeated by The Woodlands in area round

Head Coach: Trent Faith: 9th season as head coach

Player to watch: RB Trayse Holmes- A second team all-district selection last year after leading the team with 706 rushing yards. His experience will be crucial in the backfield as the Wildcats must replace their starting quarterback and the next three leading rushers from last season beneath Holmes.

Storylines: This Wildcat team was senior laden last year as 20 seniors who earned district honors graduated. Senior Dylan Cormier, 397 passing yards, and junior Trey Craft, who Faith described as “good up-and-comers,” each saw playing time at quarterback last year and will be options to lead the Wildcats this season alongside Holmes in the backfield. JaVarian Stewart is a versatile player and can contribute at both receiver and running back after racking up 126 receiving yards and rushing for 175 yards a year ago. The offensive line also has two key returnees to block for these skill players in first team selection Ty Van Atta and second team selection Braden Barrett. On the other side of the ball, the defensive line also has two key returnees in first team selection defensive tackle Christopher Agnew, 46 total tackles, and second team selection Tyler Sherrill, 28 total tackles. “We do return some very key offensive and defensive linemen,” Faith said. “The rest of the offense and defense will have to be sorted out as we get into camp. We look forward to a competitive team this year.” The Wildcats also have a key weapon back on special teams as Michael Fernandez returns after hitting six field goals last year with a long of 42 yards. While the Wildcats do have some roster turnover to deal with, the pedigree of their returning players means that they will certainly be aiming for their third consecutive playoff berth this season.

Langham Creek Lobos (2959.5)

Last Season: 2-8

Head Coach: Todd Thompson: 12th season as head coach

Player to watch: LB Jayhvion Gipson- A Washington State commit, he earned first team all-district honors last season after racking up 56 tackles, including seven for loss. He will certainly be a leader in the linebacking corps for the Lobos again this season.

Storylines: Last season was the first losing record Langham Creek has had during Thompson’s tenure, so you can expect the team to bounce back this season. The Lobos have a promising new option at quarterback as junior Tanner Murray is eligible for varsity play this season after having to play JV last year due to transfer rules. He threw for over 1,800 yards and 26 touchdowns in six games last year on JV and will certainly be a player to watch for the Lobos. Jayden Landry will be another important player in the backfield at running back after contributing on varsity as a sophomore last year. Out at receiver, Kevin Durney, who is also a lacrosse star for the Lobos, and junior Alejandro Vasquez III are two key returnees for Langham Creek in the passing game. The defense will be led by Gipson and his fellow linebackers Adrian Owens Jr., 78 tackles, and Anthony Caudillo, nearly 50 tackles a year ago. Senior safety Henry Toomer and the promising and speedy junior Ja’Mareion Gipson are two players to watch in the secondary. These Lobos have a lot of potential talent returning as they look to bounce back from last season and get back to their winning ways.

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