High school football is back in Conroe. The Woodlands College Park Cavaliers opened the season against the Tomball Cougars, with Tomball coming out on top 49-14 in debuts for two new head coaches.
Both teams were coming off of disappointing years, going 1-9 and 2-8 respectively. There are new faces on both sides as College Park replaces Richard Carson who retired. In his place steps in Lonnie Madison, who came from Klein Collins as a former defensive coordinator For Tomball, former West Brook Coach Kevin Flanigan takes the reins to the 5A school from Tomball ISD.
College Park debuted a new spread offense and new starting quarterback Jake Hunnicutt. Hunnicutt started well with big plays early including 27 and 18-yard passes in the first quarter. However the offense is based around the running game with a committee of Daniel Vann, Travis Washburn and Aaron Randle, with Vann carrying the majority of the workload. First game nerves were seen early, as 6 false starts were called on College Park before halftime.
After multiple drives stalled, the Cavaliers finally scored off of a Daniel Vann rush and took the lead 7-0 early in the second quarter. The defense for College Park stopped Tomball from doing much in the first quarter who were led by sophomore Hunter Dunn at QB.
Tomball then replaced Dunn with Central Arkansas commit Tybo Taylor after the first quarter, Taylor provided a spark for the offense with 123 total yards and a touchdown in the 2nd quarter alone. Tomball tied it up at 7 with 3:44 left in the 2nd quarter off a Taylor seven-yard rush. Defensively, Tomball played tough forcing two turnovers in the first half. Defensive lineman Zechariah Terrell stood out with three tackles for a loss in the first half.
Unlike the hard fought first half, the second half was the complete opposite. Tomball blew the game wide open, starting with a 31-yard strike from Taylor to Austin Buteaux early in the third quarter. Then, after forcing a quick College Park three and out, went on another touchdown drive, highlighted by a jaw-dropping 66-yard rush to the one-yard line from Tybo Taylor.
The Cougars defense was stifling all night, stopping a potential scoring drive by the Cavaliers with an interception in the end zone. They had 4 interceptions on the night, three by junior Kasen Handal. A rare blemish on a near-flawless second half for the Cougars came in the third quarter, Tomball went for it on fourth and 15 from their own 20-yard line. The move cost them, and College Park quickly scored with 3:45 left in the third quarter, their lone touchdown of the second half.
Tomball never let their foot off the gas and between the efforts of Taylor and running back Ja’Kobi Holland won the game 49-14. Taylor put up 408 yards and 4 touchdowns in his three quarters at quarterback. Holland rushed for 82 yards and two touchdowns.
Going forward, Tomball looks like a team to be feared going into conference play, with a stifling defense led by Zecheriah Terrell, who finished with 4 tackles for a loss and sack, and Kasen Handel, who had 3 interceptions. Offensively, it looks like Tybo Taylor will be the quarterback from here on out. He’s an offensive spark and sneaky fast, he’ll be on recruiting radars and despite his commitment to Central Arkansas, may still rack up some more offers.
Hunter Dunn played sparingly after the first quarter but he is still young and playing time this season to help his development. The defense is the strength of this team as a unit and could very well lead the Cougars to a playoff run this season.
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