Alief Hastings made a living in the playoffs in the late 1990’s and early part of this century. But the Bears seem to have hibernated from postseason — well, for the most part — since then.
Hastings went one-and- done in 2010 and 2013 and haven’t had a winning season since 2010.
The 2016 season was a 2-8 effort, but the Bears did it with cubs. In other words, Hastings had young players all over the field, including lots of sophomores who had to learn the game speed and the pressure of Friday night lights.
Hastings did manage to win a pair of District 23-6A games over Brazoswood (16-14) and Elsik (46-6), and they played playoff-bound Pearland Dawson to the wire (35-33) in a season-finale loss.
Those young players return in 2017 to make a run at the postseason.
RB Anthony Ajao, DB Elijah Bailey, LB Cedric Davis-Crumpton
Ajao led the Bears in rushing with 633 yards and seven touchdowns. Crumpton had 51 tackles last year, and Bailey was named second-team all-district.
QB Javon Williams, OG Donnovyn Waller, OLB Jaylen Jones
Javon Williams was one of three Offensive Newcomers of the Year in 23-6A last season after completing 62 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns while adding three rushing scores.
Waller, listed at 6-1, 310, returns for a senior campaign along with offensive tackle Jaiden Williams (6-3, 260) after both big men made all-district as juniors.
Jaylen Jones led the team with 80 tackles last year, and he returns on defense along with fellow senior linebacker Jonathan Gadison; and defensive end Jevon Leon and defensive tackle Kasual Savoy — both only juniors in 2017.
Youth. Hastings had lots of youth in 2016, and they have a lot coming back in 2017. Heck, the quarterback and two key defensive linemen will be around for the 2018 season as well.
The season once again starts with a trio of games against the Fort Bend ISD with Austin, Marshall and Kempner before a road game at the Bears of Montgomery. Things get tough in district right off the bat with a game at George Ranch and two weeks later at home against a resurging Pearland team. Around that are Brazoswood, Elsik, Taylor and Dawson.
If Hastings can pull out four district wins — not impossible — then the Bears can go dancing in the playoffs for the first time in four years. And with youth and momentum in postseason, anything can happen.
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