The state finalist Shadow Creek Sharks and area finalist Manvel Mavericks are once again ranked by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine among the top high school football teams in the state in their respective Class 5A divisions.
The annual publication, which recently has newsstands has the Sharks ranked number five in Division I, while the Mavs are ranked sixth in Division II. Both area teams are also picked to finish second in their respective districts.
Headed by DCTFM Super Teamer and preseason all-state selection Xavion Alford (6-0, 180 pounds, 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash), Shadow Creek returns 32 lettermen overall and eight on defense. The senior safety joined end Alec Bryant (6-2, 240, 4.7) and linebacker Jeremiah Harris (6-0, 205, 4.5) as 2018 Texas Sportswriters Association All-State selections.
Bryant delivered 70 tackles, 25 tackles for losses and 13 sacks last season, while Harris provided 90 tackles and 16 sacks and Alford added 58 tackles and six interceptions.
The Sharks return six starters on the offensive side of the ball.
Other players to watch for TSWA All-State 5A co-coach of the year Brad Butler include linebacker Courtney Brown (5- 10, 200, 4.6), end Ronald Triplett (6-1, 240, 4.9) and offensive lineman Damien Jackson (6-1, 275), while junior quarterback Kyron Drones (6-1, 195, 4.8) and safety Jaylen Lane (5-10, 185, 4.7) made the top juniors list and linebacker Ty Harris (5- 10, 180, 4.5) was considered to be the top sophomore. The prospects’ list features receivers C.J. Guidry, Greg Hancock and Jared Jackson, linebackers Warren Shankle and T.J. Marshall and offensive linemen Corey Smith, Caleb Leonard and Josh Martin.
Campbell forecasts Richmond Foster to win the 10-5A D-1 title and also edge the Sharks in the Region III Finals playoff rematch, while tabbing Highland Park to win their fourth straight Division I crown. Angleton and Friendswood are also predicted by the magazine to make the postseason.
Campbell’s 5A Division I preseason rankings went as follows: 1. Highland Park; 2. Denton Ryan; 3. Richmond Foster; 4. Frisco Lone Star; 5. Shadow Creek; 6. Tyler John Tyler; 7. Lufkin; 8. San Antonio Wagner; 9. Cedar Park; 10. Birdville.
The Sharks travel to Humble’s Turner Stadium for their season opener with Summer Creek on Aug. 31.
The 15-1 Sharks became just the third gridiron program in Texas high school history to advance to the title game in their first year of existence. Shadow Creek won the District 10-5A crown with a perfect 10-0 mark and then posted playoff victories over New Caney Porter (37-30), Cedar Park (21-14), Georgetown (36-7), Richmond Foster (25-21) and San Antonio Wagner (41-24).
The Sharks then faced Highland Park in the title game on Dec. 22 at A&T Stadium in Arlington, where a late rally fell short in a 27-17 defeat.
While 23 lettermen return this year for Kevin Hall at Manvel, receiver and 2018 all-district first team selection Jalen Paxton (6-0, 185, 4.5) is the lone offensive veteran, while five Mavs are back for the second-year coach on defense.
Other players to watch for Hall and company include QB Tucker Yarborough (6-1, 215, 4.9), running backs Donovan Eaglin (5-11, 225, 4.6) and Jordan Vaughn (6-1, 190, 4.6), cornerbacks Vinson Brown (6- 1, 180, 4.5) and Jaqai Neal (5- 10, 185, 4.6), defensive tackle De`Undre Potts (6-0, 285), offensive tackle Christen Robinson (6-4, 285), defensive back Treyvon Jenkins and place kicker Luis Moreno.
Fort Bend Marshall is tabbed by DCTFM to win the 11-5A crown and advance to the Division II state finals again, but ends up on the short end to Aledo for the second straight year. Willowridge and Houston Sterling are the favorites by the magazine’s pundits to finish in the running for the district’s third and fourth seeded playoff berths, as well.
The Division II rankings include the following teams: 1. Aledo; 2. Fort Bend Marshall; 3. Corpus Christi Calallen; 4. Marshall (East Texas); 5. Huntsville; 6. Manvel; 7. A&M Consolidated; 8. Frisco Reedy; 9. Lubbock-Cooper; 10. South Oak Cliff.
Manvel kicks off their season on Aug. 30 against Clear Lake at Webster’s Challenger Columbia Stadium.
The Mavs went 9-3 for the season, finishing as the distict runners-up and rallying to defeat Barbers Hill 62-42 in the bi-district round.
The Alvin Yellowjackets have been projected by Campbell to finish seventh in 24-6A with the publication predicting Dickinson, Clear Springs, Clear Brook and Clear Creek as the playoff teams. According to the publication, Alvin and new head coach Tim Teykl return 10 lettermen and four players apiece on offense and defense. Players to watch include defensive lineman Andrew Solis (6-2, 265), offensive lineman Andrew Gormly (6-3, 290), wide receiver Sam Bell (6-4, 220) and running back Richard Valdez (5-9, 155), while the top juniors are receiver Chris Touch (6-2, 190) and linebacker/ defensive end Armando Rivera (6-0, 215) and quarterback Gavin Guthrie (5-11, 185) is considered by DCFM to be the top sophomore.
Other prospects include receiver Gabriel Campbell, defensive back Bo Olszewski, defensive lineman/offensive lineman Connor Hughes, OL/DL Kaine Robinson, linebackers Hayden Barron and Angel Lopez, DL/ tight end Leon Bell and OL Humberto Garcia.
The Jackets open the season on Aug. 29 against Stratford at Tully Stadium.