Don't look now but Lufkin looks ready for another big-time run... New quarterback Deauntre Smiley looks pretty good... The Woodlands running back Daniel Lasco is back again.. A team-by-team look at District 14-5A...
Head coach: Richard Carson
2007 record: 4-5
Key performers: QB Taylor Parsons , OL Eli Dickerson, RB Aaron Osborne, SS Kennan Cook
2009 Outlook: College Park just missed a third-consecutive state playoff
spot last year but the Cavs will again be in the mix for a District 14-5A berth. Returning first-team all-district quarterback Taylor Parsons suffered a broken foot in the spring but expects to be fully recovered. In '08, Parsons rushed 876 yards, 10 TDs and passed for 619 yards and four TDs for nearly half of the Cavs' total offense. Senior running back Aaron Osborne helps propel a run-oriented offense behind 6-7, 275-pound tackle Eli Dickerson (Rice commit.)
Head coach: Roger Holtkamp
2008 record: 6-4
2009 Outlook: In the sixth year under Holtkamp, the Tigers have a respected program that achieved mightily to get a state playoff berth last season. The Tigers should be in the mix behind 14-5A favorites Lufkin and The Woodlands but are having to rely on several two-way performers _ always a difficult task competing in 5A. Seniors TE/LB Brandon Thornton, WR/DB Chris Parks, WR/DB Bookie Sneed and OT/DT Kyle Brown were all-district selections as juniors. A key could be the development of Jordan Marah at quarterback and sophomore running back Izora Bennett.
Head coach: John Outlaw
2008 record: 7-5
2009 Outlook: The Panthers lose a ton of talent from last season, but actually have good reason to believe they'll surpass the one playoff win of 2008. Lufkin will have a new but promising quarterback with junior Deauntre Smiley, who takes over for Jeffrey Claybon. Wide receivers Quinn Trimble and Tra Horace are expected to be the top targets.
Lufkin's top player is defensive back Carrington Byndom, a Texas commit whose all-around talent as an outfielder also helped lead Lufkin to the Class 5A state baseball final. Byndom and defensive backs Kasey Jones and Victor Price will lead a stingy defense.
Head coach: Russell Roberts
2008 record: 1-8
Key performers: WR Joey Hibner, RB Chad Jackson, DE Ryan McCants, DE Donell Towers
2009 Outlook: The Eagles still are making the transition in their second year of Class 5A and are the smallest school in District 14-5A and 13-5A (which it would meet in the state playoffs' first round.) Last season's 5A debut was plagued by injuries. There will be some good quarterback competition between Christian Perez and Jeremy Dickey while receiver Joey Hibner is a proven returning starter. New Caney hopes Atascocita transfer Donell Towers will help shore up the defensive front. New Caney hasn't won a playoff game in 53 years and last reached the playoffs in 4A in '03.
Head coach: Bob Barrett
2008 record: 4-6
2009 Outlook: The War Eagles have made the state playoffs two of the last three years but have been eliminated by Klein Oak in the first round each time. Oak Ridge hopes for another playoff berth and possibly a longer run with a talented offense led by running back Freddie Dotson and quarterback Ryan Cyr who has a great arm and is a tremendous decision maker. A returning starter, Cyr shows good command of the spread option-Wing T type flex offense Barrett uses. Oak Ridge looks to have some up and coming receivers led by sophomore Michael Handy. On defense, Oak Ridge counts on CB Trent Langley and DB Jontry Guidry.
Head coach: Mark Schmid
2008 record: 9-2
2009 Outlook: The Woodlands has high hopes after last year's 9-2 turn-around from the 3-8 record of '07. Class of 2011 standout running back Daniel Lasco (6-1,175) returns for his third season to run behind standout Alabama offensive line commit Chad Lindsay. Lasco burst onto the season late as a freshman in '07. As a sophomore in '08, Lasco rushed for 1,107 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 11 yards per carry. The Highlanders are loaded at receiver with 6-2 Randy Knust (an Arizona State commit) and 6-5 Michael Cooper. Senior defensive back Ryan Clapsaddle and junior lineman Pedro De La Garza anchor a rebuilding defense.