2017 Region Outlooks: 6A Region III — Can the established powers reclaim the mantle?
AS WE LOOK AHEAD TO THE 2017 TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SEASON, DCTF'S BRADY KEANE TAKES A LOOK AT HOW EACH REGION SHOULD SHAKE OUT WHEN FALL ROLLS AROUND.
The 2017 Texas high school football season will be here before you know it, and in a year without UIL realignment, we have a grasp on who should challenge for region — and state — titles across the state. We’ll take a closer look at the frontrunners in each region throughout the spring doldrums.
Today’s spotlight: Class 6A Region III
Katy is always the big fish in Class 6A Region III, but the Tigers were dethroned by Galena Park North Shore in the third round of the Division I playoffs. With teams like Humble Atascocita, Alief Taylor and Cypress Ranch among those that could make playoff runs, several teams return a lot of talent in one of the most competitive regions in the state.
Fort Bend Ridge Point
Fort Bend Ridge Point coasted through the regular season behind its explosive offense and wasn’t slowed down until a 24-21 loss to Houston Lamar in the second round of the playoffs. The Panthers return a host of talent on both sides of the ball that should give them a chance to take another shot at a deep playoff run in Region III.
QB Aaron Allen, TE Mustapha Muhammad, RB Mason McBride and WR Adam Bazan are among a long list of offensive starters returning from last season giving coach Brett Sniffin a lot to work with after the Panthers averaged 40 points per game last year. The defense will make some noise behind LB Chad Bailey, DL Dennis Osagiede and DE Nelson Ceasar, giving Ridge Point a legitimate chance to make a run in this tightly contested region.
Houston Lamar was one of the only teams able to slow down Fort Bend Ridge Point last season – and for good reason. The Texans had one of the toughest defenses in the state, giving up an average of less than 13 points per game. Coach Tom Nolen gets a lot of that defensive talent back this season.
Anthony Cook and D’Shawn Jamison head up one of the most talented secondary units in the state and, while Joshua Landry on the defensive line returns as well. The Texans offense will have a new quarterback calling the shots, but workhorse running back Ta’zhawn Henry and receiver Al’vonte Woodard are back after big junior seasons. Lamar is loaded again and will be one of the early favorites in the region.
After failing to convert a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line late in the fourth quarter of that clash with North Shore, Katy fell short of a state championship appearance for the first time since 2011. The Tigers will have a new quarterback and need to develop playmakers on the outside, but the return of Deondrick Glass and Joshua Oglesby in the backfield gives Katy enough firepower to make an impact again.
Glass rushed for 1,912 yards and 30 touchdowns as a sophomore, while Oglesby added 919 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Connor Galvin is back to anchor the offensive line and the Tigers get Michael Matus back to anchor the front line of the defense. While it won’t be the strongest Katy team the state has seen (few will ever stack up to that 2015 squad), coach Gary Joseph has plenty of talent to compete at a high level again.
Katy Cinco Ranch
After finishing third in District 19-6A, Cinco Ranch went on a run all the way to the state semifinals before falling to Steele in San Antonio. Their schedule is tough and the Cougars will be without last year’s starting quarterback in James Klinger, but after the team’s first 10-win season since 2010, coach Don Clayton will be looking to make another run in the playoffs.
Brant Kuithe will fuel the offense after accounting for 2,266 total yards and 27 touchdowns last season. Kuithe rushed for 685 yards during the playoff run alone and his production will be the key to another successful season in the loaded region.
Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.