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VYPE Football 2020 Preview: District 23-6A

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Welcome to the 2020 football season. What a weird offseason it was for everyone. There was not a summer camp circuit for player to go showcase their talents at. In-person recruiting came to a screeching halt and the COVID-19 Pandemic has affected everyone.

But VYPE has still done what we have always done when it comes to previewing Texas high school football here in Houston. With that said - here is the District 23-6A Preview!

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PRESEASON RANKINGS

Shadow Creek

Pearland Dawson

Strake Jesuit

Pearland

Alief Hastings

Alief Taylor

Alief Elsik

Alvin
(Bold Denotes Playoffs)

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VYPE PRESEASON AWARDS

Most Valuable Player

Kyron Drones, Shadow Creek

Offensive MVP

Ja'Den Stewart, Pearland Dawson

Defensive MVP

Cameron Whitfield, Pearland Dawson

Breakout Player of the Year

Jaylen Lane, Shadow Creek

Sleeper Team

Alief Hastings

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SHUFFLE IT UP! OUT GOES BRAZOSWOOD AND GEORGE RANCH AND INSERT ALVIN AND DEFENDING 5A DIVISION I STATE CHAMPION SHADOW CREEK. SO, ON PAPER, THAT'S A FAIR TRADE. THE TOP OF THIS DISTRICT IS LOADED WITH THE LIKES OF THE SHARKS AND THEN PERENNIAL POWERS PEARLAND, DAWSON AND STRAKE JESUIT. SO, HOW DOES IT SHAKE OUT IN 2020?

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SHADOW CREEK SHARKS

So, now the Sharks move up a class. They return 10 starters from a year ago and they have DI talent all over the place. Offensively, the unit is led by Baylor-commit Kyron Drones, who was an Elite 11 Finalist this summer. Drones finished with more than 4,000 yards of total offense (3,390 passing) en route to being named the 5A Division I State Championship game MVP. He has weapons to throw to.

Returning includes University of Houston-commit CJ Guidry (612 yards, 9 TDs) and Baylor-commit Randy Masters (356 yards, 5 TDs) at receiver and rising recruit Trent McGaughney at TE. On the line, watch for Caleb Leonard. Defensively, UH-commit Jalen Emery (70 tackles) will lead the secondary along with Jaylen Lane (5 INTs), while rising recruit Terrence Cooks II (who has 35 offers) will patrol the linebacking corps. The motto for 2020 is ACF (Attack- Compete-Finish).

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PEARLAND DAWSON EAGLES

Dawson is coming off a big year, where it won District 23- 6A. It was the first district title since 2016 and first 10-win season for the Eagles since 2013. Dawson will have to find a replacement for dual-threat QB Myles Kitt-Denton, who had over 2,300 total yards a year ago. Offensively, Ja'Den Stewart (1,155 yards, 14 TDs) will tote the rock and he will be leaned on early. Defense will be the calling card. District 23-6A Defensive MVP Cameron Whitfield (79 tackles, 23 TFL, 8 sacks) is back.

Other key pieces include first-team, all-district picks corner David Fisher (4 INTs), safety Blake Smith (41 tackles, 2 INTs) and linebackers Darien Flynn (47 tackles, 11 TFL) and Carter Ostrom (56 tackles, 4 sacks). The kicking game will also be solid with five-star Carter Brown. He made 15 of 16 field goals, was 45 of 48 on extra points and averaged 37 yards per punt a year ago.

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STRAKE JESUIT CRUSADERS

Last year, the Crusaders reached the third round of the playoffs for only the second time in history after another 10-win season. Could they go farther in 2020? Strake Jesuit returns 13 starters. Offensively, the line will be solid led by first-teamer Max Merril, who has offers from schools in all Power 5 conferences. He will be helped on the line by Luke Melton (first-team) and Sean Lade (second-team). They will have to replace the production of Will Dickason at QB and Texas baseball-signee Dylan Campbell at RB, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards. Alex May and Joel Crawford will be looked towards to fill his shoes.

Defensively, Harvard-commit Jacob Psyk will lead the line as they try to be the No. 1 rush defense in the district again. Other names to remember include FB Jake Foster (first-team), WR Robert Smith (second-team), TE Thomas Jewett, DE Reid Codwell (first-team), ILB Jayce Bordelon and DB Lance Saizen.

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PEARLAND OILERS

Things will look much different in Pearland in 2020. Gone is QB JD Head, who is off to Louisiana Tech, while RB Brandon Campbell transferred to Katy before deciding to forego his senior year. The offense brings back no first-team picks but will be led by running back Torrance Burgess, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards a year ago.

Other names to remember on offense include WR Cedric Mitchell, RB Darius Hale and kicker Caleb Mendez. Defensively, the Oilers will be solid with the return of DE Christian Sauter, OLB Dylan Dixson and S Kelekolio Linton — the trio were named first- team, all-district. Amari Deason will be another name to remember on the line.

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ALIEF HASTINGS BEARS

Hastings finished tied for fourth a year ago but just missed out on the playoffs after going 4-6. The 2019 season also saw the end of the David Martel-era as he retired after seven seasons at Hastings with a 27-45 record. Offensive Coordinator Tomas De La Rosa was promoted to take over the reigns of the program. Offensive lineman Jonathan Clark is back after earning second-team, all-district honors. Defensively, cornerback Winfred Donahue is coming off a second-team, all-district season. Hastings has to figure out how to create more turnovers after only recording two interceptions and eight fumble recoveries in 2019.

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ALIEF TAYLOR LIONS

For a third-straight year, Alief Taylor was held to just three wins and have not made the playoffs since 2016. There will be a new head man roaming the sidelines in 2020 after Brian Randle left for the Mayde Creek job, so step in former Fort Bend Bush Offensive Coordinator Shawn Gray. It will be a bit of a rebuild. The Lions' offense ranked next to last, while the defense was in the top four in the district a year ago. Esteban Torres returns after passing for 801 yards and rushing for another 332 with eight total touchdowns. Torres actually made first- team, all-district as a punter, averaging 40 yards a punt. Other players to watch include WR Anthanase Mwamba, DT Maize Washington and ILB Everett Haven.

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ALIEF ELSIK RAMS

The Rams are in full-on rebuild mode heading into 2020. Elsik returns zero all-district picks from a year ago, which saw them go 2-8. Last year was an improvement for Elsik after posting an 0-10 mark in 2018, which was the first winless season since 1980 for the program. Elsik averaged 207.9 yards per game on offense and gave up 276.7 per game on defense. Ja'Marcus Ledet found some playing time as a sophomore and passed for 385 yards and two scores. Others to watch include David Haley, Joseph Nathaniel and Christopher Garrett.

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ALVIN YELLOWJACKETS

Moving over from District 24-6A are the Alvin Yellowjackets, who went 0-10 a year ago and have not posted a win since
the 2017 season, when they went 3-6. This is year two for Tim Tekyl at Alvin. Defensively, Alvin led the district when it came to fumble recoveries with 12 but ranked last in interceptions with zero. Defensive tackle Larry Vojacek is coming off a sophomore season where he earned second-team, all-district honors. Other players to watch include Daniel Blume, Ronald Broussard and Richard Valdez.