District 22-6A had some impressive individual and team talent last season, but none of its four postseason qualifiers managed to win a playoff game.
The district's quality of play certainly appears on the rise, and hopefully a repeat of the 2020 playoffs won't occur. Pasadena Dobie, Channelview and Deer Park have more than enough to win a playoff game (or two) and bragging rights against area district foes.
The district is loaded in quality play, and the lack of postseason success in 2020 is not indicative of the strength of its teams.
Pasadena South Houston
Pasadena Sam Rayburn
(Bold Denotes Playoffs)
Most Valuable Player: Cameron Gray, Pasadena Dobie
Offensive MVP: Demetrias Charles, Channelview
Defensive MVP: Fernando Garcia, Channelview
Breakout Player of the Year: Kam'Ron Webb, Pasadena South Houston
Sleeper Team: Pasadena Memorial
Pasadena Dobie Longhorns
Dobie returns 10 starters from a 9-1 district champion and bi-district playoff finalist. Six of those starters are on offense. Coach Kevin Berneathy's throwback Wing-T offense will be in full effect once again, headlined by 6-foot, 190-pound senior QB Cameron Gray (1,678 passing yards, 18 TDs; 491 rushing yards, 5 TDs), junior 5-foot-10, 165-pound RB Jalen Baldwin and senior 6-foot-1, 205-pound RB Trajan Davis.
The offensive line is in strong shape behind physical behemoths like senior 6-foot-3, 295-pounder Richard Gary and senior 5-foot-11, 290-pounder Dakarey Ramsey.
The defense will need youngsters to step up, but the front is a force behind junior DLs Logan Riley (5-10, 220) and Anforny Lee (6-foot, 205), and junior 6-foot, 210-pound LB Nigel Hill.
Berneathy hopes his team can overcome concerns in the secondary and receiver to earn its first playoff win since 2014.
The Falcons are a team to keep an eye on. Channelview returns 14 starters from a 4-5 bi-district playoff finalist. The Falcons have what it takes to be a legitimate contender for the district title.
Offensively, it starts with senior 5-foot-11, 172-pound QB Demetrias Charles and a veteran offensive line led by sophomore 6-foot-1, 290-pounder Aden Boutte and senior 5-foot-10, 240-pounder Jordan Thomas. Charles threw for 1,948 yards and 20 TDs and rushed for 394 yards and nine TDs last season. Senior 5-foot-6, 155-pound WR Josiah Prince is a dynamo on the perimeter.
Defensively, the Falcons are buoyed by three-year letterman senior 5-foot-8, 210-pound DL Fernando Garcia and senior DBs Damontrion Buchanan and Cameron Richardson.
Deer Park Deer
The Deer are young this season, with just seven returning starters after graduating 25 lettermen from a 5-6 playoff team, but they have enough talent to make things interesting in the district playoff race.
The offense is anchored by senior 6-foot-1 QB Teague Sedtal, senior 5-foot-8, 153-pound RB Alex Argueta and senior 6-foot, 235-pound OL Ethan Alvarado.
Defensively, junior 6-foot-1, 196-pound LB Dino Demetriou and senior 5-foot-11, 180-pound DB Jake Schaper are relentless playmakers. If the youngsters can step up around a talented core, Deer Park could surprise some people this season.
Pasadena South Houston
Last season was a rough go for coach Patrick Longstreet's Trojans, but he has experience returning in trying to right the ship.
South Houston brings back 17 starters and 26 lettermen.
Sophomore 6-foot, 210-pound QB Kam'Ron Webb is back for an anticipated encore after an impressive freshman season in which he ran for 1,048 yards and 12 TDs and threw for 524 yards and five TDs. He will have plenty of weapons around him in versatile senior Kendrick Banks (5 TDs), 6-foot-3, 195-pound junior WR Jeremiah Sheppard (245 yards, 2 TDs) and senior RB Ja'Cory Johnson (460 yards, 5 TDs). Sophomore RB Christian Epps is a promising youngster in the backfield.
Defensively, the Trojans are led by 6-foot, 180-pound senior DB Dreshon Downey (40 tackles) and 6-foot-1, 235-pound senior DE Jeff Gamboa (38 tackles, 4 sacks).
Pasadena Memorial Mavericks
The Mavs broke a two-year playoff drought with last year's upstart performance and a return to the postseason could be in the cards. Memorial brings back 10 starters from a 7-4 bi-district playoff finalist. Seven of those starters are on offense.
The Mavs have plenty of playmaking in senior 5-foot-8, 175-pound RB Xavier Lerma (520 yards, 4 TDs) and sophomore 5-foot-9, 165-pound RB Jaylon Bell, and senior 5-foot-9, 155-pound WR Quincy Swain (428 yards, TD). The offensive line is in fine form with 6-foot-3, 265-pound senior Alex Mateo and 6-foot-1, 280-pound senior Ivan Robles.
There is no set starter at quarterback, but if coach Jamie Crocker can settle that sooner than later, Memorial will be full go. Junior 6-foot, 175-pound QB Hayden Stallings is one to watch.
On defense, the Mavs are led by senior 5-foot-9, 200-pound LB Jayden Balderaz (58 tackles, INT) and senior DB Cleveland Tucker.
Pasadena Sam Rayburn Texans
Last year was big for the Texans. They snapped a 30-game losing streak and established good momentum despite a 3-7 finish to the year. Thirteen starters return, and optimism is that Rayburn could sneak into the playoff picture if enough things break right.
Coach Demond Stafford likes what he has in experience but has concerns about his team's speed and depth. The offense is in stable hands with junior QB Esteban Nava and junior 5-foot-10, 165-pound WR Jesus Mendoza (350 yards, 3 TDs), but the defense has a lot of question marks, especially in the secondary.
The front seven has strong potential in LBs senior Angel Villamar (5-10, 185) and junior Joseph Duron (5-8, 170), and senior 6-foot, 268-pound DL Eddie Perez.
Pasadena has had it rough lately. The Eagles have won more than one game in a season just once in the last six campaigns. Last year, they went 0-10. But the Eagles do return 15 starters and 20 lettermen, so they will have experience in spades in trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
Coach David Zapien expects his team to be faster and stronger. Offensively, the Eagles get going with sophomore 6-foot-1, 165-pound QB Cameron Murry (479 passing yards, 3 TDs) and an offensive line steadied by 6-foot-3, 320-pound senior Ivan Maldonado and 6-foot-2, 250-pound junior Humberto Baez.
On defense, Zapien will rely on DLs senior Uriel Gomez (40 tackles, 2 sacks) and junior Santos Gonzalez.