With Lamar, Heights and Westside, District 18-6A has a trio of programs used to winning and making the playoffs. The consistent standard of success is remarkable. There’s a lot of tradition in this league, anchored by the Texans.
What makes this district interesting this particular season, however, is the relative parity at the bottom. Between Westbury, Bellaire, Sam Houston and Chavez, all would not be wrong to think a playoff appearance is in the works if things go right.
Will they, though? We’ll have to wait and see.
Lamar Texans Heights Bulldogs Westside Wolves Westbury Rebels Bellaire Cardinals Sam Houston Tigers Chavez Lobos
VYPE PRESEASON AWARDS
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Kenneth Rosenthal, Lamar OFFENSIVE MVP: Jahbari Kuykendall, Westside DEFENSIVE MVP: Carson Skotak, Lamar BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Allen Rainey, Heights SLEEPER TEAM: Bellaire
The Texans have been a consistent winning staple in inner city Houston with 11 district championships over the last 12 years. Coach Tom Nolan established Lamar as a city power, and coach Michael Lindsey has carried on the tradition of success. This season should be no different as the Texans return 12 starters (6/6) from an 8-3 team. There is a wealth of offensive talent in senior 6-foot-1, 195-pound QB Kenneth Rosenthal (1,275 yards, 11 TDs passing; 404 yards, 7 TDs rushing), junior 6-foot, 205-pound RB Jordan Reaves (170 yards, 3 TDs), senior RB Kelton Weathers (292 yards, 2 TDs rushing; 194 yards, TD receiving) and junior WR Tristen Brown (333 yards, 4 TDs). The defense is just as potent, particularly up front with senior LB Carson Skotak (64 tackles,9 tackles for loss, 4 sacks) and senior 6-1, 285-pound DT Jarvis Butler (32 tackles, 12 tackles for loss).
The Bulldogs have made the playoffs 11 consecutive seasons and this year are likely to make it a sweet dozen. Coach Stephen Dixon’s team returns 14 starters (7/7) from a 4-7 team. All those four wins came during district play after Heights started last season 0-5. Senior 6-foot-3, 190-pound ATH Allen Rainey (10-15 passing, 65 yards last season; 244 yards, 5 TDs rushing), who will primarily play quarterback this season, will be the Bulldogs’ go-to on offense. He is effective wherever you put him on the field. He just needs the ball in his hands. Offensively, Heights is a force physically with junior 6-foot-1, 330-pound OL Frank Moss Jr. and senior 6-3, 240-pound TE Chance Hollins. The defense will likely be the Bulldogs’ strength early on behind playmakers like senior LB David Nico (71 tackles, 5 tackles for loss) and senior DL Hezekiah Adams (33 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks).
Westside is another Houston ISD team with a lengthy postseason streak. The Wolves have made the playoffs each of the last 11 seasons. Westside returns 10 starters (6 defense) from a 6-3 team. The offense will be paced by senior RB Jahbari Kuykendall (1,603 yards, 14 TDs) and senior QB Thaddeus Watson (1,039 yards, 16 TDs passing). They make for a dynamic 1-2 punch. The defense is dominant up front behind senior 6-foot-3, 260-pound DL Jayden Gaines (4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks), senior DE Gerry Spencer (8 sacks) and junior DT Chris Garcia (2 tackles for loss). Concerns for the Wolves are at WR, OL and DB.
The Rebels snapped an eight-season playoff drought last year and hope to ride that momentum into this season. Fifteen starters (8 offense) return from a 4-7 team. The offense is led by do-it-all senior Rickey Golightly Jr. (494 yards, 4 TDs passing; 307 yards, 4 TDs rushing; 25 tackles), who plays quarterback and linebacker, and senior RB Anthony Bravo Jr. (624 yards, 7 TDs rushing). The defensive front is spurred by senior DL Terry Warren Jr., and the secondary is perhaps the team’s positional strength behind senior DB Jomaal Carroll (55 tackles) and senior 6-foot-2, 150-pound DB Kahmar Pratt (44 tackles, 2 INTs).
Bellaire returns 17 starters (9 offense) from a 3-7 team. Senior Elan Goetz (112 receiving yards; 3 passes defensed; 182 kick return yards) is the headliner, a dazzling playmaker for the Cardinals at receiver, defensive back and on special teams. Junior WR Josh Burrell (254 yards, 2 TDs) is also an impressive talent. There is more quality two-way playmaking for Bellaire, especially in the trenches with senior Kevin Henry, senior Eduardo Poblano, junior Jordan Wright and senior Andrew Guerra.
SAM HOUSTON TIGERS
The Tigers have not made the playoffs since 2003. In the last 10 years, they’ve won eight games total. However, last year’s two wins were the most the Tigers had in the previous three seasons combined and was the first time they won more than one game in a season since 2012. Coach Charles Brown III seemingly has Sam Houston on the right track. Eleven starters (6 offense) return from a 2-8 team. The marquee talent is RB Howard Smith (1,149 yards, 11 TDs). The Tigers also have a pair of precocious sophomore talents in QB Trevan Williams and 6-foot-1, 160-pound WR Sincere Lewis. Defensively, the Tigers lean on senior stalwarts in the secondary in DBs Saul Skipper and Jamarcus Toliver.
Chavez has made the playoffs just once since 2010. The Lobos have won just five games total over the last two seasons. But there is a new era as coach Rafael Hernandez, formerly the offensive coordinator, takes over as the Lobos’ third head coach in three years. He will lead a team that returns 11 starters (6 offense) from a 2-8 team. The offense will be ignited by senior 5-11, 165-pound QB Kamren Sanders (708 yards, 8 TDs passing; 209 yards, 2 TDs rushing) and 6-foot-1, 190-pound WR Davien Jernigan. Defensively, junior LB Clinton Simmons (76 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, INT) is the headliner.