Polo Powerhouse

Cy Creek has water polo dynasty

Cy Creek’s water polo program is a dynasty in the making. Photo by Cy Creek Water Polo

Originally appeared on Vype.com.

Even though Cypress Creek water polo added its sixth and seventh state championships the last two years, it’s often overlooked as one of the area’s most dominant dynasties.

A big part of that is being a non-UIL program, which affects exposure, funding and roster depth.

Coach Jeff Chandler lost four of his seven starters to the 2016 graduation, and a pair of first-team, all-state honorees to this year’s ceremony, but he’s been training this year’s group for a number of years.

If seniors Brooke Jones, Alexis Agueros, Kristina Gantz and Rachel Brewer, as well as junior Kayla McQueen, become the utility players and leaders he wants them to be, a three-peat could be on the horizon.

“It’s the next person up,” Chandler said of his team’s mentality. “They know what I expect, and what they need to do to win.”

Although Chandler joked that “scoring more goals than the other teams” was the key to winning another championship, it’s really going to come down to filling the roles of three losses on defense.

Former all-state, honorable-mention Jones doesn’t expect that to be a problem because she said her team performs the best when its back is against the wall.

“We have a very small water polo community at our school, and I think that may push us to be better,” Jones said. “We don’t have a lot of extra [players], so we have to work really hard to get our small bench to be very good.”

Even with Cy Creek’s tradition and excellence in the sport, water polo isn’t growing at the same rate as other schools in Cy-Fair ISD. Jones said the $250 club fee that athletes have to pay to play the TISCA sport is one of the reasons why more athletes at her school are not coming out for the sport, but Chandler thinks the added district competition will help his program long-term.

“I don’t think there’s going to be major changes until it becomes a UIL-sanctioned sport,” Jones said. “We haven’t had any kids from other sports come over to us.”

This article appeared in the December issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy today at any one of our locations!

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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