Freshmen Phenoms

Freshmen lead the way for Class 6A playoff programs; predictions

Friendswood freshman Luke Grden. Vype

Originally appeared on Vype.com.

Ready for a Playoff Fun Fact?

Of the 10 Houston-area programs remaining in the Class 6A postseason, three have freshman starters at quarterback.

What?

Yes, North Shore, Katy and Friendswood put the ball in the hands of athletes who can’t even drive a car yet.

Mustang Dematrius Davis took over after midseason and looks the part with his feet and arm. The east Houston star already has an offer from Baylor. Katy’s Bronson McClelland does more than just hand off the ball to Deondrick Glass and Josh Ogelsby. He is well-trained and has a big future. Friendswood’s Luke Grden is 14-years-old and has a live arm. He’s the future of Mustang football.

But that just seems a little nerve-racking for Jon Kay, Gary Joseph and Robert Koopman, who play their best available player.

It’s the regional semis, folks. Let’s get ready for a wild weekend of big-boy Houston-area football.

Here are the predictions.

CLASS 6A

REGION III

DI

Katy vs Atascocita, NRG Stadium, Friday at 7 pm

I know, I know. Atascocita was 3-0 at NRG Stadium last year making their run to the state Final Four. Take it easy Eagle fans. The Katy D is giving up like a touchdown a game. Unless that defense can hold down two of the top RBs in the state, Katy does their thing. Eagle QB Jack Roe has over 2,900 yards from scrimmage, but Katy eats QBs for brunch.

Katy by 14

Lamar vs North Shore, Friday at 7 pm

This is a complete battle of Houston heavyweights. North Shore is a few years away from being dominant again and Lamar is experienced with tons of DI talent. So this is a battle of the young stars of North Shore and the College Ballers at Lamar. Lamar makes plays on special teams, offense and defense. The 'Shore' is relying on a freshman QB Dematrius Davis.

Lamar by 4

CLASS 6A

REGION III

DII

Cy-Fair vs Friendswood, TDECU Stadium, Friday, 7 pm

Trenton Kennedy has rushed for over 1,418 for Cy-Fair, who will out-physical the Mustangs. Friendswood's 14-year-old QB is legit for the future, however. Bobcats defense is too tough.

Cy-Fair by 14

Langham Creek vs Kingwood, TDECU Stadium, Saturday, Noon

The Lobos are so explosive with QB Herron, Mehn at RB and Eke at WR. If the defense gets a few stops, Langham stampedes past Kingwood.

Langham Creek by 17

Region II

Longview vs Klein Collins, McLane Stadium, Saturday at 2 pm

This will be Klein Collins’ toughest test of the year. Longview is no joke and very balanced on offense. They have only one loss and beat Rockwall, who beat The Woodlands and took Sasche to the wire. Longview is legit. Klein Collins is as well with their heavy set backfield with Spiller (OU-commit) and Powell. Rhyne is gritty at QB. The defense could be the best in H-Town.

Tigers by 1

Lufkin vs Westfield, Texan Drive, Saturday at 1 pm

Lufkin’s offense has NOT seen anything like the Westfield defense. Mustang QB Gipson is a true dual-threat and has recently received a DI offer from Memphis as a junior. He’s dialed in.

Westfield by 17

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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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