Comeback Season

Kingwood’s offensive firepower key to deep playoff run

Kingwood has won two UIL Girls Soccer State Championships. Vype

Kingwood women’s soccer is not new to piecing together a successful season year in and year out.

Last year, the Lady Mustangs advanced all the way to the Region III-6A Semifinal match against eventual state qualifier Katy Tompkins.

This season, a collision course of this same magnitude is in the cross hairs for Kingwood as it continues its march through the playoffs.

But this year that meeting could go differently mainly because the way Kingwood is scoring – an average of 4.2 goals per game.

“Our offense last year was pretty good,” Kingwood coach Pres Holcombe said. “Colleen was one of our forwards and she’s lightening fast. Emma was also a varsity player last year but this year she has stepped into a bigger role tremendously. She scored four goals in our first playoff game, which is crazy.

“So in the attack with her and Alex Dumas and Carly Stroud, we have a very powerful offense.”

Kingwood wrapped up its remarkable 28th-straight District Championship on March 23 with a 5-0 win against C.E. King.

The Lady Mustangs finished District 21-6A play with a mark of 13-0-1.

“We wanted to end district really well because it sets you up for playoffs,” Kingwood sophomore Emma Ebert said. “We wanted to make sure we ended it strongly and kept our streak.”

Ebert has been a big key to why Kingwood’s offense has soared in 2018.

The sophomore in district play alone netted 14 goals and recorded five assists. For the season, Ebert is second on the team with 24 goals and 11 assists.

“I think I’ve grown more confident this year since it’s my second year,” Ebert said. “I’ve been working on my accuracy more this year. Last year I missed a lot, this year I’ve been focusing on that.”

Along with Ebert, Stephen F Austin commit Colleen Feagins has continued her impressive career with another stellar season.

Feagins, the reigning District 21-6A Offensive MVP, leads Kingwood with 27 goals and 14 assists.

The offensive juggernaut that Kingwood has created this season, outscoring opponents 30-1 in the final six district contests, has been a big help to first-year goalkeeper Mikayla Carlos.

“We have a really great offense, their shots are amazing.” Carlos said. “Trying to save them in practice is a challenge for me and so I feel like I’ve gotten better as a keeper trying to save their goals.”

In district play, Carlos allowed just four goals and made 21 saves. Overall on the year, Carlos let by seven goals, while making 49 saves.

The combination of the offensive firepower of Feagins, Ebert and also add in Alex Dumas (9 goals) and Carly Stroud (6 goals) and the defensive prowess of the back line and play of Carlos in goal makes Kingwood a dangerous team.

Kingwood enters the second round of the playoffs ranked No. 6 in the most recent Texas Girls Coaches Association poll. The only two Houston programs in front of them in the rankings are No. 4 Cinco Ranch and No. 1 The Woodlands.

Kingwood will try and get back to the Region III Tournament again in hopes of reaching the state tournament for the first time since 2002.

“Last year since it was my first year, I really didn’t know what to expect or what I was going into,” Ebert said about playing as a freshman last year. “But this year I feel more confident knowing what’s going to happen and what we’re going to go through.”

Kingwood has won two UIL Girls Soccer State Championships in program history in 1995 and 1999.

Kingwood faces George Ranch in the Area round of the 2018 playoffs today at 5 p.m. at Challenger Stadium.

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Walter will host The Night of Champions. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images.

In 2014, Austin Walter rushed for 2,704 yards and 34 touchdowns as a senior at Crosby High School. Despite falling short of a state title, Walter was named District 19-4A MVP and finished his prep career with a little over 6,000 rushing yards on 613 carries (6,062 yds). Seven years later, Walter will be returning to his high school alma mater to give back to the community that laid the foundation for an NFL career as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

"It's a blessing to be able to come from a small town and be one of the guys who made it out," Walter said. "Not a lot of people made it to the NFL or the NBA from Crosby High School. To be one of the first, it's an amazing feeling. It's a blessing and an honor."

On Thursday, April 15, Walter will host The Night of Champions to benefit the Crosby High School Booster Club from 6-9 p.m. The event will be a weight lifting competition at Crosby High School for student-athletes around the area to showcase their talents and abilities.

In addition to hosting a weight lifting showcase, Walter will also share his life teachings with student-athletes in attendance. Perseverance and not taking no for an answer will be one of the most vital messages the Crosby native will share with aspiring pro-athletes. It's the two virtues Walter has leaned on from little league football to the NFL. And as an undrafted prospect in 2019, it was that same morale that helped him outshine six other running backs during the 49ers rookie training camp that same year.

"Before I started playing football in high school, a lot of people thought I was too small," Walter said. "They thought because we played little league and not in middle school we would not make it in high school. My twin brother [Ashton Walter] and I did not listen to that. We just kept pushing forward."

"When I left Rice, people thought I was going to play in the Canadian league or AFF, and I did not take no for an answer. I believed in myself. And I believed in God. And if I can make it out of a small town like Crosby, anybody can make it...It's the mentality I've had my entire life of not quitting. I feel like that is what got me to the point I am at right now."

Whether their life goal is to play in the NFL or not, Walter's primary objective for The Night of Champions is to be an inspiration and show kids they can find success despite their environment. It is one of the things the former XFL running back (Dallas Renegades) wished he would have seen growing up in Crosby.

After graduating from Crosby High School, Walter went on to have a record-breaking collegiate career at Rice University. He became one of two players in school history to rush for over 1,500 yards (1,744 yds.) and 1,000 kick return yards (1,548 yds.) in four seasons with the Owls. In February, Walter signed a one-year contract extension to re-join the 49ers ahead of the 2021 NFL season.

Click here to learn more about The Night of Champions at Crosby High School or support Walter and the Crosby High School Booster Club.

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