Huge Upside

North Forest duo the talk of inner-city football

Demas, a sophomore, was the go-to guy for North Forest. Vype

When people think about high school recruiting hotbeds in Houston, the names Katy, Lamar, North Shore and Manvel come to mind.

But North Forest?

Two national recruits are emerging from the inner city school, bringing the likes of Alabama’s Nick Saban, Texas’ Tom Herman and TCU’s Gary Patterson through the school’s field house.

Junior offensive lineman Javonne Shepherd and sophomore receiver Demond Demas are putting the school right in the epicenter of the football recruiting map.

“I can’t go anywhere around the neighborhood or on campus and not be asked about them,” coach Clifton Terrell said. “I’ve been around the district for 28 years, and there haven’t been any more high-profile guys than these two.

“They are really grounded kids and we keep them grounded,” he said. “They motivate the other kids here. They see that if Javonne and Demond can do it, so can they. It just takes hard work and effort. We want it to continue to be a revolving door of coaches after they leave.”

At 6-foot-4, Demas is the go-to guy for North Forest. He is a dominant receiver, a punt and kick-returner and can play safety on defense.

He was the Offensive MVP of the District as a sophomore and a first- teamer on defense.

“He’s so explosive and there isn’t a ball that he doesn’t think he can’t catch,” Terrell said. “He does everything for us and he never wants to leave the field.”

The Big Man on Campus also helped lead the basketball team to the second-round of the playoffs and is now making noise on the track.

‘My first love is football,” Demas said. “I can’t put my finger on what I like the most.”

One of the things that make Demas a great player is his work ethic. He got it from admiring the hard work his father and grandfather put into creating their own successful businesses.

In pursuit of his NFL goal, Demas works relentlessly on his craft setting a good example for his younger brothers. His mom is also a motivating factor as he tries to make sure he can one day provide for her.

What else makes Demas a great player is his faith. Demas understands his God-given talent will have a lot to do with him reaching his goals.

Because of that faith, Demas doesn’t hesitate to give up the opportunity to go to football showcases on Sunday, so that he can be in church. That was the case when “The Opening” sponsored by Nike came to Houston. Demas was invited but chose to skip the event so that he could be in church.

Javonne Shepherd is so new to the sport of football. The right tackle started playing football in the ninth grade and has upside a big as his 6-foot-6 frame.

“Shepherd is really strong and has worked so much on this craft,” Terrell said. “He has a great football IQ, but at the same time wants to pancake you on every play. He has a great motor.”

His motor was on display at The Opening when he ran a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash at 320-pounds. He walked away with the Offensive Lineman MVP.

“I’ve known about ‘The Opening’ before I even started playing football,” Shepherd said. “I didn’t think I would get ever get MVP, especially on my first time. It’s a big deal for me.”

When his football journey began, he admits that he got whooped the first day of practice. Since then, Shepherd has become a leader that his teammates respect and look up to.

“These are great young men,” Terrell said. “We are real with them and take the recruiting process very serious. We want them to get out of here and make us proud. We guide them with tough love, but they are more than our players, they are family. We will provide them with everything we can, they know I’ll answer every time they call and I will treat them like they are my own sons.”

That’s how it’s supposed to be.

This article appears in the March Issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations today!

 

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Yordan Alvarez's homer in Wednesday's game gave him 100 RBI on the season. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Winners of three straight, six of their last seven, and eight of their last ten, the Astros had the chance to move yet another game closer to clinching their playoff spot if they could secure the series with a win against the Angels on Wednesday. Even though it looked as though they were headed towards a loss in extra innings, they would ultimately come out ahead.

Final Score (12 innings): Astros 9, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 91-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yimi Garcia (4-9)

Losing Pitcher: Sam Selman (0-1)

Garcia goes six shutout innings

Although he didn't have swing-and-miss dominance in this start, Luis Garcia could still capitalize on a struggling Angels offense and post a shutout quality start against them. He allowed three walks and three hits throughout his outing but stranded all of them while getting outs on balls in play. His final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 79 P.

Alvarez reaches 100 RBI as Houston's offense keeps rolling

That performance had Garcia in line for the win, as two homers handed him a 3-0 advantage which he held. Houston once again used early offense to take a first-inning lead, as a leadoff walk by Jose Altuve turned into a monster 456-foot by Yordan Alvarez, pushing him to 100 RBI on the season. The score held at 2-0 until the top of the fifth, when Jason Castro led that frame off with a solo homer to extend the lead to three runs.

Extras in Anaheim

Phil Maton was first out of Houston's bullpen in the bottom of the seventh, but a single, double, and walk loaded the bases with no outs to put him in a jam. A lineout kept the runners put for the first out, but a single and a walk would make it a one-run game and left the bases loaded as Maton would get pulled.

Kendall Graveman entered to try and stop the bleeding, but after a force out at home to put that within reach, Jack Mayfield came through for Los Angeles with a go-ahead three-run double, giving the Angels their first lead of the series at 5-3. In the top of the eighth, a walk by Alex Bregman brought Alvarez back to the plate, and he would nearly miss a game-tying homer and instead got an RBI-single to make it 5-4.

Alvarez would still come in to tie the game, hustling home from second on an RBI single by Yuli Gurriel to knot things up 5-5. Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he sat down LA in order with two strikeouts. Still tied in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly came in to force extras, and despite being shadowed by the winning run on the bases after a leadoff single, retired the next three batters to send the game to the tenth.

Astros keep battling and take it in the twelfth

Jake Meyers took second base as Houston's free runner in the top of the tenth, but he would go nowhere as the Astros went down in order, giving the Angels another chance at a walk-off. Instead of giving Shohei Ohtani a free pass immediately, Houston would let Blake Taylor throw two balls to him before giving him the intentional walk.

Taylor then gave up a single to load the bases with no outs, and after getting a force out at home for the first out, Yimi Garcia would replace him. Thanks to a great play by Chas McCormick, giving him multiple in the game, the Astros would live to see another inning as he would make a great catch in right field and then throw out Ohtani at home.

In the top of the eleventh, a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel moved Aledmys Diaz to third, but that's as close as Houston would come, leaving them stuck at five runs. After Garcia retired three more batters in the bottom of the eleventh, the game moved to the twelfth, where Houston would get back in front on an RBI single by Jake Meyers, then padded the new lead on a two-RBI double by Jose Altuve, who would also score on a sac fly by Alex Bregman, making it 9-5. Josh James came in and wrapped things up in the bottom half as Houston secured the series victory and reduced their magic number to two against Oakland and three against Seattle.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game series, and the last time these two teams will meet this year, will be an 8:38 PM Central start on Thursday. The expected pitching matchup is Alex Cobb (8-3, 3.59 ERA) for Los Angeles and Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.11 ERA) for Houston.

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