A Whole New Look

Spring football is in full gear in Houston

2018 is shaping up to be another great year in high school football Vype

It might be a little crazy, but it's already time to start looking toward the 2018 football season in Houston.

Across the city, teams have fired up their 7-on-7 teams for the summer circuit and high school programs are either conducting spring football practices or working in the weight room to get ready for next year.

VYPE has scoured the city and found stories you should know about heading into the 2018 season.

A Rare Night Off by Joshua Koch

James Clancy hasn’t had a Friday night off in a while. Being a head football coach in Texas doesn’t give you that luxury from August until December.

In 2017 though, as the new head coach of Klein Cain, Clancy only had a junior varsity squad to field. Hence giving him Friday nights off.

“I got to watch some of my friends coach who I never would have gotten a chance to, which was neat,” Clancy said. “Just go watch some of the surrounding programs that do a good job. Try to steal some good ideas. I never get to watch people warmup or how they do pregame and stuff like that.

So we just would look at the area schedule and a couple of us would pick out a game and go watch it.

“It was interesting.”

Along with taking away the on- the-field knowledge from watching the game from the stands, Clancy admitted he got to take in the entire Friday night lights atmosphere.

“It kind of recharged us,” Clancy said. “We were jealous of everybody that was getting to coach and be a part of the life on Friday night. We’re excited to get back to that.”

Klein Cain fittingly will open the 2018 season against fellow newly-birthed program Cypress Park on September 1 at Klein Memorial Stadium.

“We’re very excited,” Clancy said. “It’s a long way away in terms of days, but for me as the head coach and the rest of our coaches it feels like it’s next week. We have a sense of urgency, we still have a lot of things we need to do to get better as a program and as a team.

“We know that clock is ticking and that we have to have our guys ready.”

The Wait is Over by Thomas Bingham

Cypress Park waited two years for a varsity football program, but is now only months away from having one. The Tigers enjoyed success during their freshman and JV seasons, so they can make a splash on the state’s biggest stage as early as this fall.

“I think we’re good with our starters and the ones we’re going to run out there with,” said Cy Park coach Greg Rogers. “It’s just being able to hold up in a tough district and stay healthy.”

Three of the players who will ease the transition are fullback/outside linebacker Sergio Small, tailback/free safety James LeBlanc and two-way lineman Bryan Gutierrez.

“Most of them hardly ever come off the field,” Rogers said of the trio. “They play offense, they play defense and they’re on our special teams.”

Small, LeBlanc and Gutierrez led the Tigers to an 8-1 record during their JV season in 2017, and have the work ethic to continue that success against the state’s biggest schools.

“Even in the offseason, they’ve become our leaders,” he added. “They get out front and outwork everybody.”

Park won’t have spring football this year, but is preparing for its inaugural campaign with an earlier start to fall practice and an extra scrimmage. Coach Rogers knows his team is joining a tough 14-6A district, so closing out fourth quarters will dictate its playoff chances.

Coaching Shuffle by Joshua Koch

District 23-6A will have a mix of the new, old and very familiar when it comes to the head coaches strolling the sidelines next fall.

The district, which includes the Alief schools – Elsik, Hastings and Taylor – Brazoswood, Strake Jesuit, Pearland, Dawson and George Ranch, is the only one in the Greater Houston area that will have four new head coaches next season.

“I think it’s good any time you can mix some new blood in with some guys who have been in it for a while,” newly appointed George Ranch coach Nick Cavallo said.

Cavallo moved over from Rosenberg Terry, where he was the defensive coordinator. Other moves included Ricky Tullos moving within the district from George Ranch to Pearland; Klay Kubiak, the son of Gary Kubiak, being promoted at Strake Jesuit and Mike Allison moving from Clear Brook to Dawson.

With the new coaches moving in and add in the existing coaches, there is a combined 62 years of head coaching experience between the eight men.

“I think it’s good when you can lean on some veteran leadership like that, but at the same time bring some new energy to the district as well,” Cavallo said.

Taking Winning Ways to Lake Creek by Joshua Koch

Pat Kennedy brings one kind of mentality to Montgomery Lake Creek – a winning one.

Coming from The Woodlands, which as recently as 2016 played for a state championship, Kennedy is used to being around a winning atmosphere.

That is what he is bringing to the Lions and it starts with the players.

“When I was at The Woodlands, we always goal set through the kids,” Kennedy said. “The kids will determine how much they buy into what we’re selling. They’ll determine the amount of success that we have.”

Kennedy, who started with The Woodlands in 1998, was a part of a coaching staff that guided the program to nine district championships in the past 10 seasons.

Being at a brand-new program is different.

Kennedy has spent the spring months not running spring football but rather ordering equipment, finalizing the team’s schedule and playing a role in the hiring of the high school’s other head coaches.

Despite not having spring football, Kennedy said there has been no lack of energy in the weight room.

“I think any time you have something new the kids are fired up,” he said. “When I came in here they’ve been excited about what we’re doing. They’ve worked really hard.”

So for a coach that is at the helm of a new program, what are the expectations for 2018?

“A realistic goal would be being about .500,” Kennedy said. “Is that where I want to be? No. I want to win every game. Is being 10-0 a realistic goal? No. But somewhere in between there that’s where we’re going to be.

“We’re going to be between 0-10 and 10-0 and we’ll let the kids decide where we’re going to be.”

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

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The Houston Texans have just a couple of practices before their preseason debut. Here are 11 observations from Tuesday’s workout.

1.The offense stunk on Tuesday. It was inconsistent and resembled more of last year’s disappointing performances than any other practices in this training camp.

2. Davis Mills and his receivers had a few miscommunications on Tuesday. Mills sailed a pass to nobody when he and Brandin Cooks weren’t on the same page. There were some other throws to nowhere in the day. It was something that hadn’t been present at all in training camp to this point.

3. There were a few “good coverage” notes on Tuesday. Not to say there was one specific player, but a handful of team-level efforts that led to the note.

4. It wasn’t all wrong from the offense. After a pass to nowhere Davis Mills and the offense bounced back. It was a second down during a team drill and Mills fired a pass to Chris Moore for six yards. Rex Burkhead would pick up a first down on a rush a play later. A non-positive play last year on first down doomed this team. That hopefully won’t be the case for this year’s team.

5. Chad Beebe is going into his fifth season in the NFL, his first with the Texans. The former Vikings pass catcher has flashed a few times in training camp. He has an uphill battle being new to the team but is trying to make himself a factor.

6. Phillip Dorsett had a big catch over the middle. Davis Mills stood back and delivered as the offensive line held up and Dorsett reeled it in for a huge gain. No defenders were around him. It is between Dorsett and Chris Moore for the chance to be the slot wideout opening day. With Dorsett’s return to practice, it is becoming a fun camp battle.

7.Speaking of returns to practice, Tytus Howard was back. Howard has his reps managed and after practice, offensive line coach George Warhop Howard was “getting his wind” back. When Howard was having his reps managed rookie tackle Austin Deculus played at right tackle. Deculus looks much more consistent than minicamp and OTAs.

8. Kenyon Green is still out with an injury. It is getting to a critical time where the time missed might prevent the first-rounder from starting week one. Max Scharping hasn’t looked bad in his chances with the first team. Offensive line coach George Warhop said they believe in Green and his ability and he has been in meetings to stay up to date.

9. Ka’imi Fairbairn was perfect in one of the special team periods. He drilled all five kicks, each further than the last, and was crushing the football.

10. Derek Stingley was very sticky in some early reps on Nico Collins. The third overall pick is so smooth when he is working. Later his coverage forced a throw from the offense that had no chance of being completed.

11. The play of the day was made by Derek Stingley. The offense was about five or six yards out of the end zone needing a touchdown to win. With six seconds left on the clock, any completed pass that wasn’t a touchdown was game over. Davis Mills dropped back a step and fired to Nico Collins who Stingley covered. The rookie kept the second-year player out of the end zone to earn the defense a win. This was one of the better Stingley days and he did a lot of work. At one point, it looked as though he and Rex Burkhead had some words and almost led to an offense and defense scuffle, but it stayed to just some shouting. The rookie shined today.

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