RACE FOR THE RING

The Class 6A Top 20 powered by Champion Energy

The Class 6A Top 20 powered by Champion Energy
Vype

The defending state champions sit atop the rankings for a second-straight year

Originally Appeared on VYPE

The 2019 VYPE Class 6A Preseason Football rankings are here!

Of course, the defending state champions sit atop the rankings for a second-straight year with Katy sitting right behind them. That will make the opening week game very exciting. Check out the rest of the Top 20 below.

No. 1 North Shore Mustangs

Here come the champs loaded and ready to defend their title. North Shore enters the 2019 season as the heavy-weight favorite not only to claim the District 21-6A Championship but also make a run back to state in December. Jon Kay guided the "Beasts of the East" to the program's second state crown in the previous three seasons in 2018 with a perfect 16-0 mark and an unforgettable win against Duncanville. Dematrius Davis passed for 3,373 yards and 43 touchdowns, while his top target Shadrach Banks (Texas A&M-commit) reeled in 60 grabs for 1,299 yards and 17 touchdowns. Zach Evans returns to anchor the backfield as the top recruit of the entire 2020 class in the country. Evans rushed for 1,793 yards and 29 scores a year ago. The bigs upfront include Alabama-commit Damieon George, Jaeden Roberts and Edzavier Deblaw. Arkansas pledge John Gentry joins Evans in the backfield. Defensively, Kansas State-commit Jojo Wilson and Utah State-commit Upton Stout will hold down the secondary, while Miami-commit Corey Flagg Jr. will anchor at linebacker. The season begins with a monster battle against the Katy Tigers.


No. 2 Katy Tigers

North Shore is getting all the shine, but do not sleep on the Katy Tigers. Tiger Nation won't say it, but they want H-Town to remember that they are still the brand of the city with eight state titles and 15 state title appearances. The Tigers went back to the drawing board and are ready for 2019. The offensive line is experienced with Drew Murphy, Justin King, Dakota White and Brayden Gammel to protect QB Bronson McClelland, who enters his junior season after throwing for 2,300 yards and 30 scores a year ago. His primary WR will be Jordan Patrick along with Steven Stiles. Tight ends Samuel Dunn, Fernando Garza and Jake Norman are giant. Running backs Sherman Smith and Ronald Hoff will tote the rock. Defensively, the strength is the secondary. Hunter Washington is a national recruit, along with Heights' move-in Bobby Taylor. UTSA-commit Bryan Massey, Dalton Johnson and Hamilton McMartin are super talents as well. The linebackers are led by Jaylen Phillips and Ty Cana. The front will be the only question mark.

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With both Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers making their way back from surgeries that sideline that Astros pitchers last season, and given the team's thin depth in their starting rotation, Houston fans and media have waited on bated breath for scraps of information to leak out of the notoriously secretive organization regarding their progress.

In a week full of mostly Hurricane Beryl-related bad news, the Astros organization had some discouraging news of their own when manager Joe Espada told the media that Lance McCullers has been shut down from pitching after his arm did not respond well to his latest bullpen session. The team says they are "formulating a plan for what's next."

Another Astros starter making his way back from injury is HOF-bound Justin Verlander. Verlander has been on the IL since June 16th with neck discomfort and, while there was initial hope that JV would only miss a start, his status has become increasingly murky as he is still apparently not close to returning.

Shifting from the health questions of the starters to the performance questions of the bullpen, some Houston fans have voiced concern via social media that Astros big-ticket 9th inning pitcher Josh Hader is not looking like a "shut-down" closer. Hader gave up more home runs in the first week of July (3) as he did the entire month of June (2).

In this week's episode of Stone Cold Stros, Charlie Pallilo and Brandon Strange discuss how the fluid dynamics of Astros pitching is impacting the competitive landscape of the division race. To watch the conversation, just click the video YouTube embedded in this article. To listen to the entire episode on podcast, search "Stone Cold Stros" in your favorite podcast app or click one of the following links.

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