RACE FOR THE RING

The Class 6A Top 20 powered by Champion Energy

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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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After the Mariners came alive late in Monday's series opener to hand the Houston the loss and keep their playoff picture hanging in the balance, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Tuesday to try and decrease their magic number. Here's how the middle game went:

Final Score: Astros 6, Mariners 1.

Record: 28-27, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (5-3, 3.57 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Casey Sadler (1-2, 5.40 ERA).

Both teams trade first-inning runs

The Astros struck first in Tuesday's game, not waiting around until the ninth inning to get on the board. Instead, they jumped out to an immediate 1-0 lead after a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker in the top of the first. The Mariners responded quickly, though, getting a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning before a two-out RBI-double of their own to tie it 1-1.

Astros score five in the sixth

The 1-1 score held all the way until the top of the sixth when the Astros would flip the script from the night prior, taking advantage of some mistakes by Seattle to put up a big inning. First, Michael Brantley started the inning with a solo go-ahead homer to make it 2-1. Then, Kyle Tucker would get his third hit of the night with one out before eventually scoring after a walk and two wild pitches, making it 3-2. With two walks to keep the inning alive and put some insurance runs on base, Martin Maldonado took advantage with a big three-run home run to extend the lead to 6-1.

Valdez finishes seven strong, Astros even series

After allowing the one run in the bottom of the first, Framber Valdez recovered and put together a solid outing on the mound. He allowed just five hits total, two of which came in the first, then back-to-back singles in the fourth and a single in the fifth, while otherwise keeping the Mariners at bay. He would end up completing seven innings of one-run baseball while striking out eight. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 0 HR, 108 P.

After Valdez, Enoli Paredes would take over in the bottom of the eighth, working around a leadoff single to get a scoreless inning to keep it 6-1. In the non-save situation, Josh James would come in for the bottom of the ninth and finish off the win for Houston.

Up Next: The finale and rubber game of this three-game set will start a bit earlier on Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 5:40 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Nick Margevicius (1-3, 5.35 ERA) for the Mariners going against Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.90 ERA) for the Astros.

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