Dawson set for non-district foes

PEARLAND — Hurricane Harvey upset the beginning of the 2017 season when massive flooding and destruction delayed the non-district schedules of most of the Houston area high school games.

Hopefully this year, the 2018 season will begin without any major storms and teams can stay on schedule as planned.

Dawson and Pearland both have new head coaches and they also have new non-district teams they will face following the realignment by the University Interscholastic League (UIL).

Both teams will once again compete in District 23-6A against the same previous teams except with the addition of Houston Strake Jesuit who joins Dawson, Pearland, Brazoswood, George Ranch, Alief Hastings, Alief Elsik, and Alief Taylor.

Dawson Eagles vs Conroe Oak Ridge

Dawson will face a tough non-district schedule against Conroe Oak Ridge (Friday, August 31 - Away), Summer Creek (Saturday, September 8 - Away), and Dickinson (Friday, September 14 - The Rig).

The Eagles faced Oak Ridge for the first time in 2016 and came away with a hard-fought 31-21 win. However, last year the two teams were unable to play due to Hurricane Harvey canceling the season opener for both teams.

The War Eagles went on in 2017 to finish with a 6-4 mark losing to Mesquite Horn 45-24 in the opening round of the post-season.

Oak Ridge is a fifth pre-season pick in District 15-6A with Klein Collins, The Woodlands, Klein, and Klein Oak picked in front of them as a dark horse team to advance in the post-season. They also have to compete against Klein Forest, Conroe, The Woodlands College Park, and Klein Cain.

The War Eagles return seven offensive and three defensive starters as well as 29 returning lettermen so they do have a nucleus of players that could surface in the playoffs.

Head coach Dereck Rush will be looking for a quarterback to guide the offense and a defensive line that graduated though he does have some experience in the secondary. Obviously, the offense will be ahead of the defense when the season kicks off.

Dawson vs Humble Summer Creek

Dawson played Summer Creek last season for the second time and are now 0-2 against the Bulldogs after dropping the game in 2016 by the score of 47-34 and then in 2017 by the score of 33-14.

The Bulldogs finished 7-4 overall and 5-2 in district while advancing in the playoffs in the area round before losing to Friendswood 27-26 when they botched the snap on a game-winning field goal attempt. Friendswood beat Summer Creek in the regular season 27-19.

Summer Creek is a pre-season third place team in District 22-6A with Humble Atascocita selected to win the district followed by Kingwood, Summer Creek, and Pasadena South Houston. The other teams looking to make the post-season include Pasadena Memorial, Pasadena Dobie, Humble, Pasadena, and Pasadena Sam Rayburn.

Summer Creek returns five offensive and four defensive starters with 24 returning lettermen. The Bulldogs have a new head coach in Kenny Harrison who was at Port Arthur Memorial.

The offensive line has some veteran players, but the Bulldogs will be searching for a signal-caller to them.

Defensively, the 'Dogs have some young defensive players that will need to mature quickly if they are going to be successful early in the season.

Dawson vs Dickinson

One of the top teams in the area has been the Dickinson Gators over the past several years. Even though they are picked to finish third in District 24-6A, head coach John Snelson always seems to see his players step up to play above their projected talent especially after the community was devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

Dickinson is picked behind Clear Springs and Clear Lake while Clear Brook, Clear Creek, Clear Falls, and Alvin are listed behind the Gators.

The Gators were 8-3 last season and 5-2 in district while advancing the area round where they fell to Atascocita 50-21 to end their playoff run.

Dickson returns four offensive and four defensive starters with 21 returning lettermen. Snelson will turn the offense over to QB Mike Welch (6-0, 180) who has Jalen Wydermyer (6-5, 235) who is a projected DI recruit.

On defense, Snelson will turn to OLB Colby Mouton (5-10, 190) who registered 110 tackles, 5 sacks, and 3 INTs last season as ring leader of the defensive unit. He is joined by another headhunter in LB Landon Roque who had 116 tackles and 4 sacks last season giving the Gators one of the best LB duos in the Houston area. Add junior DL J.T. Greer (6-1, 225) who had 63 tackles and 6 sacks with DB DJ Warnell (6-2, 175, 4.5) to the mix with 45 tackles and 6 INTs and the Gators will challenge any offense they might face.