Friendswood set to compete in new district

FRIENDSWOOD — The 2018 football season will present a whole new challenge for the Friendswood Mustangs as they dropped to Class 5A after the realignment by the University Interscholastic League (UIL). Friendswood's enrollment was under the numbers to stay in Class 6A where they have been the past four years.

However, moving into a new district from 24-6A to 10-5A didn't get any easier. Some believe the league just got tougher.

Friendswood will now be in District 10-5A Division I with Alvin Shadow Creek, Angleton, Fort Bend Hightower, Galveston Ball, Richmond Foster, Rosenberg Terry, and Texas City.

The pre-season predictions have Friendswood in third place behind Angleton and Foster with Hightower picked to finish fourth. Order of the other teams picked were Texas City, Shadow Creek, Galveston Ball, and Terry.

This is the first varsity season for the new Shadow Creek as they have spent their first two years competing at the junior varsity level as a new school.

Friendswood finished 9-4 last season while advancing to the 6A Division II region semifinals. They were 5-2 in district competition.

The Mustangs will return five offensive and three defensive starters and head coach Robert Koopmann, who has been at the helm of the Mustangs for seven years, will no doubt keep the wide spread offense on the field that will challenge the new defensive coordinators of the district. Koopmann enters this season with a 51-22 mark as a head coach for a .698 winning percentage which is better than former head coaches Henry Winston (.611) and Steve Van Meter (.663).

Koopmann has the luxury of having two players that will compete at the quarterback position as sophomore-to-be Luke Grden (6-1, 170, 4.8) enters the season as the possible starter after he stepped in for junior-to-be QB Christian Lee (6-4, 190. 4.7), who broke his collar bone in the final game of the 2017 season giving then-freshman Grden the opportunity to show his potential in leading the Mustangs to the third round of the post-season.

Lee, who started most of the games during the regular season, was 71-for-131 (.542) for 834 yards and 6 TDS with 3 INTs. He also had 315 yards rushing on 81 carries for 5 TDs.

Grden was 64-for-101 passing for 1,008 yards and 13 TDs with 3 INTs.

Koopmann will need to replace several ball carriers especially Mason Barnes who had 1,375 yards rushing.

Defensive back Colton Halata might change sides to take over some of the running back duties. WR Austin Alvarez will be one of the top receivers after catching passes for 248 yards and 4 TDs last year.

Players to watch include OL Michael Gibson (6-3, 310), OL Roderick Hutchinson, OL Miles Morgan, WR Zac Zamora, and WR Cymon Sherer.

The defense will be led by junior-to-be Dane Roenne (6-0, 190) who had 80 tackles last year. He will be joined by DE Davis Tinger (6-4, 230) who had 56 tackles and two sacks.

Other defensive players to watch include DB Trey Mappe (6-1,185), DL Elliot Spiller (6-1, 205), DB Luke Sanchez, DL Mike Hermes, and DL Blaze Hilton.