Non-district schedule to challenge Mustangs

FRIENDSWOOD — Friendswood will compete in a tough new district this season and a tough non-district schedule should prepare them when they face their district opponents.

As the season begins, the Mustangs have a great problem with two young quarterbacks that both proved themselves last year in junior Christian Lee and sophomore Luke Grden. The non-district schedule may prove to be the deciding factor on who emerges as the starter.

Friendswood will open the season against the Dayton Broncos (Friday, August 31 - 7:30 p.m. - Away), Clear Brook Wolverines (Friday, September 7 - 7:00 p.m. - Home), and La Porte (Friday,

September 14 - 7:00 p.m. - Away).

Friendswood vs Dayton

For the first in several years, Dayton is not a pre-season pick to advance to the playoffs. They are on the bubble behind Port Neches-Groves, Crosby, Nederland, and Barbers Hill with the Broncos in fifth placed followed by Vidor, Santa Fe, and Baytown Lee.

The Broncos return eight offensive and seven defensive starters from a young team in 2017 that finished 3-6 overall and 3-5 in district. But don't be surprised if they use their strong tradition to pull off a few upsets to make the post-season.

Dayton will be led by QB A.J. Nail (6-2, 190) who threw for 1,253 yards and 13 TDs. He will be flanked by running back Justin Santee (5-11, 205) who had 995 yards rushing and 8 TDs.

If the Broncos can fill a few holes up front, the offense has the potential to be lethal that will go with an aggressive 3-4 defense that has always exhibited speed and gang tackling.

Friendswood vs Clear Brook

Clear Brook will have a new coach this season after former head coach Mike Allison return back to his former team, the Dawson Eagles, after former head coach Eric Wells became the assistant athletic director for Pearland ISD.

The cross-town rival Wolverines were 5-4 overall and 3-4 in district last season and failed to make the post-season. Brook returns six offensive and five defensive starters to go with 16 returning lettermen so experience will be premium if they want to make the playoffs.

Clear Brook is a pre-season fourth-place pick in District 24-6A, the district that Friendswood left after dropping down to Class 5A following the UIL realignment.

Clear Springs is the favorite to capture the league crown followed by Clear Lake, Dickinson, Brook, Clear Creek, Clear Falls, and Alvin.

The Wolverines have a pair of talented receivers in Lorenzo Thompson and La'Darrion Flores, but will need to find a QB who can get the ball to them.

Defensively, Brook will need their young, but athletic defense to step up if they are going to get on the winning track.

Friendswood vs La Porte

La Porte barely made the playoffs last season when they were 4-6 overall and 3-3 in the District 21-6A standings. They are a pre-season fourth pick with North Shore as the favorite followed by Beaumont West Brook, Deer Park, La Porte and then followed by C.E. King, Beaumont United, Channelview, and Baytown Sterling.

La Porte has six offensive and seven defensive starter returning with 19 lettermen from a team that lost to Summer Creek 63-24 in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

On offense, RB Brandon Collins (5-11, 205) looks to be an early offensive threat after gaining 563 yards and 6 TDs last year. QB Trent Soltes (6-1, 170) will get the nod to guide the offense while an experienced offensive line should help him as he gains confidence as the new signal-caller.

La Porte has always shown an aggressive defense and they will be led NG Devin Henderson (6-2, 275) who had 88 tackles a year ago. DE Ryan Kendzior (6-3, 265) will be another force on that side of the ball against opposing offenses after registering 8 sacks.

If the Mustangs can get off to a 3-0 start in non-district, then that should build their confidence when they begin their district schedule.