Mustangs to face former district foe in opener

FRIENDSWOOD — In the past, Friendswood and Texas City had some real barnburners. While the Mustangs moved up to Class 6A, the Stingarees remain in Class 5A. But the rivalry still remains.

Texas City's main competition now comes from the Fort Bend schools and they are a pre-season No. 4 pick in District 23-5A. Fort Bend Ridge Point got the nod to win the district followed by FB Elkins and FB Marshall.

The Stings finished fourth last year with a 5-6 mark and 4-3 in league play. The were eliminated from the bi-district playoffs by Angleton 33-7.

Texas City returns a very experienced team with six offensive and eight defensive starters plus 14 returning lettermen for head coach Leland Surovik.

Players to watch include DE Dante Hayes (6-5, 250), TB Jarvis Ford (5-11, 185, 4.6), OL Chris Mock (6-3, 265), FS DaQuan Thompson (6-0, 195), DT Tarik Cooper (6-1, 235), and sophomore WR Zach Henry (6-0, 200).

Thompson (58 tackles, 2 INTs), Anderson (99 tackles), and Hayes (46 tackles, 2 sacks) will lead the defensive effort while Ford will pace the offense as he had 574 yards rushing on 111 carries and 4 TDs last season. WR Brandon Edmonds will lead the receiving corps as he had five catches for 123 yards and one score.

The Mustangs went 8-4 last season and was a 6A Division II area finalist after finishing second in the District 24-6 title race which was captured by the Dickinson Gators. The Gators won the league crown in 2014 and advanced to the Class 6A Division I region finals and they are favored to repeat with Clear Creek picked second and Clear Springs selected fourth in the pre-season standings.

Friendswood knocked off Texas City last year 24-0 in dominating fashion.

Friendswood head coach Robert Koopmann will welcome back five offensive and four defensive starters with 19 lettermen so the veteran coach will have some depth issues to begin the season.

Some of the players that will be looked upon as team leaders include senior MLB Casey Thurman (6-2, 215), senior DE Ty Shelby (6-4, 220), junior G Matthew Virts (6-1, 225), junior WR Reed Roher (6-3, 170), and sophomore WR Nick Swaney (6-2, 170).

Leading the offense will be junior QB Tyler Page (6-0, 170) who has proven that he can score from any place on the field. The all-purpose athlete was sidelined with an injury in mid-season and missed the playoffs last year. Page had 105 carries for 624 yards and 14 TDs rushing while hitting 13-of-30 passing for 168 yards and two scores.

Other prospects include LB Evan Gardner, CB Nick Dehoyos, T Connor Stanford, C Dylan Taylor, RB Dylan Friske, NG Ian Jones, S Kevin Dupuis, and WR Tyrick Ramirez.

Friendswood had a great season in 2014 after being elevated to Class 6A and competing in a strong district. It appears the Mustangs should hold their own and certainly compete for a district championship.