Manvel, Shadow Creek picked to finish second in district

MANVEL - SHADOW CREEK — Manvel and Shadow Creek play in two different districts, but they were both picked to finish second in the league race.

Manvel finished second behind the Fort Bend Marshall Buffaloes last season. The Mavericks compete in District 11-5A Div. II which is a very weak district. The only losses the Mavs suffered in the regular season in 2018 was to Crosby (49-47) and to FB Marshall (52-51 OT). Marshall went on to record a 15-1 season mark falling in the Class 5A Div. II state finals.

Barbers Hill fell to Manvel in the bi-district round of the playoffs 62-42, but Huntsville ended the Mavs season early in the second round 34-10.

The season for Shadow Creek turned out much differently for the Sharks as they were a pre-season pick to finish sixth in District 10-5A Div. I which is perhaps the most talented league in Class 5A.

The pre-season prediction wasn't a surprise since 2018 was the first varsity season for the Sharks and no one really knew how much talent they had.

Shadow Creek (15-1) went on to win their district with a 7-0 mark and then ran the table all the way to the Class 5A Div. I state championship before their Cinderella season came to a 27-17 end to three-time state champion Highland Park.

Despite a one-loss season in 2018, Richmond Foster still got the nod to win the league title this year over the Sharks. But Shadow Creek proved that no matter what the pre-season pick is before the start of the season, the game is still won or lost on the field of competition.

Manvel Mavericks

Manvel posted a 9-3 mark in 2018 with a trip to the area round in the post-season where they lost to Huntsville.

Head coach Kevin Hall will welcome one offensive and five defensive starters back to go with 23 lettermen for the 2019 season as graduation hit the Mavs hard last year.

The only offensive starter returning is All-District WR Jalen Paxton (6-0, 185, 4.5) who should provide a special skill set for the offense.

Top offensive players to watch are: QB Tucker Yarborough (6-1, 215, 4.9), RB Donavan Eaglin (5-11, 225, 4.6), OT Christen Robinson (6-4, 285), and RB Jordan Vaughn (6-1, 190, 4.6).

Paxton will anchor the offensive effort after last season when he caught 23 passes for 333 yards and five TDs.

Eaglin is the leading ball carrier as he had 170 yards on 30 carries for three scores.

Yarborough saw limited action under center as was 18-for-29 passing for 301 yards and five TDs with no INTs.

Defensively, the Mavs will be ahead of the offense with five returning starters.

Leading the defense will be All-District DT De'Undre Potts (6-0, 285) who will be double-teamed by opposing offenses. This should free up other defensive players to fill in the gap to protect the goal line.

Other top defensive players to watch include: FS Mycah Sesay (9 solo, 11 assisted, total 20 tackles), CB Jaqai Neal (5-10, 185, 4.5), DB Treyvon Jenkins (15 solo, 5 assisted, total 20 tackles).

Kicker Luis Moreno also returns after hitting 67-of-71 PATs and 3-of-6 field goals for 76 points.

Shadow Creek Sharks

Head coach Brad Butler is 15-1 as a head coach at Shadow Creek and he anticipates that his gridiron warriors are going to be ready to challenge any team they face this season.

Even though the Sharks are playing in perhaps the toughest 5A district in the state, Shadow Creek has begun a winning tradition with the goal of advancing to the state title game. And the competition in this league will certainly prepare them for a deep run in the post-season.

The Sharks lost some key players, but the cupboard is far from empty as they return six offensive and eight defensive starters with 32 lettermen ready to step up and maintain their winning ways. The JV team also posted a 9-1 season record so the expectation of winning travels down the ranks.

While the Sharks lost a very talented quarterback in Ja'Marian George, coach Butler will turn the offensive controls to junior QB Kyron Drones (6-1, 195, 4.8) who is a very talented duel threat signal-caller passing or running the ball. Drones was 21-of-24 passing for 337 yards, four TDs, and one INT.

Drones will have some talented receivers in WR Jared Jackson (24-409-8 TDs), WR CJ Guidry (28-608-6 TDs), and WR Greg Hancock (12-222-3 TDs).

Other offensive players include: OL Corey Smith, OL Caleb Leonard, and OL Josh Martin.

The defense should be the diamond that sparkles with eight starters returning that include: DE Alec Bryant (6-2, 240, 4.7), S Xavion Alford (6-0, 180, 4.6), LB Jeremiah Harris (6-0, 205, 4.5), DE Ronald Triplette (6-1, 240, 4.9), LB Damien Jackson (6-1, 275), S Jaylen Lane (5-10, 185, 4.7), LB Warren Shankle, and LB TJ Marshall.

Bryant had 70 tackles, 25 TFL, and 13 sacks while Harris had 90 tackles with 16 sacks, and Alford registered 58 stops with 6 INTs.

The Sharks are aggressive and have speed to burn on defense and they should be difference in any close game.

Every game will be a challenge and the experience the Sharks got last season will go a long way in seeing them repeat as district champions while setting up another deep playoff run. Don't be surprise if these gridiron warriors are making another trip to Arlington to challenge for a 5A Division I state title.

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Jalen Paxton
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Kyron Drones
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Alec Bryant
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Xavion Alford
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Jeremiah Harris