A look at District 23-6A for the 2016 football season

PEARLAND — Dawson and Pearland have been in District 22-6A for the past four years. The main competition on the gridiron has been Dawson, Pearland, and Manvel while Alvin and the five schools in Pasadena ISD didn't provide much of a challenge. Usually, one school from Pasadena would emerge from the pack to fill the fourth and final playoff spot.

On any given week -- the big three would run roughshod over most of the district teams until they played one another, but there wasn't a consistency that prepared a team for the post-season.

That should all change for Dawson and Pearland this year after being moved to another district. Because of the opening of Shadow Creek High School from Alvin ISD, Manvel High School dropped from 6A to 5A because of a lower enrollment. However, Pearland will still face their old district rival in a non-district contest.

Dawson and Pearland are now in 23-6A with Brazoswood, Alief Elsik, Alief Hastings, Alief Taylor, and George Ranch.

Let's get a look at the District 23-6A teams that Dawson and Pearland will face for the next two years.

Brazoswood Buccaneers

The Bucs were 4-6 in 2015 and missed the playoffs after finishing with a 2-5 mark in District 24-6A.

Brazoswood had six offensive and five defensive starters returning with 18 returning lettermen for head coach Dean DeAtley.

The Bucs will be led by two offensive threats. WR Jackson Miller had 40 catches for 473 yards and 3 TDs while RB AJ Casas had 565 yards rushing and 8 TDs.

Defensively, FS Dillon Tolbert will lead the way after recording 78 tackles and one interception. OLB will also spearhead the defense after registering 55 tackles and eight tackles for loss last season. Sophomore QB Lane Gaballero will be tested to lead the offense.

Elsik Rams

Elsik advanced to the playoffs last year after after posting a 7-4 overall mark and 6-2 in district. They fell in the opening round of post-season.

The Rams lost 40 lettermen and have only five offensive starters and two defensive starters returning for the 2016 season. They do have 11 returning lettermen.

Elsik lost some really good players to graduation, plus they also have a new head coach in Aric Sardinea who comes from Daingerfield.

RB/LB Kaylon Henley will be a force on both sides of the ball as he registered 56 tackles, 8 TFL, and one INT on defense last season.

Elsik will need to find a quarterback to guide the offense. The battle will be between Ishaiah Ibteto and Anthony Banks. Banks played WR last year and had 26 catches for 410 yards and 3 TDs.

Making the playoffs this season should be a real challenge for the Rams.

Richmond George Ranch Longhorns

George Ranch is coming off a monumental season as they won the Class 5A Division I state championship and were perfect at 16-0. This was the first state title in their young history.

Now, the Longhorns move up to Class 6A and will get a taste of playing with the big boys, though they should fit right in with five offensive and six defensive starters along with 35 returning lettermen -- so the cupboard isn't bare by a long shot.

Some have picked the 'Horns to win the 23-6A title, but they will have to beat Pearland or Dawson to do so.

George Ranch does have some history with Dawson as they played each other the past two years in non-district. The Horns have won both games 42-25 in 2015 and 35-17 in 2014.

QB Antonio Jackson will be returning to guide the offense. He was 83-of-139 passing for 1,686 yards with 12 TDs and 7 INTs in a run-oriented offense.

RB Alex Fontenot (5-11, 190, 4.5) will return to lead the ground attack after rushing for 1,408 yards and 21 TDs last year.

DE Toby Ndukwe (6-2, 225) and DB Adam Beck (6-2, 190, 4.6) will lead the defense.

Hastings Fighting Bears

The Hastings Bears will probably be the weakest team in the district though they have a prideful history.

Head coach David Martel will welcome seven offensive and five defensive starter to go with 22 returning lettermen so they could really surprise some teams who might take them for granted despite them being picked last in the district standings after a dismal 1-9 season.

RB Trevon Houston leads the rushing attack after gaining 608 yards and 2 TDs in 2015. QB Golden Vi-ura had 519 total yards on offense and 3 TDs.

OL Jaiden Williams (6-4, 265) will anchor the offensive line. Safety Kaylon Dorty had 36 tackles and 2 INTs and DB Derren Hunter added 22 stops and 1 INT.

Taylor Lions

The Taylor Lions won their district last year and finished with an 8-3 mark after falling in the 6A DI bi-district contest.

Taylor has nine offensive and six defensive starters returning with 20 returning lettermen. The Lions are picked to finish fourth this year behind Pearland, George Ranch, and Dawson.

The Lions also have a new head coach as defensive coordinator Brian Randle was promoted to the top job.

QB Dontay Warren (6-2, 180, 4.5) will lead the offense as he had 1,949 yards passing for 17 TDs in 2015. RB Emon Pought (5-8, 180, 4.4) will lead the ground attack after rushing for 1,188 yards and 15 TDs last year. WR Jeremiah Haydel (6-0, 170, 4.5) had 47 catches for 808 yards and 10 TDs and will add some speed to the offense.

LB Marquise Thompson will spearhead the defense as he led the way last year with 132 tackles.