Non-district schedule to set tone for Sharks

PEARLAND SHADOW CREEK — In their first varsity season in school history, the Shadow Creek Sharks set the standard for other teams to follow with a 15-1 record and a trip to the Class 5A Division I state championship game.

While they came up short against three-time state champion Highland Park, the Sharks are going to be looking to be in the same situation in 2019.

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.

Humble Summer Creek Bulldogs
Saturday, August 31 - Turner Stadium - 7:00 p.m.

Shadow Creek beat a good Summer Creek team last year 43-7, but the Bulldogs went on to post a 9-4 record overall and 7-1 in district. They also advanced in the post-season to the 6A Div. II semifinals.

The Sharks defense is going to be tested with an even better quarterback as Bryan Bush (5-7, 165, 4.5) was brought up to the varsity from the JV team after the first two weeks of the season. He threw for 1,985 yards and 30 TDs while rushing for 1,375 and 18 TDs. With cat-like quickness and speed, he was named the District 22-6A MVP. Shadow Creek didn't face Bush last season since he was still on the JV team.

The Bulldogs are a pre-season pick to finish second in their district behind Atascocita who went 11-2 last season. There are five offensive and four defensive starters returning with 22 lettermen.

Bush will get plenty of help with two speedsters at wide receiver in junior Elijah Bean (6-5, 190, 4.5) and Drevion Grant.

The running game will be by committee with three ball carriers in Torrie Curry, Sam Williams, and Andre Holliday.

Summer Creek will also put an aggressive defense on the field led by LB Anthony Hall (5-11, 200, 4.6) who had 121 tackles last season with 37 for loss and 12 sacks. DB DeVion Hargrove had three INTs as both were named All-District.

Other players to watch include DB Sean King (5-10, 170, 4.5), DL Ethan Schwartzman (6-1, 180, 4.6), OL Kelvin Banks (6-5, 270), WR Dontae Harrison, DL Justin Smith, OL Konnyr Musick, and OL Micah Berry.

Prediction: Shadow Creek 35 - Summer Creek 14

Magnolia Bulldogs
Friday, September 6 - Freedom Stadium - 7:30 p.m.

For the second consecutive week, the Sharks will going up against a team called the Bulldogs, but Shadow Creek will take the bite out of Magnolia as well.

The Sharks beat Magnolia last season 49-27 and they will be favored to prevail against this season.

Magnolia finished 2018 with a 5-5 mark and 3-4 in district, but they should have a little stronger team with six offensive and six defensive starters returning with 22 lettermen.

The Bulldogs are a pre-season pick to finish third in their district and to advance to the post-season -- something they missed last year. They play in a tough league with teams like Lufkin, College Station, and Magnolia West.

A new coach will make his debut for the Bulldogs as defensive coordinator Craig Martin leaves Temple to take on a new challenge as head coach.

The strength of Magnolia will be their offensive line with a young quarterback who started his sophomore year.

The line will consist of OL Derek Bowman (6-4, 260), OL Kade Bond (6-3, 295), and OL Matthew Wykoff (6-6, 260) who all have FBS offers.

Quarterback Travis Moore will lead the offense after throwing for 1,182 yards and 15 TDs last season.

The top target will be WR Ben Renfro (6-2, 190, 4.4) who had 788 yards receiving for 11 TDs.

Other offensive prospects include: WR Aidan Garrigan (6-3, 185, 4.6), OL Tristan Simpson, RB Mitch Hall, and TE Ben Coligan.

On the defensive side, the Bulldogs will be led by LB Will Spicer who had 94 tackles and three sacks last year.

Other defensive prospects include: DB Hunter Kitchens (6-2, 185, 4.6), and DB Nathan Hakes (6-2, 180, 4.7).

Prediction: Shadow Creek 42 - Magnolia 21

Alief Elsik Rams
Friday, September 13 - Freedom Field - 7:00 p.m.

The game against Alief Elsik was a complete blowout as the Sharks thrashed the Rams 60-0.

Shadow Creek fans can expect the same this year as Elsik is picked to finish next to last in District 23-6A.

The Rams were 0-10 overall and 0-7 in district last season. The game against Shadow Creek will probably get ugly fast.

Elsik has three offensive and six defensive starters returning with 22 lettermen. While the defense will be the early strength of the team at the start of the season, the Rams won't really have the team to stop the high-octane Sharks offense.

DB Ayomide Ogunbunmi (6-1, 175, 4.5) will lead the Elsik defense where he will be joined by DB Lionel Gaulden (5-9, 165, 4.5), LB Tramel Scott (6-0, 175, 4.7), DT Ugochukwu Udeh, LB Jahme Perry, LB Ridwan Abass-Aless, LB Amadou Weah, DB Terrell Johnson, and DT Larry Lockridge.

Offensive prospects are: QB Ja'Marcus Ledet (6-0, 185, 4.7), WR Komari Vorrice (5-9, 160, 4.6), WR Dezmond Tealer, and RB Jarius Ruiz.

Prediction: Shadow Creek 48 - Elsik 7