Shadow Creek picked to capture 23-6A crown

SHADOW CREEK — The Shadow Creek Sharks have only been playing varsity football in their young history for two years. In those two seasons, they have established themselves as a state power finishing 15-1 in their first year -- losing to three-time state champion Highland Park in the Class 5A Div. I state title game in 2018.

However, in 2019, head coach Brad Butler and the Sharks had some unfinished business as they went 16-0 and captured the 5A Div. I crown to post an incredible 31-1 two-year varsity record.

As the Sharks approach their third year, they now will compete in the top class in Texas having been realigned to Class 6A by the University Interscholastic League in 2020.

Head coach Brad Butler has collected his share of accolades though he is the first to give credit to his coaching staff and players while shrugging off the recognition he has received.

Last year, he was selected as the District "Coach of the Year" by his coaching peers while also being named the Chronicle's "Coach of the Year" and the Touchdown Club of Houston also selected him with the same honor.

In 2018, Shadow Creek was a pre-season pick to finish sixth in their district. They won the district and finished 15-1 as the Class 5A Div. I state runner-up.

In 2019, Shadow Creek was a pre-season pick to finish second in their district to the Foster Falcons. They won the district beating Foster once in their league showdown and again in the 5A Region III Div. I semifinals on their way to the 5A Div. I state throne room and a 16-0 mark.

In 2020, the Sharks are favored to win the Class 23-6A crown and rightly so, but it won't come so easily as they step up the level of talent in the biggest class in Texas.

In fact -- they will find out just how much talent there is in Class 6A when they make their 6A debut against two-time defending 6A Div. I state champion Galena Park North Shore on Friday, September 25 at North Shore at 7:00 p.m.

The biggest question for the Sharks is how they will adjust to playing in 6A? And there is a big difference between 6A and 5A.

It is hard to top going 31-1 the first two years of varsity football with both seasons ending in the state finals and posting a 1-1 record for a state championship making Shadow Creek the cream of the crop.

The initial outlook for the Sharks this season is they will fill the playoff slot in 6A Div. II which is important because Division II tends to be the least packed with juggernauts compared to Division I.

Proof of that is Katy Taylor, who finished fourth in their district last season, advanced to the 6A Div. II state semifinals.

However, Shadow Creek doesn't enter the season without some talented and elite players which starts with senior quarterback Kyron Drones who was an Elite 11 finalist. Drones had a phenomenal year as a first-time starter as he was 199-of-345 passing for 3,390 yards and 46 touchdowns and 10 INTs. Drones also had 825 yards rushing on 134 carries for 18 TDs in leading the Sharks to a 16-0 record. Drones was also named Offensive MVP of the state championship game.

Junior Kelvon Brown was named as the District's Newcomer of the Year as a sophomore after he had 912 yards rushing on 155 carries while scoring 11 touchdowns. Brown also had 166 yards receiving on 11 catches and three TDs so he should provide added experience this season.

Drones will also have added firepower in his receiving corps from a year ago in senior WR C.J. Guidry (25 catches, 612 yards, 9 TDs) and junior WR Randy Masters. Guidry was a first-team All-District pick while Masters was named to the second-team.

The Sharks also have another offensive weapon in senior placekicker Eric Landaverde who was named first-team All-District after he hit 61-of-64 PATs and booted 8-of-8 field goals for a total of 85 points. He was the second-leading scorer on the team.

The offensive line will be anchored by first-team All-District senior Caleb Leonard. The Sharks will be looking for some other linemen to step up to protect Drones and open up holes for Brown.

Defensively, the Sharks will be led by some outstanding returning players such as linebacker Terrence Cook while Jalen Emery and Jaylen Lane will be returning to the secondary.

There are some holes to fill at key positions, but Shadow Creek will be a force once again and are the early favorites to claim the 23-6A crown. The question is, can they win a title in Class 6A?