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High School football returns with new foes, old rivalries

EAST HARRIS COUNTY — The 2008 football season will bring some new teams, renew old rivalries and for some a hope at redemption.

Opening Weekend

The regular varsity season kicks off this weekend. The first local team to take the field will be the newest addition to District 19-4A: Goose Creek Memorial High School.

The Patriots will field a varsity squad comprised of sophomores and juniors. The Patriots, under the direction of head Coach Bret Boyd will play the first regular game in school history against Pasadena High on Aug. 28 at Stallworth Stadium at 7 p.m.

Friday night action begins in Dayton as they host the Bay City Black Cats at 7 p.m. In Mont Belvieu the Barbers Hill Eagles will host the Port Neches Groves Indians at 7:30 p.m. while the Hargrave Falcons travel to Willis to play the Wildcats at 7:30 p.m.

The Crosby Cougars have the longest road trip of the week. They will travel to Waco on Saturday to participate in the Heart of Texas Classic against Waco University at 7 p.m.

New Foes, Old Rivalries

Every two years the University Interscholastic League (UIL) realigns districts, making adjustments due to travel and changes in student population.

The new 19-A retained Crosby, Barbers Hill, Galena Park and C.E. King. Hargrave moved down to 3-A, while New Caney moved up to 5-A. Coming to the district are newly created high schools Memorial and Humble’s Kingwood Park as well as a familiar face to Crosby fans- Dayton.

In the past Crosby and Dayton have had a heated rivalry. When the UIL split the schools two years ago, they paired Dayton with the East Texas schools. During those two years apart Dayton and Crosby met both times in the Bi-District rounds of the playoff, with the Broncos winning both games.

Then came North Forest. Originally Forest Brook and Smiley High were included in the district. However financial troubles forced the North Forest ISD to close one of its high schools and combine the players into one squad: the North Forest Bulldogs.

Crosby returns MVP

Crosby Head Coach Kevin Flanigan said that it is hard to predict how the season will play out, noting that past performance is no guarantee of future promise that his teams would “play hard every week and we’ll see where we’re at after 10 weeks.” Flanigan notes Galena Park, King and North Forest all have good athletes on their teams. While Barbers Hill failed to make the playoffs last year, Flanigan said they could be a dangerous team “Barbers Hill always plays hard and they do a good job on the field.”

Last year the only team to beat Smiley in district play was Crosby.

Crosby will bring back seven offensive starters and five defensive starters. Anchoring the team will be last year’s District Offensive MVP Chance Casey and 1st Team All District Wide Receiver Xavier Frank.

Eagles seek return to playoffs

Barbers Hill Head Coach Don Price said that looking at the schedule there are no easy weeks. “Obviously Dayton is the front runner. They have their core group of players returning. (Cody) Green and (A.J.) Dugat are legitimate Division 1 players.” King, Price noted, has the most returning starters from last year’s team.

“North Forest is the unknown at this time,” he said. “They have an unlimited potential by combining the squads.” Leading the Forest Brook Bulldogs is tailback Michael Sigers, who many considered the fast sprinter in the district.

Barbers Hill will return their starting quarterback Tony Carmona as well as two offensive linemen. To make up for the loss of their defensive front, Price is moving Jake Ponder from the offensive line to the defensive line.

Back in 3A

“We’re happy to be back in it (22-3A),” Hargrave Coach Mike McEachern said. “There is a lot of history and some old rivalries between the schools.” As one the defending district tri-champions, Cleveland is expected to bring a good team to the field. “We are really looking forward to playing Liberty,” McEachern said. “Hargrave has never beaten Liberty and we would like to be the first to do it.” The team returns seven offensive and seven defensive starters.

Leading the charge will be Running Back Tyler Pate and Nose Guard Aaron Chandler.