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SportzBuzz – September 2015

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Courtney Lark

The return of standout wide receiver Courtney Lark should be a major boost for the Bellaire Cardinals this season. Lark will play college football at TCU. (Photo: Kevin B. Long /

After Herb Kunz was promoted to defensive coordinator for the Bellaire Cardinals in January, the last thing he expected was to then begin the season as the Cardinals’ new head football coach. But when Trey Sissom unexpectedly left Bellaire this summer to become the new head coach at Fort Bend Travis, Kunz was chosen to replace him.

“I think it’s an outstanding situation,” said Kunz, who’s been coaching high school football for the past 20 years. “Bellaire has a standard of excellence that’s very attractive. I’m excited about our kids and our coaching staff. Coach Sissom and Trey Herrmann before him did a great job of building up the program, and the next step we’re looking towards is having success in the playoffs.”

Kunz is especially looking forward to the return of wide receiver Courtney Lark, who has committed to play college football at TCU. Another top returning player is senior linebacker Donovan Stiner, who’ll play college football at Baylor University.  “I’m looking at Donovan and Courtney to provide a lot of leadership for our team,” said Kunz.

After losing 11 players to the college-football ranks, the Lamar Texans will be looking to reload this football season. A state finalist three yeas ago, Lamar posted a lofty 11-1 record last year. “We have a smaller senior class than usual, but I’m still pretty optimistic about the season,” said Texans head coach Tom Nolen.

The Texans’ biggest high-profile player is senior offensive tackle Dixie Wooten. The 6’5”, 310-pound senior has committed to play for the University of Houston next year. Meantime, 6’3”, 265-pound center Brian Bourgeois has a college offer from Davidson, but is also looking at several Ivy league schools as well as Rice University. Another highly regarded returning player is three-year starting defensive back Logan Latin. In the backfield, juniors Owen Holt and Carlton Smith are competing for the starting quarterback spot left by the departure of quarterback J.W Ketchum, who is playing college football at Baylor.

If history is any indication, the Texans should again be a powerful force, having won five consecutive district titles and earned a playoff berth in 28 of the 30 seasons Nolen has coached at Lamar. “We’ve got a great school, with a really good football program and a stable coaching staff,” said Nolen.

William Heck

The St. Thomas Eagles are loaded with offensive weapons this season, including the return of standout running back William Heck.

After defeating rival St. Pius to win this summer’s TAPPS 7 on 7 State Championship, the St. Thomas Eagles have their sights set on winning a state title when it matters most this coming fall. “We definitely have the makings of one of our best teams here at St. Thomas,” said head coach Tim Fitzpatrick. “At the skills position, we have all our players back. We should have a pretty potent offensive attack.”

Landon Malouf

Wide receiver Landon Malouf is one of several returning offensive weapons for a St. Thomas Eagles team that has its sights set on winning a TAPPS State Championship.

Leading the offense is senior quarterback Michael Keating, who threw for over 1,800 yards while rushing for another 900 yards last year. Running back William Heck, who rushed for 900 yards despite being slowed by a high-ankle sprain late in the season, is back this season, as is fellow running back Walter Hinckley. The Eagles also welcome the return of standout receivers Landon Malouf and Drew Guidroz, as well as highly touted Episcopal transfer Jhanmon Ausbon. The 6’4” junior has already committed to Baylor University.

In volleyball, the Memorial Mustangs are looking to build upon last season’s undefeated district championship. Memorial went 12-0 in district and 28-9 overall, but was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round by Jersey Village.

Amanda McCloskey, Alexis Pratt, Maddie Phillips

Led by returning starters Amanda McCloskey (at left), Alexis Pratt and Maddie Phillips, the Memorial Mustangs volleyball team is expected to be a powerful force once again this season. (Photo: Rusty Graham)

“I think we’ll be a better team defensively,” said Memorial head coach Beth Gammill. “I know we’ll have a stronger back row. As a whole, I really like what I see from the girls as far as their work ethic and how well they play together as a team.”

The Mustangs team is led by senior middle blocker Maddie Phillips, who will play Division 1 college volleyball at Lipscomb University. “Maddie has a really quick arm swing and is extremely agile at the net,” said Gammill. “She’s just a great player.”

Other returning starters include senior outside hitter Amanda McCloskey and junior libero Alexis Pratt. “Amanda is a very smart, hard-hitting player with great court vision, while Alexis is a tremendous defensive specialist who can dig the ball out of nowhere. She’s just all over the court,” said Gammill. “This is just a really fun team to coach.”

Editor’s Note: Todd Freed is the Emmy Award-winning co-host and producer of the KUBE SportsZone, which airs Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. on Channel 57-KUBE. To submit high school sports news for possible inclusion in SportzBuzz, please email [email protected].

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