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SportzBuzz - February 2023

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Ray Davis, Jack Ward, Rich McGuire

DEFENSIVE MINDED St. Thomas Eagles linebacker Jack Ward received the Defensive Player of the Year award at the annual Touchdown Club of Houston Private High School Award Dinner. Ward is pictured with St. Thomas head football coach Rich McGuire (right) and assistant coach Ray Davis (left).

In the wake of a sensational career for the Kinkaid Falcons, senior Micah Bell received the Offensive Player of the Year award at the Touchdown Club of Houston’s Private High School Awards Dinner. Remarkably, Bell follows in the footsteps of his older brother Dillon, who won the very same award just last year. Dillon Bell is now a standout running back for the Georgia Bulldogs while Micah will play football next season for Notre Dame. “It’s just an amazing feeling to win this award,” said Micah Bell. “I just knew that if I had a good season after being named to the pre-season offensive team of the year that I would be here today.”

On the other side of the line of scrimmage, St. Thomas Eagles linebacker Jack Ward received the Defensive Player of the Year award. “I think it’s just a testament to the hard work that myself and our entire team put forth beginning in the off-season,” said Ward. “We grinded day in and day out and I think that’s a big reason that I’m being recognized here today along with many of my teammates who are player of the year finalists.”

In a season in which he was on the field for virtually every offensive and defensive play, Second Baptist Eagles lineman John Dearing received the Ironman Award for his outstanding play on both sides of the line of scrimmage. “It’s very special to win this award,” said Dearing. “We had a great season and knowing I gave my best on every play, this means a lot to me.”

Along with Dearing, Second Baptist place-kicker and punter Charley Schwinger received the Specialist of the Year award. “Winning this award was very special to me because it rewarded all the obstacles I’ve had to power through to become the player that I am today,” said Schwinger.

Meantime, the Episcopal Knights continued their rich tradition of producing sensational offensive linemen with Knights senior Hutch Coward receiving the Touchdown Club’s Lineman of the Year award. “Hutch is the ultimate team player who played at a level way above his size,” said Episcopal football coach Steve Leisz. “He was an absolute lock down offensive guard who moved bodies then flipped to defensive tackle or defensive end.”

Brenda Castro

DEFENDING CHAMPS Standout Bellaire senior Brenda Castro (#7) is one of seven senior starters returning from last season’s undefeated district championship team. Castro will play college soccer at Southern Nazarene College in Oklahoma.

In soccer, it has all the makings of another tremendous season ahead for the Bellaire Cardinals girls’ soccer team. The Cardinals return 11 seniors from a squad that captured an undefeated district championship, while marking the Cardinals’ ninth consecutive district title.

“The expectations are definitely high,” said Cardinals head coach Kelli Tomlinson. “This has been the class we’ve been especially excited about since these girls started here as freshmen. It’s a special group and we’re looking forward to taking our game to a higher level.”

The senior dominated lineup includes seven senior starters led by collegiate soccer signees Anneliese Switzer (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) and Brenda Castro (Southern Nazarene College in Oklahoma).

“Anneliese is our leading scorer with 62 career goals while Brenda is also a huge offensive threat,” said Tomlinson. On defense, Tomlinson said the Cardinals boast a “dynamic duo” with Hadley Wormser and Grace Ritchie. In addition, the super senior lineup includes standout midfielders Peyton Tan and Cecilia Duno as well as defender Isabel Valenciano.

Adelhia Ghonda

MIGHTY MUSTANG Led by the return of senior standout Adelhia Ghonda, the Memorial Mustangs girls’ soccer team has high expectations for the 2023 season. The Mustangs’ senior has signed to play college soccer at Oklahoma State University. (Photo: Doug Durkee Photography)

The Memorial Mustangs girls’ soccer team has its sights set on a bounce-back type of season after finishing an uncharacteristic third place in district last season. The Mustangs advanced all the way in the UIL state semifinals just two seasons ago and back in 2018 won the UIL 6A State Championship.

Leading the way for Memorial is the return of standout senior and Oklahoma State signee Adelhia Ghonda. “Adelhia was coming off a serious injury last year, but she’s now back to full strength,” said Memorial head coach Lindley Amarantos. “Not only is she strong, fast, and possesses great footwork, but Adelhia is also extremely versatile.”

The Mustangs also welcome the return of standout senior Logan Patterson, who’s been on varsity since her freshmen team and was part of the Mustangs state semifinals team two years ago. “Logan is a team captain who is super technical and also extremely versatile,” said Amarantos.

Another major contributor for the Mustangs should be senior midfielder Zoe Seeley. “Zoe has an amazing shot with both feet and can strike the ball form anywhere,” added Amarantos. “Our girls are really athletic and I’m just excited to see what we do this season.”

Editor’s note: Todd Freed is the host and executive producer of H-Town High School Sports, which airs Saturday at 10:30 p.m. on CW39 and Monday-Thursday on AT&T SportsNet SW. To submit high school sports news for possible inclusion in SportzBuzz, please email [email protected].

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