Private School Directory

SportzBuzz - September 2023

Click the Buzz Me button to receive email notifications when this writer publishes a new article or a new article in this column is published.
Tristen Brown

IN GOOD HANDS Lamar senior Tristen Brown leads a standout group of returning wide receivers for the Texans. The Vanderbilt commit is seen here making a sensational leaping catch against Heights last season.

After advancing to the second round of the UIL football playoffs a year ago while winning their 13th district championship in the last 14 seasons, the Lamar Texans have high expectations for another big season this fall. “We have an extremely talented group of about 40 seniors,” said Texans head coach Mike Lindsey.

The Texans lineup is led by senior wide receiver Tristen Brown, who has committed to playing college football at Vanderbilt. Brown is also an All-Greater Houston Preseason selection by the Touchdown Club of Houston. Plus, Lindsey said the Texans feature another pair of talented receivers in Dayvyon Gipson and Justin Howard

Lindsey also expects a dominant type of season from senior tight end Jadon Garza-Pender, who has collegiate offers from multiple Ivy League schools. Garza-Pender is impressive in the classroom as well, where he ranks third in his senior class. 

Another top playmaker for the Texans should be quarterback Jordan Reeves, who was a standout running back and kick returner for the Texans last year. Reeves has collegiate offers from Texas Tech and several other major schools. “Jordan has a great arm and is also a tremendous runner,” said Lindsey. On the offensive line, 6-foot, 6-inch, 275-pound tackle Dramodd Odoms is listed as one of the top players in the state at his position and is being heavily recruited by elite football programs such as LSU, Texas Tech, TCU, and many others.

Defensively, the Texans boast plenty of talent as well led by cornerback Chris Boykins and safety Camren Vandible, who both have multiple collegiate offers. “We’re returning six starters on each side of the line of scrimmage, so we’ll have a lot of experience,” added Lindsey.

Luke Rives

OFFENSIVE FIREPOWER Led by standout senior Luke Rives, the Stratford Spartans are expected to feature several explosive offensive weapons this coming season. Rives has committed to play college football at Dartmouth. (Photo: C. Allen Raif Photography)

The Stratford Spartans will have some big shoes to fill with the graduation of several key players from last year’s 8-3 playoff team, but head coach Todd Rankin believes youth will be served quite well for the Spartans this upcoming season. “We’re extremely excited about the young players who are taking over starting roles,” said Rankin. “Our junior varsity went 9-1 as district champs last season, so we expect good things from this up-and-coming group of players.”

Offensively, the Spartans should be especially strong at wide receiver, where Dartmouth commit Luke Rives returns for his senior season. In addition, standout defensive back Braxton Wakefield is shifting over to wide receiver this season and gives the Spartans another big target at the receiving position.

Filling the void left by the graduation of standout quarterback Nash Rankin is senior Aaron DeLeon. “Aaron is an accurate passer who can also tuck and run the ball. He gives us a nice dual threat from the quarterback position,” said Rankin. On the offensive line, sophomore Foard Polley has already received an offer to play collegiately at Baylor University. Polley’s older brother Hawkins was a star tight end for Stratford last season and is now suiting up for Baylor.

“We also have a pair of strong running backs in Javier Denson and Derrick McGee, so I’d say overall our skills positions will be the strength of this team,” added Rankin.

Donte Lewis

SUPER EAGLE With the return of standout senior quarterback Donte Lewis, the St. Thomas Eagles have high expectations for another big season. Lewis accounted for over 3,000 yards of offense and 37 touchdowns in leading St. Thomas to last season’s TAPPs Division 1 State Semifinals.

With the return of several key starters from last season’s state semifinalist in TAPPS Division 1 football, it has all the makings of a big season ahead for the St. Thomas Eagles. The Eagles were 10-2 last season before losing to Dallas Parish Episcopal in the state final four. 

The Eagles will be led by senior quarterback Donte Lewis, who accounted for over 3,000 yards of offense and 37 touchdowns last season. “Donte is extremely talented,” said St. Thomas head coach Rich McGuire. “He has a strong arm and is extremely fast.” 

A star pitcher and infielder for the St. Thomas baseball team that advanced to this past season’s state championship game, Lewis played in this summer’s Hank Aaron Invitational Showcase Game in Atlanta, featuring 44 elite high school baseball players from across the country.

Back on the gridiron, the Eagles also welcome the return of standout running back and Vanderbilt commit Johann Cardenas. Even while missing the last five games of last season with a knee injury, Cardenas still rushed for over 1,000 yards while scoring 18 touchdowns in just seven games of playing time.

On defense, the Eagles are led by 6-foot, 3-inch, 260-pound lineman Michael-Anthony Okwura, who has committed to play college football at the University of California. “The key for us will be to stay healthy, go after a district championship, and then of course make a good run in the playoffs,” said McGuire.

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].

To leave a comment, please log in or create an account with The Buzz Magazines, Disqus, Facebook, or Twitter. Or you may post as a guest.