HS Football: The Woodlands Highlanders preview
THE WOODLANDS, TX -- In what was technically a down year for the Highlanders, Jim Rapp’s ball club was able to reach the third round of the playoffs in 2019. The good news is that the teams who knocked The Woodlands off their spot at the top of the district last season are no longer in it in 2020.
The Woodlands will still have challenges to face as the team lost 59 seniors to graduation. The defense, a critical part of the team’s success for years, only returns three starters from last season, and on both sides of the ball, the key playmakers will be guys who flashed the ability to contribute but will have to take on a larger role in 2020.
Record: 8-5 (5-3 in district)
Wins: Lamar, Oak Ridge, College Park, Klein, Conroe, Klein Forest
Losses: Cy-Fair, Klein Oak, Klein Cain, Klein Collins
Playoffs: Spring (W), Cy-Woods (W), Prosper (L)
Year three for Coach Rapp will be focused on turning young, but talented players into reliable playmakers. One positive of an injury-filled season in 2019 was that some of this year’s key players were forced into bigger roles, allowing them to gain valuable experience.
Four-star Mississippi State-commit Teddy Knox will be The Woodlands’ number one option at WR. Knox provides a versatile skill set that makes him a threat lined up out wide and in the backfield as a runner. His 4.4 speed will make opponents think twice about kicking to him when lines up as a returner.
WR Ben Ferguson will have a larger role as a junior this season. He showed great potential late in the year as the Highlanders were hit hard by injuries and needed players to step up.
The offensive line will be a strong unit led by Titan and Cross Tucker. They’ll lead the way for RB JoBarre Reed, who showed he can be explosive with the ball in his hands last season.
The unit with the most to prove will be the defense. A lot of senior talent is gone from the squad, especially in the secondary. All eyes will be on LB Martrell Harris making his varsity debut for the Highlanders after playing JV due to transfer rules in 2019. Harris already has six D1 offers including Texas, Baylor, and Houston, so the program is excited to see him in action on Fridays in 2020.
The Woodlands will likely be most people’s pick to win the district as the Highlanders have lengthy winning streaks against the majority of District 13-6A. However, the team does have some question marks that must be addressed this season. If Coach Rapp and the rest of The Woodlands staff can get everyone up to speed, the Highlanders could find themselves back in the winner’s circle in 2020.