In 10 of their last 11 seasons, the Huffman Hargrave Falcons have made the Texas high school football playoffs. Last year, the Falcons won a playoff game … their first playoff win in seven years.
This year, however, the Falcons are hoping to soar to much higher goals … including one that has eluded the Falcons.
“Our goal is always to win a district championship,” Falcons coach Mike McEachern said, “and that hasn’t happened in Huffman in a long time.”
They will attempt to do so with 15 returning starters, including nine returning on offense.
The Falcons have an experienced quarterback returning, Justin Shively, who threw for over 2,200 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2018.
The real benefit of having an experienced quarterback, McEachern said, is repetitions.
“I think it’s the fact that you’ve had more snaps,” McEachern said.
He will have a number of offensive weapons to turn to, including running back A.J. San Miguel, who ran for over 1,600 yards and 10 touchdowns a year ago.
On defense, the Falcons return six starters, led by two key players: linebacker Neal Zamora, who is a candidate for All-State honors, and two-way player Luke Thomas.
“He’s a leader by example,” McEachern said of Zamora. “He’s a sure tackler, you can play him anywhere; he can stop the run, he can play the pass, he’s all over the field.”
McEachern also noted that Zamora is picked as the pre-season defensive MVP for District 11-4A Division I.
As for Thomas, McEachern said he wouldn’t be surprised if he, as a two-way player, plays every snap this season … literally.
“He may not come off the field this year as a sophomore,” McEachern said. “He’s that talented. He had a real good seven-on-seven this summer and did some nice things.”
As far as the goal of winning the district, while Splendora is considered a favorite by many, McEachern feels good about his team and attaining the goal of winning a district title.
The team will need to stay healthy and come together as one and everybody will need to play their roles, he said.