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.

Erich Eisenach
Author: Erich EisenachEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I am proud to be this area’s Tribune Newspaper voice for Humble, Atascocita, Kingwood, Kingwood Park and Summer Creek High School athletics, a capacity I have served in since the fall of 2011. High school sports are something I have grown to love since I started in this position, watching young kids live out their dreams in competition throughout the area and throughout the state. My greatest thrill in this position was being on Floor Eight at NRG Stadium in December of 2016 when Atascocita High School qualified for the state football semifinals for the first time. Aside from reporting sports, I am a regular parishioner of St. Martha Catholic Church of Kingwood. I am also a two-time graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications, and am a proud, but realistic, Nebraska Cornhuskers supporter. I do root for Houston’s local sports teams, but the Huskers are my team forever.