The Cougar Claw

Meet the Cougars: The new faces of Tomball football

Dylan Busby, Staff Writer

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The Tomball football team kicks off district play Friday against Magnolia West, a team they lost to 51-27 last year. However, this is a very different team than the one that fell to the Mustangs. Tomball returns nine starters, four of which are on the offensive line, but the defensive line, secondary, and receiving core are almost entirely new.

A host of juniors surround all-state safety Kasen Handel. Bryce Pradia, Bryce Robinson and Quinterrius Neal will replace Brandon Peterson and the other graduated corners from last year. CJ Strain will start at safety opposite Handel. This youth movement in the secondary is already paying dividends as Strain aired up to grab the game-sealing interception in a nail bitter finish at Santa Fe.

“It’s a lot different (playing on varsity) than playing on JV.” Said Strain, safety #24 “It’s a lot more pressure and a lot more responsibility.”

Gone are the playing days of varsity stalwarts Zachariah Terrell and Kohl Klopfenstien.  To fill their cleats Tomball will look to players who played different positions last year such as former linebacker Luke Burzynski, and junior Jose Barahona who spent time as a running back last year.  Nose guard Brady Cox played on the offensive line last year but spent his junior high years on defense. Jalen Pierre and 3-star Baylor commit Logan Compton (who will split time as a receiver) are new to Tomball High and look to add an instant impact.

Versatile athlete Jake Johnson is the only returning receiver heading into this season. Tomball will rely on transfers to help carry the receiving load with Logan Compton coming over from IMG, and former Mag West pass-catcher Konnor Cooper. Dillon Godfrey, who returned to Tomball red after a brief stay at Tomball Memorial, is back and ready to make noise as a Cougar. Track star and deep ball machine Jay’ris Smith will look to provide the game changing big plays with his speed. Beau Scott, son of Principle Scott, will get snaps as a wideout after missing time last year with a broken collarbone, he sustained at practice.

“I’m excited (to be playing varsity for Tomball),” said Godfrey, receiver #6. “I’m finally going to be able to play in front of my family and all my cousins that went to Tomball”

Janet Cannon
Logan Compton lines up to run a route in a scrimmage against A&M Consolidated

Four sophomores will get significant playing time this year compared to the six from last year. Gentry Sipe leads a youth movement in the linebacker depth and has quickly gained the coaches trust as he played the majority of snaps against Santa Fe filling in for an injured Cade Stephenson. Dewayne Smith and Ethan Schlundt will battle in the trenches for the Cougars this season playing defensive and offensive line respectively. Jermaine Mays provides solid depth at running back and can rotate to receiver as well giving Tomball a solid complement to star Ja’kobi Holland.

Tomball also promotes a quality group of seniors to bolster depth and help on special teams. None of them are bigger in both impact and size than 6’6″,  300 pound left tackle Christian Mobley, who has already committed to Division-1 Northwestern State despite never playing a varsity game. Mobley spent last season on JV after not playing at all until his junior year due to a torn ACL he suffered in junior high. With an offseason to grow and bulk up, this massive tackle will look to clear rushing lanes and keep the pocket clean for QB Hunter Dunn.

“It’s a lot more pressure (playing varsity over JV).” Said Senior Mobley #74 “With (noise from) the crowd and the band it was a little overwhelming at first, but after a couple plays I got into my own bubble and blocked it out and did my job.”

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Meet the Cougars: The new faces of Tomball football