By Tom Behrens
Coach Don Clayton of the Cinco Ranch Cougar football team said sometimes you really don’t know who has what position nailed down for the coming season until the scrimmage game before the season opens. And, then that can change in the first two weeks of the regular season. This year’s scrimmage is at the Cinco Ranch field against Stratford High School.
“Like last year we thought we had a starting center, and in the scrimmage game he didn’t do as well as we thought he would. The backup did better, so the following week the backup started the first ball game. We are still fairly open on competition these two weeks before we get into games.”
Last year the Cougar had a strong year, ending the season with the Katy Tigers. The Cougars didn’t win against the State Champs, but Clayton and his coaches felt like Cinco’s defense played a good ball game against the Katy offense. “Their defense was the challenge.”
The Cougar’s next game was game one of the playoffs against their traditional initial playoff opponent, Bellaire. “We didn’t play near as well as we needed to on both sides of the ball. Cinco Ranch lost 35-31.
“There were some plays in the Bellaire game if we had made them, it would have been a different outcome. A Cougar touchdown pass was called back because of a lineman down field. “If we got that score in the fourth quarter, okay it’s a different ball game.”
Cougar 2015 players that will be missed: Russell Morrison was a catalyst on offense whether throwing or running the football. Clayton says it’s a challenge to replace him just because he was a tremendous competitor. “He helped turn some plays that might not have been good into solid plays, good plays into better plays.”
“We have two candidates that we are looking at for quarterback, one a senior, James Klingler, and junior Brant Kuithe. Each one brings something different to the game.”
“Klingler tends to be more of a passer, and Kuithe is the dual threat guy, can run extremely well, and is getting better at throwing the football. Both are working hard at improving their credentials.”
Coach Clayton explained that he and his coaches want the Cougar quarterback to be a catalyst, make things happen with his feet and his arm. “We need a guy who can do both.”
At running back, Austin Frailey and Devion Johnson both graduated. Clayton and his coaches are at square one in figuring out who will replace them. “We have a couple seniors, along with a sophomore that are trying for the spots.”
At running back seniors Josh Barr and Ethan Cook are receiving serious consideration. Neither one of them were varsity running backs last year. Josh played a little on the varsity as a defensive back, and later on as a backup running back. He didn’t get a lot of snaps at varsity.
On the defense the Cougars have two defensive tackles that were backups last year … Argenis Medina and Eliel Ehimare. Both can expect to play a lot of football this year.
“Last year they had the opportunity to backup two pretty good senior defensive linemen. They have some experience, but this year we are not quite as deep behind them as we were last year when they were backups.”
“Blake Kuithe, twin of Brant Kuithe, is a defensive end for us, and state finalist in the shot put, a talented young man, very athletic, runs extremely well. He can create a lot of problems for an offense.”
Clayton says the Cougars are pretty much brand new at linebacker, losing both starters from last year’s teams. “We have several guys vying for the spots.”
The Cinco Ranch Cougars open their season with traditional rival, Cy Ranch, Aug. 26 at Rhodes Stadium. The Cougars have not lost to the Mustangs during the regular season, including a 27-24 nail biter last year on a last-second field goal.