Barbers Hill wants to take the next step under fourth-year head football coach Tom Westerberg and that means playoff success.
The Eagles begin that process when they open up at 7 tonight at Magnolia High School.
Westerberg will start senior Christian Kaopua at quarterback, but Connor Dunham will get plenty of reps. Kaopua transferred in from Humble while Dunham started the final three games for Barbers Hill last season.
“They both have done some good things,” Westerberg said. “We have a 1A and 1B right now. They have both moved the ball well. Christian can run the ball a little bit better, but Connor has a little better grasp of what we do offensively. It’s up in the air until someone takes it and runs with it the next three games.”
Westerberg will have a number of solid running backs Garret Hagler, Cohn Betz and Kaegan Gibbs, and junior receiver Cameron Cauley will lead the options via the air.
“Obviously as kids mature and grow, he is going to get better every year,” Westerberg said. “Playing as a sophomore he didn’t have to be the guy. Now he is developing into the guy. Competing at baseball at the high level he’s at helps too. The confidence just carries over.”
Defensively, the Eagles played well in shutting out Sterling in last week’s scrimmage.
“They take pride in not letting people score,” Westerberg said. “No matter who we have in there, they kept them out of the end zone. It’s a different attack this week and we try to get them to build each week and not take a step back.”
Last year, Magnolia beat Barbers Hill 43-13 in Mont Belvieu.
“It was more of what we did wrong than what they did well,” Westerberg said. “I don’t think we played or coached very well. Every phase of the game was a general breakdown. As coaches we need to put them in a better position to start the season and I hope to see us play a better game than a year ago.”
New Caney at Crosby, 7:30, tonight
A new year means newer looks for both teams as Crosby hosts New Caney to once again open a football season.
A year ago, Crosby won at New Caney, 35-21 against a team that finished 10-2, but the hosts have a new head coach and a roster full of new faces.
Jerry Prieto begins his Crosby tenure against a team he expects to be quite the challenge.
“We have three solid game plans going in offensively, defensively and special teams and are kids are excited to play,” Prieto said. “They are a great football team. They have a ton of athletes all over the place. They have a lot of kids back from last year.
“We are excited and know we have to play a sound football game if we have a chance to beat these guys.”
Preto said his defense and the offensive line play has led the way in the Crosby preseason, but the offensive timing still needs time.
Anahuac at Tarkington, 7:30, tonight
The Greg Neece era begins for Anahuac as the new head coach takes his team to Cleveland for the season opener.
The Panthers finished 4-6 a year ago and face a tough opener against Tarkington.
“They run a spread offense and their quarterback is a good thrower,” Neece said. “They looked pretty good in their first two scrimmages, so we will have our hands full.”
Last year, the Panthers rolled past Tarkington, 33-13 in Anahuac.
Neece is hoping to bring out a high tempo attack he used as offensive coordinator in Newton where he was a part of back-to-back Class 3A champions the past two seasons.
Neece said he expects Tarkington will attempt to stop the Panthers run game and force his team to pass to win.
“We will run the ball always, but we will always take our shots,” Neece said.
BCA vs. Haslet Community Christian, 11 a.m., Saturday (at Emery Weiner High School in Houston)
Two of the reigning six man private school champs will lock horns when TAPPS Division III six-man defending champion BCA Bulldogs battle the Texas Catholic Athletic Fellowship titlists, Haslet Community Christian.
It’s one of five games at Emery Weiner as part of a shootout that began Thursday.
“We feel pretty good about the game as a whole,” BCA head coach Jeromey Anderson said. “It’s pretty exciting being champ against champ and we are ready to welcome them to TAPPS top-tier competition. We got a lot of confidence, depth and speed and we will see how they handle it.”
Haslet is a big team according to Anderson and a few players who can offer some speed threats to the Bulldogs.
Anderson expects Haslet to ground and pound as the game progresses and he said the program hangs its hat on defense.
“We know that our speed will be able to close on that,” Anderson said. “It’s a good test for our defense end and our rush to see where we are at.”