Mustangs to play TAPPS again
By TODD HVEEM
Mike Johnston was trying to hold out long enough to give the Southwest Prepatory Conference a chance to invite Houston Christian to play in its football conference.
But, after two years of waiting, Johnston and the Mustangs have decided to join the rest of the private school's sports and compete in TAPPS Division I against St. Pius, St. Thomas and Beaumont Kelly.
We applied for admission to the SPC (a couple years ago) and it hasn't happened yet,'' Johnston said. We went two years without playing in a (football) conference. It has been hard on the kids. There was no championship to play for and no individual recognition (for all- district or all-state). Outside of the love of the game, it was difficult for us motivation-wise.''
That shouldn't be the case now.
Houston Christian, which has gone 6-5 each of the past two years, will have all it can handle with tradition-rich St. Pius, St. Thomas and Beaumont Kelly, Johnston said.
You don't know for sure until you line up (against them), but they have had some really outstanding athletes at St. Pius and they have a little more to choose from at the all boys school at St. Thomas,'' Johnston said.
The thing that is difficult for us is trying to find enough numbers,'' he added. That is difficult to overcome. We have 70 in the program, which is more than we have had. But you have to find 70 of the right ones. If you don't have the right 70, that is another thing altogether.''
Houston Christian, which had two weeks of spring football, will play St. Thomas, St. Pius and Beaumont Kelly twice each to determine the district champion.
The Mustangs, who will only play nine games, also will play non-district games against East Bernard, St. John's and Concordia Lutheran.
TAPPS penalized us a couple games for going off to Florida (to play a game the last couple years),'' Johnston said. I don't understand that. But we are still eligible for a (district) championship and the playoffs.''
The Mustangs return several quality linemen from last year's team in Drew Earnst (6-4, 255), Colin Leitko (6-3, 285) and Lee Hanley (6-2, 260).
We are going to be plenty big and strong up front,'' Johnston said.
Quarterback Sam Voncannon also is back, as is wide receiver Dale Wallace and running back Connor Walker, who rushed for more than 500 yards in 2009.
Fullback Hayden Sneed (6-0, 230) and wide receiver Kyle Crawford (6-0, 205) also should have quite an impact on this year's club, Johnston said.
We have a good corps group of guys,'' Johnston said. But numbers is going to be our problem. We just don't have a whole lot of depth.''
Houston Christian will open practice on Aug. 2. It will have two scrimmages before opening the season on Sept. 3.
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