Johnson eyes Mustangs' first snaps
By L. SCOTT HAINLINE
Coach Gene Johnson has never had a losing season in seven years as a head coach, and to keep that streak alive in Cypress Ranch's first varsity football season in 2010, he'll have to do it with a numbers deficit.
Johnson's Cy Ranch Mustangs have by far the lowest enrollment numbers in District 17-5A at 2,000.3, while most of the others hover around the 3,000 mark (the highest is Cy Falls at 3,373).
Depth is where it really hits hard, especially with a young program like ours," Johnson said. We have some people who can match up, but if one or two go down at particular positions, there's going to be a drop off that other teams won't have."
A couple of other daunting numbers for the first-year Mustangs are a total of one scrimmage and one game before playing the first-ever varsity contest.
With 10 schools in 17-5A, everyone has to get ready in a hurry with nine district outings on the schedule, and that's even more of a rush for a rookie team.
We answered some questions in the spring, but not enough," Johnson said. It helps that we do have a senior class in this first season, but it's a small class numbers wise (27), and we'll head into the fall with a lot of things still up in the air."
The Mustangs look for sophomore running back Keith Ford and junior wide out DeAndre Liggins to carry a substantial offensive load.
They're going to have to step up and be a big part of the production," Johnson said. There's no doubt about it."
There's more senior leadership on defense in linemen Zach DeHaven, Andrew Chambers and Paul Thormer, inside linebacker Drew Nunn, and Eric Kelly in the secondary.
A solid senior core will be our modus operandi on that side of the ball," Johnson said. The defense will have to lead us, especially in this district, and while we're getting the offense going early on."
After starting workouts on Aug. 9, Cy Ranch scrimmages at Mayde Creek at 7 p.m. on Aug. 20 and hosts Fort Bend Austin (0-9 last season) in a 7 p.m. season opener on Aug. 27 at Pridgeon Stadium.
There's an open date the next week (Sept. 3) and Jersey Village is the first district opponent of all time, and the season, at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10 at Berry Stadium.
Cy Ranch opened its doors in 2008 and has gone two years with no varsity football. The Mustangs fielded freshman and junior varsity teams in 2008-09, and last year, the JV finished with a 5-3 mark.
The players are looking forward to being under the lights at Berry and Pridgeon," Johnson said. It will be a challenge because our enrollment really hasn't grown, and we're going into this with Class 4A numbers, but it's time to get it rolling."
Johnson had a 37-11 record and three playoff berths in four seasons at Klein Forest from 2000-03, and after serving as an assistant principal in 2004 at Klein Oak, he took over at Hightower and went 24-13 in three seasons with two postseason trips.
He's 61-24 overall with five playoff teams in seven seasons as a head coach.
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