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Brady goes for 7th Lombardi, Mahomes second in what could be a very real ‘Super’ Bowl!

By Mike Keeney

I guess that Tom Brady guy still has something left in the tank.

After spending 20 years in New England and leading the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick to six Super Bowl titles, Brady moved south to sunny Tampa, FL and proved he’s not washed up at 43 years of age.

In Kansas City, Chief fans have once again put their faith in 25-year-old Patrick Mahomes, who led their beloved team to the Lombardi Trophy last year and is making a return trip this year to go after a second straight title.

Eagles’ linebacker Waymon Finley Named Northeast News’ Defensive Player of Year

Eisenhower High School linebacker Waymon Finley has been named the Northeast News’ 2020 Defensive Player of the Year.

By Mike Keeney, Contributing Writer

For the last three years, Waymon Finley has been a mainstay in the Eisenhower Eagles football program.

He has played on both sides of the ball, but is a standout linebacker who completed his senior season with 60 tackles, five tackles for losses, one forced fumble, and two sacks. Those numbers earned him the Northeast News’ Defensive Player of the Year honors. He also contributed on offense by rushing for 422 yards to lead the Eagles to a 3-4 record and a berth in the Class 6A playoffs.

The 5′-10″, 215-pound inside linebacker is a favorite of head coach Eric Jackson, who said he would miss having the dependable Finley around now that his senior season is completed.

Ryan Niblett named Northeast News’ Offensive Player of the Year for the 2020 season

Eisenhower High School quarterback Ryan Niblett is the Northeast News’ Offensive Player of the Year for the 2020 season.

By Mike Keeney, Contributing Writer

The 2020 football season was perhaps the strangest one in history due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Eisenhower Eagles were not able to hold spring practice and head coach Eric Jackson and his staff entered the fall season looking for a quarterback.

It appears they found a good one in sophomore Ryan Niblett.

Niblett won the job and led the Eagles to a 3-4 record and a playoff berth, and now Jackson has two more years to hone the young man’s considerable talents.

In his first varsity season, Niblett rushed for 1,017 yards (he averaged 145 yards per game), passed for 323 yards, scored 12 rushing touchdowns and threw three scoring passes. That effort earned him the Northeast News’ Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Jackson said he is excited to have Niblett around for another two years.

Keeney’s Korner: Aggies left out of CFP; Texans’ miserable season comes to an end

The powers that be have spoken and Texas A&M fans are not happy about the decision that was made by the College Football Playoff (CFP) Committee to exclude them from the playoffs this season.

Many will argue that Jimbo Fisher’s team deserved one of the four CFP slots, but those went to Alabama (No. 1), Clemson (No. 2), Ohio State (No. 3) and Notre Dame (No. 4). I don’t have any problems with three of the four selections, but I do with Ohio State’s selection.

Yes, the Buckeyes did finish undefeated and won the Big 10, but they only played six games (and the Big 10 had to alter their own rules to allow OSU to play in the conference game. League officials mandated that a team must play a minimum of six games to be eligible for the league title game, but due to cancelations because of COVID-19, Ryan Dayne’s team was left with just five conference games, so league officials changed the rules just for them. Isn’t that special!).

Granted, it wasn’t Ohio State’s fault that they could not find enough healthy teams to play a six-game schedule. A&M finished 8-1 in the best conference in the country, won seven straight games and appeared to be getting better week-by-week. But their 52-24 loss at Alabama was a big negative and perhaps the committee thought a rematch with Nick Saban’s team would turn into another route.

You can’t fault the committee for giving Notre Dame one of the four CFP berths. The Fighting Irish defeated then No. 1-ranked Clemson at home and easily handled a ranked North Carolina team on the road. The one blemish on their season was their 34-10 loss in the ACC title game two weeks ago. Things won’t get any easier for Bria Kelley’s team when it faces No. 1-ranked Alabama in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. Oh, by the way, the Rose Bowl won’t be played in Pasadena this year, but in Arlington at AT&T Stadium. At least some fans will be able to attend the game.

The second national semifinal will pit Clemson against Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. The winners will meet on Monday, Jan. 11 in Miami in the CFP title game.

The Aggies had to settle for a trip to Miami to face Mack Brown’s North Carolina Tar Heels in the Orange Bowl.

The NFL concludes its regular season this weekend and it can’t come soon enough for the Texans. Two weeks ago, the Texans fumbled away another shot at a win over the Colts when wide receiver Keke Coutee fumbled inside the Colts’ five-yard line to prevent Houston from tying and game up and sending it to overtime. The Texans host Tennessee on Sunday at NRG Stadium in a game the Titans will probably need to win to earn either the AFC South title or a Wild Card slot, so don’t expect head coach Mike Vrabel to sit any of his star players until this one is safely tucked away in the win column.

The AFC North title could very well be up for grabs when the Browns host the Steelers. Let’s hope NBC flexes that game to Sunday Night Football because it should be a good one between two long-time rivals and this time there is a lot on the line.

Before we take a look at those games and a host of others, let’s review last week’s record. A 6-5 week brought the season record to 98-51 (66%).

Now, onto this weekend’s games, some which will be the first of 2021.

Davis Falcons defeat MacArthur 42-13

Mac’s #27( Maurice Woods) muscles in for a TD, one of only two that the Generals were able to score in this game. (Ruben Saucedo Photo)

Last Saturday afternoon, Nov. 21, the MacArthur Generals faced off against the Davis Falcons, who defeated them 42-13.

Coach Wayne Crawford’s Generals took on coach Scott Joseph’s Falcons at Thorne Stadium. The Generals are led by running back Terrance Franklin (290 yards, 4 TDs), while the Falcons are led by running backs Azavion Kegler (113 yards) and Josh Garuba (3 TDs).

The Generals’ next game against Spring on Thanksgiving Day was cancelled. This will mark the final weekend of play of the District 14-6A season for AISD’s five varsity squads, and it appears Eisenhower, Nimitz and MacArthur remain alive for the league’s fourth and final playoff spot.

Nimitz grad Michael Bourn comes to the aid of his community

Nimitz High grad and former Houston Astro Michael Bourn is helping his community during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Michael Bourn knows there are a lot of people hurting financially because of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

That’s why the Nimitz High grad and former Major League Baseball player is doing what he can to help those in need.

Bourn, who played 11 years in the majors and spent three years with the Houston Astros (2008-10), owns three apartment complexes in Houston. To assist his tenants who might be struggling financially to provide necessities for their families, he waived their rent for April and May.

Precinct 2 County Commissioner Adrian Garcia learned of Bourn’s gesture and had a resolution passed by the Harris County Commissioner’s Court on April 28 to recognize his act of kindness.

Bourn said it didn’t take him long to decide to reach out to his fellow man.

“We are all in this together,” he said. “I just felt like they (his tenants) could benefit from taking a break from paying their rent. I don’t know everyone of my tenants, but I do know some of them have been laid off. I believe if you are able to help someone else, you should.”

Bourn said he hopes his kind gesture helps during this difficult time for so many Houstonians.

“There are so many things they can buy, so I thought it was right to lend them a helping hand,” he said. “If they can buy extra groceries or clothes, then that’s great.”

Bourn, who graduated from Nimitz High in 2000 and then attended the University of Houston on a baseball scholarship, played in the majors from 2006 until 2016. He began his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, and played for the Astros, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians, the Arizona Diamondbacks and completed his career with the Baltimore Orioles.

He was a two-time All-Star (in 2010 with the Astros and in 2012 with the Braves) and twice led the National League in stolen bases in 2009 and 2010 and led the American League in steals in 2011 with Toronto. In 2014 he led the American League in triples while playing for Cleveland.

Today, he is a businessman and father who enjoys watching his son and daughter participate in youth sports.

He has also returned to Aldine to speak at career days at Nimitz and Teague Middle School.

“It’s nice to go back and see where I came from,” Bourn said.

And thanks to Michael Bourn, he’s made life a little bit easier for folks who are going through tough times.

Aldine ISD, Spring ISD to remain in Region II after UIL realignment

Aldine ISD’s five high schools will continue to compete against Spring ISD in the new District 14- 6A, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) announced on Monday, Feb. 3 during the UIL’s biennial realignment.

Aldine ISD schools will compete with DeKaney High School, Spring High School and Westfield High School in athletics, performing arts and extra curricular activities beginning in the fall of 2018.

District 14-6A will consist of Aldine High School, Davis High School, Eisenhower High School, MacArthur High School, Nimitz High School, DeKaney High School, Spring High School and Westfield High School for the next two years.

Aldine ISD and Spring ISD will compete in Region II for the next two years.

Super Bowl LIV could be a special one as high-scoring Chiefs face defensive-minded 49ers

By Mike Keeney

The first Super Bowl of the new century has the potential to be one of the best ones we’ve seen in recent years. SB No. 54 pits the high-scoring Kansas Chiefs, and one of the game’s rising stars in quarterback Patrick Mahomes, against this year’s Cinderella story, the San Francisco 49ers who turned a 4-12 finish in 2018 to a 13-3 (15-3 now after playoff wins over Minnesota and Green Bay) record and a NFC West title.

The game is scheduled for Miami on Sunday. Early weather forecasts call for showers in the morning, but clearing by the 5:40 p.m. Central Time kickoff on FOX.

This will mark the first time in 18 years that somebody other than Tom Brady (started last four Super Bowls), Peyton Manning or Ben Rothlisberger will quarterback an AFC team in the big game.

The Chiefs will be seeking their second Lombardi Trophy, while the 49ers will be looking for their sixth Super Bowl title, which would tie them with the Steelers as the only NFL teams with six Lombardi’s.

This game will also have a local tie, as former MacArthur High standout Richard Whitaker is the special teams coach for the 49ers.

Chief fans have waited 50 years for a return to the big game, while 49er fans have waited 25 years to get back to a game Joe Montana and Steve Young played in routinely back in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Crawford named Northeast News’s Coach of the Year

MacArthur High School head football coach Wayne Crawford has been named the Northeast News’s Coach of the Year for leading the Generals to their first playoff berth in 12 years.

By Mike Keeney, Contributing Writer

MacArthur High School head football coach Wayne Crawford led the Generals to their first playoff berth in 12 years as the Generals qualified for the Class 6A playoffs by finishing in fourth place in the rugged District 16-6A.

Crawford’s coaching effort earned him the Northeast News’ Coach of the Year honors.

In only his second year as MacArthur’s head coach, the Generals turned around a tough start to the season losing three of their first four games, but rallied to win four of their final six games to earn the school’s first playoff berth since 2007.

“I thought our season was gratifying,” Crawford said. “We got better week in and week out. Our goal was to beat all the teams in Aldine and we accomplished that goal.”

DeMarcus Barlow is the 2019 Northeast News’ Offensive Player of the Year

DeMarcus Barlow let his numbers speak for him during 2019 season.

By Mike Keeney, Contributing Writer

DeMarcus Barlow is a team-first player, that’s why the 2019 season was tough for him and his teammates.

The Davis High Falcons struggled to a 3-7 season under first-year head coach Scott Joseph, but Barlow made things interesting on Friday and Saturday nights this fall by rushing for 1,401 yards on 190 carries (7.3 yards per carry), and scoring 15 touchdowns and completing 16 of 36 passes for 348 yards and six more scores. He also caught two passes for 97 yards (48.5 yards per catch) and one touchdown.

In seven District 16-6A games, Barlow rushed for 1,106 yards (an average of 158 yards per outing).

Barlow’s big senior season earned him the Northeast News’ Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Barlow was also named the District 16-6A Offensive MVP, and first-team all district honors.

The 5′-10″, 210-pounder began the year as the Falcons’s featured running back, but Joseph felt he was needed under center and the amiable Barlow gladly accepted his new role.