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MacArthur Soccer team Goes on Historic Run in Playoffs

The MacArthur High School Generals soccer team had a playoff run for the ages this season.

The Generals, who finished second in District 14- 6A, won four straight playoff games and were one game away from qualifying for the Class 6A State Soccer Tournament when their historic run was cut short with a 2- 1 loss to The Woodlands in the Region II Finals on April 9 in Austin.

The Generals opened the postseason with a bi-district win over College Park, then defeated Tomball in the area round, Klein in the third round, and No. 10-ranked Duncanville in the Region II Semifinals before dropping a hard-fought contest to The Woodlands.

The 2022 Generals made history by going further in the playoffs than any previous MacArthur soccer team. While head coach Salvador Fernández was sad to see the season end, he was incredibly proud of how his young team performed in the postseason and is excited about the future.

“I am very proud of the team,” Fernández said. “We overcame a lot of adversity together. The team fought hard in every game this season and became a solid unit.”

Brittney Griner arrested at Russian Airport

Former Aldine star woman’s basketball player, Brittney Griner, is reported to have been arrested at the airport as she prepared to leave Russia. She now plays for the Phoenix Mercury, and in the off-season for a Russian team.

She was detained after the Russian Federal Customs Service said it discovered cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage at the Sheremetyevo airport. The offense could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

USA Basketball said in a tweet Saturday that it is monitoring the situation.

“Brittney has always handled herself with the utmost professionalism during her long tenure with USA Basketball and her safety and wellbeing are our primary concerns,” the tweet read.

Twenty-six AISD athletes earn scholarships

Pictured are the five MacArthur High School student athletes who signed national letters of intent on National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 2. (SEE MORE SCHOOL PHOTOS ON PAGE 8)

NATIONAL SIGNING DAY FEB. 2

Twenty-six Aldine ISD student-athletes received the opportunity to continue their academic and athletic careers when they signed with colleges and universities across Texas and the United States when they signed national letters of intent on National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 2.

Nimitz High School led the way with 12 signees, all football players. Cougars who signed were: defensive end Christian Booker, who signed with Southern University of Shreveport, defensive tackle Elijah Sims who signed with East Texas Baptist University, offensive lineman Joshua Ramirez who signed with MacAllister College in Oklahoma, linebacker Bryan Singleton who signed with North American University, defensive end Dorset Singleton who signed with Southern University of Shreveport, linebacker Elijah Stewart who signed with Southern University of Shreveport, offensive lineman Tre’Ivion Pikes who signed with Southern University of Shreveport, wide receiver Brandon Miles who signed with the University of St. Mary, defensive back Armon Green who signed with Henderson State University, defensive back Joshua Furr who signed with Louisiana College, wide receiver Quintin Wilson who signed with Louisiana College and running back Eric Milton who signed with Southern University of Shreveport.

MacArthur High School had five student-athletes sign national letters of intent.

NORTHEAST NEWS’ DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF YEAR: Huff lets his actions do his talking for him

Nimitz High School safety Cory Huff, right, poses with former Nimitz High star defensive back Michael Thomas at Thomas’ summer football camp.

By Mike Keeney, Contributing Writer

Cory Huff doesn’t talk a lot, but he lets his actions do his talking for him, and that’s just fine with Nimitz High School head coach Richard Slater.

Huff, a junior, was perhaps the Cougars’ best defensive player during the 2021 season that saw Nimitz earn its first playoff berth in six years.

The 5-11, 185-pounder recorded 55 solo tackles, 21 assists (76 total tackles, an average of 7.6 per game), had one tackle for loss, intercepted three passes, broke up 20 passes and forced one fumble.

Those numbers earned him the Northeast News’ Defensive Player of the Year honors.

And the good news for Slater and his staff is that Huff has a year left to improve his game and to produce even bigger numbers.

Slater isn’t the only one who thinks his safety is a pretty special player. Colleges also have taken notice of the hard-hitting, and fast safety.

NORTHEAST NEWS NAMES COACH OF THE YEAR: Richard Slater takes Nimitz back to the playoffs

Nimitz High School head football coach Richard Slater has been named the Northeast News’ Coach of the Year

By Mike Keeney, Contributing Writer

Nimitz High School head football coach Richard Slater and his staff knew they had a young team on their hands when the 2021 season began. Nimitz suffered some early losses, but came alive in District 14-6A, where they won four games and qualified for the playoffs for the first time in six years.

By rebounding in league play and leading his team to the playoffs, Slater was named the Northeast News’ Coach of the Year.

Slater arrived at Nimitz in 2015 after spending nine years on Gary Joseph’s staff at Katy High School, where he was part of a coaching staff that played in six state title games, and winning three state titles.

In his first year at Nimitz, Slater led the Cougars to the post season and six years later he did it again.

He’s excited about the future because he has a solid nucleus of players who will be back for the 2020 season, including running back Joseph Sanders, quarterback Brayden Whitehead and safety Cory Huff.

Mac Generals stomp Aldine Mustangs 48-6

In the 2nd quarter, Mac Running Back DeMarcus Singletary carries the ball for a 35 yard rushing TD, taking a handoff from the QB Darius Hicks.

The MacArthur Generals varsity football team took a large step toward redeeming their reputation last Saturday, Oct. 2 at Thorne Stadium, defeating the Aldine Mustangs 48-6.

After a 24-10 victory in the first game of the season, the Generals have struggled with their offense, and have not scored any points in the last 2 games. They lost to Nimitz on Friday, Sept. 24 with a score of 3-0. The game had ended in a 0-0 tie, but the Cougars managed to win the game in OT with a field goal.

In this week’s game, the General offense came alive, with daring plays well executed. In the 3rd quarter QB #5 Darius Hicks completed a 74 yard pass to #1 Kendrik Dennis for a TD that brought the score to 41- 0. Then #1 Jason Crampton rushed 65 yards for another TD.

FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW, PART 2: UT, OU bolt for SEC, leaving rest of Big 12 wondering what’s next

Mike Tomlin’s Steelers won their first 11 games of the season, but lost four of their last five, including an embarrassing 48-37 home playoff loss to the Brown. Ben Rothlisberger (3,803 yards, 33 TDs) should have another big year, but if the Steelers are to be a serious threat in the AFC, their running game must improve. That’s why they drafted Alabama’s Najee Harris (1,466 rushing yards, 26 TDs/43 receptions, 423 yards, 4 TDs) to get things done on the ground.

Baltimore will once again by led by dual threat QB Lamar Jackson (2,757 passing yards, 26 TDs/1,005 rushing yards, 7 TDs). If Jackson improves as a passer, the Ravens could make a lot of noise in 2021.

Tennessee should battle Indianapolis for the AFC South title. The Titans are led by quarterback Ryan Tannehill (3,817 yards, 33 TDs) and running back Derrick Henry (2,127 yards, 17 TDs). The Titans added former Atlanta All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones (51 receptions, 771 yards, 3 TDs in 9 games) to pair with speed wideout A.J. Brown (70 receptions, 1,075 yards, 11 TDs). The Titans could be scary good on offense, and if they shore up the defense, they could contend for the AFC title.

Buffalo should be the team to beat in the AFC East. The Bills finished 13-3 a year ago and have a rising star in QB Josh Allen (4,544 yards, 37 TDs) and a big-play WR in Stefon Diggs (127 receptions, 1,535 yards, 8 TDs). Buffalo needs to improve its running game, but it has a solid defense and should hold off Miami and New England to win the AFC East.

Now we turn our attention to the 2021 college football season, where before a game has even been played Texas and OU made huge news with their announcement to leave the Big 12 for the SEC. The plan is for the league’s two major programs to join the SEC in July of 2025, but many believe both schools will depart well before that date and each pay the $80 million fee to depart early.

UT and OU’s move will make the SEC the first super conference with 16 teams. The SEC has not announced how it will restructure the league (four 4-pod teams or 2 divisions with 8 teams each). Texas’s joining the SEC will rekindle the UT-Texas / A&M rivalry and could move Alabama out of the Western Division to the Eastern Division (I’m sure the rest of the SEC East is excited about that prospect!).

So where does that leave the remaining Big 12 schools?

FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW, PART 1: New era begins for Texans

It was a busy offseason for Houston’s pro football team. After firing embattled head coach Bill O’Brien four games into what would turn out to be a 4-12 season, the Texans made a Texans-like move and hired 65-year-old David Culley, a man with 27 years of experience as a collegiate and pro coach, but one who has never been a head coach or a coordinator at either level.

The Texans also hired Nick Caserio, the New England Patriots’ wonderkid as general manager. Caserio has been busy from Day 1 remaking the Texans roster. He signed 46 veteran free agents and along with draft picks, welcomed 53 new faces to Kirby Drive when the Texans opened training camp in late July.

And then there’s the Deshaun Watson story and what a story it is! After completing his most successful season as a pro (4,823 passing yards, best among NFL QBs, 33 passing TDs/3 rushing TDs), Watson demanded a trade after he was told by owner Cal McNair he would have a say in who the team hired as its next head coach.

Watson wanted Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. The team conducted a video interview with one of the up-and-coming coaches and offensive minds in the league (he has had the good fortune to work with a quarterback named Pat Mahomes, who will make any coach look good). The Texans did not consider Bieniemy as their next head coach and Watson demanded a trade.

We all know what happened next. Watson has been accused by 22 women of sexual harassment and a Harris County Grand Jury is investigating one claim as a criminal matter. Watson did show up for training camp but is listed as fourth on the QB depth chart. It’s pretty safe to say he has taken his last snap as the Texans starting QB.

So what do the Texans do now? Well, they signed 10-year veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor (9,770 career passing yards, 54 TDs) and drafted Davis Mills of Stanford in the third round. Caserio and Culley hope Mills is the team’s QB of the future. He only started 11 games at Stanford and played in 15, but he is 6-foot-5 and is an intelligent youngster.

For the moment, Taylor will be the starting QB and he will have speedy Brandin Cooks (81 receptions, 1,150 yards, 6 TDs) as his top receiver. The Texans lost the services of speedy Will Fuller when he signed with Miami as a free agent. Caserio hopefully upgraded the running game by signing veteran runners Mark Ingram (formerly of Baltimore) and Phillip Lindsey (formerly of Denver). Look for the Texans to feature the run this year to take pressure off of Taylor.

Also gone is perhaps the great Texan of all time, defensive end J.J. Watt. Watt asked for and was granted his release in January and signed with the Arizona Cardinals, where he is reunited with former Houston teammate DeAndre Hopkins.

While “change” is the word with the Texans, the NFL had an offseason of change as well as owners approved an 18-week, 17- game schedule beginning with the 2021 season. Seven new head coaches were also hired. Joining Culley as new head men are Arthur Smith in Atlanta, Urban Meyer in Jacksonville, Brandon Staley with the Los Angeles Chargers, Nick Sirianni in Philadelphia, Dan Campbell in Detroit and Robert Saleh with the New York Jets.

Meyer, one of the most successful coaches in the history of college football (he won two national titles at Florida and one at Ohio State) had the good fortune to draft Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick in last springs draft. Lawrence will make his pro debut at NRG Stadium on Sept. 12 against the Texans.

Tom Brady (4,633 yards, 40 TDs) led Tampa Bay to the Super Bowl title with a convincing win over Kansas City last February. The Bucs return all 22 starters from last year’s title team and are a good bet to go backto-back, which would give Brady an eighth Lombardi Trophy.

Super Bowl 55 will be played in Los Angeles’s SoFi Stadium on Feb. 13.

TB should be the team to beat in the NFC South now that Drew Brees (80,358 career passing yards, 571 career TDs) has retired and will work as an analyst for NBC on Notre Dame games this fall. New Orleans head coach Sean Payton is one of the best head coaches in the league and the Saints will be competitive, but Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill won’t make Saints fans forget Brees anytime soon. The two combined for 1,003 passing yards and 4 passing TDs in 2020.

Brady has a load of talent on offense, led by WRs Mike Evans (70 receptions, 1,006 yards, 13 TDs) and Chris Godwin (65 receptions, 840 yards, 7 TDs). Don’t be surprised if TB improves on its 11 wins from a year ago, although they will be playing a much tougher schedule and all teams will be gunning for them.

Green Bay would like nothing more than to avenge their NFC title game loss at home to the Bucs. Packer fans were in a panic during the offseason when star QB and reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers (4,299 yards, 48 TDs) became disgruntled and wanted out of Cheeseland. Cooler heads prevailed and Rodgers reported to camp, signed a new contract and made the Packers once again Super Bowl contenders.

Rodgers has a load of talent of offense to spread the ball around, led by perhaps the game’s top wideout in Davante Adams (115 receptions, 1,374 yards, 18 TDs), a solid redzone tight end in Robert Tonvan (52 receptions, 586 yards, 11 TDs) and a strong running game led by Aaron Jones (1,104 yards, 11 total TDs).

If Green Bay improves on defense, they should challenge Tampa Bay for the NFC title.

Green Bay is the class of the NFC North, and if Dak Prescott can stay healthy, the Dallas Cowboys should be the team to beat in the NFC East. Prescott (1,856 passing yards, 9 TDs in just 5 games) suffered a brutal ankle injury against the Giants in Week 5 and the Cowboys stumbled to a 6- 10 finish.

Dallas has a top 5 receiving corps led by Amari Cooper (92 receptions, 1,114 yards, 5 TDs) and CeeDee Lamb (74 receptions, 935 yards, 5 TDs). Dallas needs a resurgence from running back Ezekiel Elliott (979 yards, 6 TDs). The return of offensive linemen Tyron Smith and La’el Collins should be a big boost to Prescott and Elliott.

The defense must improve and the drafting of Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons should give that unit a big lift.

The NFC West could be the best division in the NFL. All four teams have playoff potential, but I like the Rams to win the division because of the addition of former Detroit QB Matthew Stafford (4,084 yards, 26 TDs), who should flourish in Sean McVay’s offense. The Rams also have a stout defense led by 2020 Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.

Seattle will also be a factor due to QB Russell Wilson (4,213 yards, 40 TDs) and WRs D.K. Metcalf (83 receptions, 1,303 yards, 10 TDs) and Tyler Lockett (100 receptions, 1,054 yards, 10 TDs).

Arizona will be a fun team to watch because of quarterback Kyler Murray (3,971 passing yards, 26 TDs/819 rushing yards, 11 TDs) and Hopkins (115 receptions, 1,407 yards, 6 TDs). Maybe Watt can help a decent defense move to a good defense.

The 49ers, who two years ago won the NFC title, should be back in the mix. Injuries decimated the team a year ago, but they should get their key players back.

In the AFC, look for the Chiefs to once again be the team to beat, but keep an eye on the Cleveland Browns. The Browns finished 11-5 a year ago as QB Baker Mayfield (3,563 yards, 26 TDs) came of age. Cleveland will pound teams with its running game led by Nick Chubb (1,067 yards, 12 TDs) and Kareem Hunt (841 yards, 11 total TDs) and has a solid defense led by former Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett (12 sacks).

The Chiefs will once again be tough to stop on offense led by Mahomes (4,740 yards, 38 TDs), speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill (87 receptions, 1,276 yards, 15 TDs) and dependable tight end Travis Kelce (105 receptions, 1,416 yards, 11 TDs). KC lost the Super Bowl because its offensive line lost both starting tackles, but the team brought in five new offensive linemen during the offseason, led by former Baltimore All-Pro tackle Orlando Brown.

The NFC North will once again be one of the top divisions in the league. Cleveland will be tested by a resurgent Pittsburgh team and the always dangerous Baltimore Ravens.

PART 2 will be published next week.

Olympics open in Tokyo, Aldine Nimitz’s Griner on team

Brittney Griner practices in her Team USA uniform.

TOKYO – Brittney Griner and Ariel Atkins are players with local ties on this year’s Team USA women’s basketball Olympic roster.

Brittney Griner, who starred at Nimitz High School and Baylor University, won gold with Team USA at the 2016 Olympics as well as at the FIBA World Championships in 2014 and 2018. She was named MVP of the gold medal game in the 2018 FIBA World Championships.

This will be the first Olympics for Ariel Atkins, who starred at the University of Texas before becoming the seventh overall pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft. This has been a coming-out season for Atkins offensively – she’s averaging career highs in five categories, including her 19.0 points per game. The former Longhorn was a part of the Washington Mystics’ 2019 WNBA Championship team and has been named to the WNBA All-Defensive Team all three seasons she has played in the league. As for the rest of the roster, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi will try and become the first five-time Olympic gold medalists in basketball as they lead the U.S women’s team at the Tokyo Games.

The duo was selected for their fifth Olympics last month, joining Teresa Edwards as the only basketball players in U.S. history to play in five. Edwards won four gold medals and a bronze in her illustrious Olympic career.

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.