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COACH OF THE YEAR: Eric Jackson leads Eagles to playoffs in first year as Eisenhower head coach

Eisenhower High School head football coach Eric Jackson is the 2018 Northeast News’ Coach of the Year

By Mike Keeney, Contributing Writer

Eisenhower High School head football coach Eric Jackson led his team to the playoffs in the first year as the school’s head coach. The Eagles made it to the post season after a two-year playoff drought.

That accomplishment earned the veteran coach the honor of being named the Northeast News’ Coach of the Year for the 2018 season.

The 2018 season was Jackson’s first as a head coach and he’s excited about the future for the Eisenhower football program.

“We’re getting there, but we’re not satisfied where we’re at. We still have a ways to go” Jackson said. “The kids are excited about the program and so are we as coaches. We’re starting a new regime and I think we have gotten off to a good start.”

The Eagles finished tied for second place in District 16-6A and earned a postseason berth.

Prior to being named the Eagles’s head coach, Jackson served as defensive coordinator at Eisenhower. He has also served on the staffs at Hastings High School, Beaumont Central High School Beaumont Ozen High School, Willowridge High School and Fort Bend Terry High School.

The Baton Rogue native is a graduate of Nichols State where he played linebacker.

Jackson and the Eagles have reason to be excited about the future. They will enter spring training with eight offensive and four defensive starters back for the 2019 season, which is a solid nucleus.

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DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jonzell Prudhomme’s big senior season lands him honor

Davis High School senior linebacker Jonzell Prudhomme was named the 2018 Northeast News’ Defensive Player of the Year.

By Mike Keeney, Contributing Writer

The future is indeed bright for Jonzell Prudhomme.

The 6’2″, 220-pound senior linebacker turned in quite a year for the Davis Falcons.

Prudhomme recorded 49 solo tackles, 37 assisted tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 11.5 quarterback sacks, 2 interceptions (one he returned for a touchdown), seven batted ball, five pass breakups and nine quarterback hurries.

Those numbers added up to Prudhomme being named the 2018 Northeast News’ Defensive Player of the Year.

He had a busy season indeed, and will also have a busy winter as he decides which college he wants to choose to continue his academic and athletic career.

Prudhomme has already visited the Air Force Academy and will visit West Point in January. He is also drawing interest from Kansas State, New Mexico, Sam Houston State, the Naval Academy, Fresno State and a host of other schools.

“I really liked the Air Force Academy and I am looking forward to visiting West Point,” Prudhomme said.

James Showers, his coach, said whoever lands Prudhomme will be getting a special player.

“Jonzell is a workhorse who does not let up,” Showers said. “He’s very smart and can analyze a play before it happens. His strengths are his football IQ and his relentlessness to make plays. Jonzell has a true passion for the game.”

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OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jacorey Howard delivers huge season for Mustangs in 2018

Head football coach Hank Semler congratulates Aldine High School running back Jacorey Howard after being named the 2018 Northeast News’ Offensive Player of the Year. It marked the second straight year that Howard won the award. He and former MacArthur High School star quarterback Odell James is the only other two-time NE News Offensive Player of the Year.

By Mike Keeney, Contributing Writer

Jacorey Howard had a season to remember in 2018.

It was a tough one for the Aldine Mustangs, but the senior running back kept things interesting by rushing for 1,417 yards, averaging 6.6 yards per carry and scoring 13 touchdowns. He also added 101 passing yards for a total yardage on the season of 1,517 yards.

Not bad for a kid who missed the last two games with a sprained ankle.

For his effort, Howard was named the 2018 Northeast News’ Offensive Player of the Year. He also won the award after the 2017 season when he played quarterback for Hank Semler’s team. Howard and former MacArthur High School star quarterback Odell James are the only two-time winners of the award.

On Dec. 19, Howard signed a national letter of intent with Texas Southern University.

He also had offers from Rice, Lamar and Northern Iowa.

“TSU has a great medical program and I want to be an occupational therapist,” Howard said of his decision to stay close to home to play his college ball.

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Aldine HS athlete named Ford player of the week

Aldine’s Jacorey Howard Honored as Week 3 Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Players of the Week.

Ford Motor Company announces the winners of the 2018 Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Week trophy for week 3 – among these winners is Aldine’s Jacorey Howard. These six Built Ford Tough gridiron heroes are honored for their performance on the field and their leadership off the field. Each week of the regular high school football season will see a new winner in the sport’s six classifications, all with hopes of ultimately becoming the Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Year.

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Aldine ISD football teams play their first games this week

MacArthur RB#2 breaks open in the game against the Klein Forest Golden Eagles.

High School varsity football started the season last weekend, with all the Aldine teams playing against relatively week teams, but losing anyway.

In an optimistic note, the football writer for the Northeast News, Mike Keeney, had picked all the Aldine teams to win. Perhaps he meant next week?

On Thursday night, MacArthur played Klein Forest, and lost 45-58.

On Friday, the Davis Falcons suffered the worst loss, against the Woodlands College Park team, 0-31. The same evening, the Nimitz Cougars lost to powerhouse Channelview Falcons, 25-35.

Saturday games included Eisenhower Eagles 21, Fort Bend Marshall Buffs 28. The Aldine Mustangs lost to the Cypress Falls Eagles, 20-42.

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Keeney’s Korner: Aldine ISD football starts 2018 season

Mike Keeney

Labor Day weekend full of high school & college matchups

Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer and the official start of the football season.

This weekend, high school stadiums across the state will be filled with screaming fans as they gather to watch their favorite teams begin their 2018 seasons. That will be the case in Aldine ISD where all five of the district’s varsity programs will begin their seasons with hopes of landing one of the four playoff spots up for grabs in District 16-6A.

AISD has two new head coaches who will be making their debuts this weekend. Eric Jackson is the new head coach at Eisenhower. He served as the team’s defensive coordinator prior to being named head coach last February. Wayne Crawford is the new head coach at MacArthur after serving as the Generals’ offensive coordinator. Crawford was also promoted last February. Both men are excited about their new positions and would like nothing more than to open their respective seasons with a victory.

Labor Day weekend will also be the official kickoff for the 2018 NCAA season (four games were played last weekend), as fans will have plenty of intriguing games to watch in the first full weekend of competition.

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Keeney’s Korner: Texans hope for a full season from Watson

Mike Keeney

Aggie fans hopeful Fisher is right man for job

By Mike Keeney

Welcome back football, we’ve missed you!

The 2018 season is right around the corner and while baseball is still the talk of the town thanks to the Astros, football will always be king in these parts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as big of an Astros fan as there is in this area, and am hopeful for another long playoff run in the fall, but injuries and a tepid offense has made things more difficult this time around. Heck, they may not even win their division. The Oakland A’s are breathing down their necks and are the hottest team in baseball. It would help to get Jose Altuve and George Springer back in the lineup (both are out with injuries) and get Carlos Correra’s bat going.

But enough about baseball. It’s time to turn our attention to the 2018 football season and what story lines we will be following this year.

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Youth hoops in 2-Day Harris County Street Olympics

Houston-area youth compete on six courts at Fonde Recreation Center during the Street Olympics 3-on-3 Championship Tournament on July 18. In addition to basketball, the 3-on-3 Basketball competition is designed to teach sportsmanship, leadership and teamwork.

Games were designed to instill teamwork, leadership and confidence

More than 300 boys and girls competed in the 3-on-3 Basketball Championship Tournament on July 18 and 19 at Fonde Recreation Center. Houston-area boys and girls – ages 7 to 17 – playing on 80 teams participated in the single-elimination tournament, which is a signature competition in the Harris County Street Olympics Summer Games.

In the past five weeks of preliminary rounds, more than 500 boys and girls at 45 neighborhood agencies participating in the free Summer Games have competed for the opportunity to display their skills and play for trophies in this championship tournament.

The 3-on-3 Basketball Championship Tournament is a showcase event of the annual Harris County Street Olympics Summer Games, which provides boys and girls with the opportunity to participate in a free competitive athletics program in a safe and nurturing environment. As they practice and compete, they develop confidence and leadership skills that will serve them well both on and off the court.

Livingston, Simpson share Co-Defensive Players of Year honors

By Mike Keeney, Contributing Writer

Aldine ISD had two outstanding defensive players prowling the field during the 2017 football season.

MacArthur High School senior linebacker Jacoby Simpson and Davis High School senior defensive tackle Dominic Livingston dominated at their respective positions during the season and because of their outstanding senior seasons, the two were named the Northeast News’s Co-Defensive Players of the Year.

In eight games, Simpson recorded 116 solo tackles (an average of 14.5 per game), recorded four sacks, had 28 tackles for loss and intercepted two passes. The 6′-0″, 215-pounder has committed to Arizona State.

Livingston, 6′-3″, 360-pounds, recorded 41 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, batted down 4 passes, forced 3 fumbles, recovered 2 fumbles, blocked one kick and blocked one punt. Livingston received 28 Division I offers. He originally committed to Texas A&M, but de-committed after head coach Kevin Sumlin was fired and replaced by former Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher. He has since committed to LSU. (more…)

Keeney’s Korner: BOWL GAMES

Florida State hopes to end SEC’s run of BCS title run

The bowl season is well underway, but the big games begin on New Year’s Eve when Texas A&M faces Duke in the Chik-fil-A Bowl in what could be Johnny Manziel’s final game for the Aggies.

Locally, both Rice and the University of Houston will be bowling this season as the 10-3, Conference USA champs Owls will face Mississippi State in the Liberty Bowl on New Year’s Eve, while the 8-4 Cougars will also be facing a SEC team when they face Vanderbilt in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 4.

The Big 12 champion Baylor Bears will be playing in their first BCS bowl ever when they face 11-1 Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl.

But the game everybody is waiting for will be the BCS Championship game, which will pit No. 1-ranked Florida State and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston against No. 2-ranked Auburn and their potent run offense. Auburn was one of the best stories of the 2013 season. The Tigers were coming off a 3-9 season in 2012 and had a new head coach in Gus Malzahn. Malzahn installed his run-happy offense and the Tigers piled up gaudy numbers en route to an 11-1 season, which included two last-second wins over Georgia and Alabama that saved their season.

While Auburn was pulling out heart stoppers, Florida State pretty much dominated every team they played on their way to a 13-0 season and the Atlantic Coast Conference title. Winston was a threat with his arm and his legs, but this team is not a one-man show. There is talent on both sides of the ball and it appears head coach Jimbo Fisher has brought the Seminoles back to being one of the top teams in college football as they were for decades under former head coach Bobby Bowden.

There should be a lot of good games to watch over the next week for college football fans, but before we take a look at what’s on tap, let’s review last week’s record. A 5-4 record brought the season record to 116-61 (66%).

Now, let’s see what the bowl season has to offer.

BOWL GAMES

Liberty Bowl – Rice vs. Mississippi State: David Baliff’s Owls play in their second straight bowl game and enter the Liberty Bowl with 10 wins and as Confernce USA champs. They’ll face a physical Mississippi State team that can run the football on offense and has a big and strong front seven on defense. I think the Owls make a game of it in this one, but look for the Bulldogs’ physicality to be the difference down the stretch as the SEC continues to flex its muscle during bowl season. My pick, Mississippi State 26, Rice 23

Chick-fil-A Bowl – Texas A&M vs. Duke: Like Auburn, Duke was another feel-good story during the 2013 season. Head coach David Cutliffe led the Blue Devils to a 10-win season and a spot in the ACC title game. For a school that’s known more for basketball than football, you’d have to say the 2013 season was a pretty amazing one considering how the football program has sturggled to be even medicore for much of its existence. They will face another tough challenge when they take on a talented Aggie squad led by Manziel and wide receiver Mike Evans. Many think Johnny Football will be playing his final game in the Maroon and White and if that’s so, he’ll want to give Aggie fans a game to remember. I have a feeling JF puts on a show in the Georgia Dome on New Year’s Eve. Remember, when Duke played an athletic Florida State team in the ACC title game, they were crushed , 45-7. The Aggies may not have as much athletic talent as does FSU, but they have enough and that will mean a long night for the Blue Devils. My pick, Texas A&M 45, Duke 20

Gator Bowl – Nebraska vs. Georgia: Both teams entered the season with high expectations, but both suffered through so-so seasons. Both teams lost starting quarterbacks to season-ending injuries as Taylor Martinez went down for the Cornhuskers and Aaron Murray suffered a season-ending knee injury late in the season. Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini might be coaching for his job as the ‘Husker faithful are growing weary of his temper and underachieving teams. Look for Georiga running back Todd Gurley to be the difference in this one as he runs for a big day and leads the Bulldogs to victory. My pick, Georgia 31, Nebraska 23

Outback Bowl – LSU vs. Iowa: The Tigers take on the Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl and will have to rely on its running game if it hopes to get win No. 10 on the season. The Tigers lost starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger in the season finale against Arkansas. Reserve QB Anthony Jennings came in and led LSU to the game-winning drive and threw the game winning touchdown to save the day. Jennings has talent, but little experience, so look for Les Miles to lean heavily on his running game led by tailback Jeremy Hill (1,185 yards rushing, 14 touchdowns). LSU’s speed on defense will also be too much for the lumbering Hawkeyes and will also play a key role as the Tigers roll Iowa. My pick, LSU 36, Iowa 18

Rose Bowl – Michigan State vs. Stanford: If you are a fan of defensive football, then this game is right up your alley. Michigan State and Stanford are two of the best defensive teams in the country, so don’t expect a lot of offensive fireworks in this one. Mighican State won the Big 10, while Stanford won the Pac 12. Both teams did it with stifling defenses and opportunistic offenses. The Spartans did put up 34 points on Ohio State in the Big 10 title game will take a chance or two down field with the passing game. But their MO is to play tough defense, run the football and let the chips fall where they may. This should be one of the better Jan. 1 bowl games as both teams are evently matched. Something tells me the Spartans come out on top at the end of the day. My pick, Michigan State 23, Stanford 20

Sugar Bowl – Oklahoma vs. Alabama: Two of the most successful programs in college football history meet in the Sugar Bowl when Bob Stoops’ Sooners take on Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide. Alabama was hoping to play for its third straight BCS title, but Auburn spoiled those chances with a last-second victory in the Iron Bowl. The Sooners appeared headed for a lesser bowl game, but came through with a late fourth-quarter rally to defeat in-state rival Oklahoma State and earn a trip to New Orleans. Alabama doesn’t have a lot to play for and their mental makeup might have a lot to do with the outcome of this game, but I think quarterback AJ McCarron will rally the troops. He knows he and his teammates can win a third straight BCS bowl game and this senior class could become one of the most successful in the history of the storied program. I think that will be motivation enough for the Tide in this one. My pick, Alabama 31, Oklahoma 23

Orange Bowl – Ohio State vs. Clemson: While defense will rule the day at the Rose Bowl, plenty of offense will be on dispaly in Miami on Jan. 3 when the Buckeyes and Tigers hook up. Both teams feature two talented quarterbacks as Braxton Miller (1,860 yards passing, 22 touchdowns, 1,033 yards rushing, 10 touchdowns) leads the potent Buckeye attack and Taj Boyd (3,473 yards passing, 29 touchdowns) leads the Tigers. Ohio State also has a strong running game led by tailback Carlos Hyde (1,408 yards, 14 TDs), while the Tigers feature more of a passing game led by wide receiver Sammy Watkins (1,237 yards receiving, 10 TDs). There will be plenty of scoring in this one and the game could be decided on the final drive. Something tells me Miller will be the difference in this one as Urban Myers’ team picks up the win. My pick, Ohio State 41, Clemson 38

Cotton Bowl – Missouri vs. Oklahoma State: This one should be another offensive shootout as the Tigers and Cowboys go after one another in Jerry World in Arlington. These two teams know one another rather well as both were members of the Big 12 just two years ago until Missouri bolted for the SEC along with Texas A&M. The Tigers were one of the surprise teams in the country this year and are led by quarterback James Franklin (2,255 yards passing, 19 TDs) and running back Henry Josey. Mizzu also has two tall and speedy wide receivers who should give the OSU defense fits. The Cowboys are led by quarterback Clink Chelf (1,792 yards, 16 TDs) and a stable of quality running backs. OSU was in position to win the Big 12 and play in the Fiesta Bowl, but they collapsed down the stretch against OU and had to settle for the Cotton Bowl. How focused will they be for this one? I say, not much. My pick, Missouri 34, Oklahoma State 26

BBVA Compass Bowl – Houston vs. Vanderbilt: A win over a decent SEC team would do a lot for Tony Levine’s young team heading into the offseason. Freshman quarterback John O’Korn (2,889 yards passing, 26 TDs) needs to play within himself and not force the action becuase if he does, the Vand defense will make him regret it. I think the Cougars have just as much athleticism as the Commodores do and will leave Birmingham with a win that could carry them on to bigger and better things in 2014. My pick, Houston 26, Vanderbilt 20

BCS Championship Game – Auburn vs. Florida State: No. 1 versus No. 2 for all the marbles and the fancy crystal trophy that goes to the victor. Florida State was dominant throughout the season and are loaded on both sides of the football. It all starts with Winston (3,820 yards passing, 38 touchdowns), but he’s no one-man show. The Seminoles have three capable running backs who take turns gashing opponents and perhaps the best receiving corps in the country, led by Rashad Greene (981 yards receiving, nine TDs) and Kelvin Benjamin (957 yards receiving, 14 TDs). Defensively, they have speed up front and on the corners, but they will be facing perhaps their biggest test of the season against an Auburn team that runs the ball so well and uses it to set up big pass plays. Quarterback Nick Marshall (1,757 yards passing, 12 TDs, 1,023 yards rushing, 11 TDs) does an excellent job of running Malzahn’s option attack and with running back Tre Mason (1,621 yards, 22 TDs) will give the FSU defense trouble in the title game. The Seminoles will need to be solid on the edge on defense and don’t be surprised if they assign a linebacker to focus solely on Marshall and spy him throughout the game. I think Auburn stays in this game because of their running attack, but Winston will find holes in the Auburn defense down the stretch as Fisher earns the biggest victory of his coaching career. My pick, Florida State 36, Auburn 23