Football: Pearland to take on Manvel
James Farmer had hoped his debut as Pearland’s head football coach would have arrived well before Friday.
But now that neighboring Manvel is part of the ceremony, Farmer will simply be ushered into the coaching ranks on a grander scale.
Pearland, a candidate to win District 23-6A, and the Mavericks, ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 5A by Texas Football magazine, renew their short-lived rivalry at 7 p.m., Friday at Alvin Memorial Stadium.
The low-key Farmer is aware of the many unknowns about the Oilers, but his surface knowledge of Manvel provides him with the primary information he needs about the Mavs.
“They’re a good football team, very talented, and it will be a good test for us,” Farmer said. “Manvel has skill and talent all over the field, and their defensive line is really aggressive.”
Farmer, whose team acquitted itself well in a scrimmage against Clear Creek, was afforded the chance to see Manvel scrimmage Katy last week.
“They banged around pretty good with Katy,” Farmer said. “It was just what you’d expect to see from those two teams – a lot of good players doing a lot of good stuff.
“We got a little dinged up on the offensive line in our scrimmage, but we moved the ball pretty well. Defensively, we looked good at times, but there are plenty of things we need to work on.
“It was just nice seeing someone else at full speed, and we were able to learns some things about our guys.”
The talent-laden Mavericks return 12 starters from a 13-1 regional finalist team.
Key personnel among those veterans are quarterback Kason Martin (6-3, 185), son of head coach Kirk Martin, and wide receiver/kick returner Jalen Preston, who will probably be the most explosive player on the field.
Other standouts for Manvel include linebackers Brian Johnson, Jermaine Brown and DePriest Taylor, cornerback Trent Gordon, and ends Kori Roberson and Stephen Shaw.
Bolstering the Manvel offense is running back Garrison Johnson, a 6-1, 215-pound move-in from Wolfforth Frenship. Johnson rushed for more than 1,500 yards last season and scored 18 touchdowns. Quarterback Martin accounted for 48 touchdowns last year while passing for 3,500 yards.
Pearland counters, offensively, with the two-pronged rushing attack led by Jaelin Benefield and Evan Burgess while quarterback Austin Landry lends experience at that position.
The Oilers’ youthful and injured offensive line will be met by a challenge from Manvel’s imposing defensive front.
Defensively, Pearland returns seven starters, led by end Gilbert Ibeneme and linebacker Mitchell Johnson.
“We’d like to have two games under our belt, but we’ll use this one and Pasadena Memorial next week to try to get ready for district,” Farmer said.
“Workouts have been good, we’re just ready to see someone besides ourselves. Our tackling wasn’t that great against Clear Creek, and we’ll have to shore that up, especially against Manvel.”