East Texas Players to Watch at This Weekend’s Division I 7-on-7 Football State Tournament
Five East Texas teams compete in the Division I 7-on-7 football state tournament starting Friday at Southwest Williamson County Regional Park in Leander.
Here’s a quick look at some of the players to watch from those teams — John Tyler, Longview, Lufkin, Tyler Lee, and Whitehouse — during this weekend’s event, which starts Friday morning and ends Saturday afternoon.
For full pool-play matchups, click here.
Patrick Mahomes, Sr., QB, Whitehouse
Whitehouse has yet to lose a 7-on-7 contest despite playing with mix-and-match lineups all summer. That won’t be the case this weekend, when the Wildcats are expected to be at full strength with Texas Tech-committed senior quarterback Patrick Mahomes at the helm.
Mahomes led Whitehouse to a state tournament berth during the June 8 event at Lufkin, but classmate Ryan Cheatham and junior Jackson Allen have also successfully manned the quarterback position during the past month. Regardless of who has thrown the ball, Whitehouse’s receivers have delivered. Seniors Jaylon Dews, Jake Parker, Coleman Patterson, Cheatham, and others make for a quality group of pass-catchers regardless of the trigger man.
But Whitehouse wants its 6-foot-3, 203-pound gunslinger in Mahomes at quarterback this weekend. That will indeed be the case, which could be bad news for the Wildcats’ opponents.
Lufkin’s receiving corps
New starting junior quarterback Trey Cumbie has big shoes to fill with the graduation of Tyler Stubblefield, but he’ll have plenty of help from a deep and talented group of receivers.
Lufkin boasts three Division I FBS-caliber receivers in senior Jamal Jeffery and juniors Key’Vantanie “KeKe” Coutee and Terry Mark. The Panthers, who qualified for state in early June at the event they hosted, put on a pool-play show at the Tyler state qualifier tournament at Lindsey Park on June 15. Jeffery, who is committed to Texas A&M, caught three touchdown passes, while Coutee, a Texas pledge, and Mark each caught two in a 51-13 rout of Jacksonville.
But opponents shouldn’t overlook the trigger man. Cumbie has impressed all spring and summer and appears to be the next in a long line of talented left-handed quarterbacks for the Pack.
Jordan Whitaker, Sr., TE/WR, Longview
Texas-committed senior receiver Dorian Leonard is Longview’s highest-profile pass-catcher, but classmate Jordan Whitaker has posted the best numbers this summer of anyone in Longview’s receiving corps.
At 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, Whitaker is a matchup nightmare just like the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Leonard. Perhaps Whitaker’s best game of the summer to date came in Longview’s 53-43 pool-play victory against Crosby at the June 15 state qualifier tournament at Tyler’s Lindsey Park. He caught four touchdown passes in that game to lead the Lobos, then caught another in a 26-13 semifinal win against John Tyler to help clinch the state berth.
Whitaker and Leonard give junior quarterback Dezmond Chumley a fearsome duo, but there’s more than simply those two. Senior receivers Chris Pellum and Stephon Anthony also played well during June, while junior tailback JaMycal Hasty and senior tailback L’darrius Peterson gives the Lobos dangerous options out of the backfield.
John Tyler’s secondary
While a lot of the attention surrounding John Tyler’s offseason has concentrated on the Lions’ need to replace offensive stars at quarterback (Greg Ward), receiver (Fred Ross, Darion Flowers, Justice Liggins), JT’s defense has quietly retooled in the back seven.
Senior safeties Terry Ausborne, who has an SMU offer, and Greg Johnson join junior cornerbacks Isaac Warren and Bryston Crawford to give JT a solid and experienced defensive backfield. Warren will be one of East Texas’ best cover corners during the next two seasons. He’s big (6-1, 175), physical, and athletic. Ausborne and Johnson have played well all summer despite not getting to hit anyone, which is a particular strength of their games.
Trevor Carr, Jr., QB, Tyler Lee
The Red Raiders entered the offseason unsure who their starting quarterback would be in 2013. After a successful 7-on-7 campaign, Trevor Carr appears to be the man to beat for the job.
Carr has gotten the vast majority of snaps with Lee first team during 7-on-7 league play at Rose Stadium each Monday in June and at the state qualifier tournaments the Red Raiders participated in. Carr led Lee to a 27-20 semifinal win against Lindale in the June 15 SQT at Tyler’s Lindsey Park to get the Red Raiders in this weekend’s Division I state tournament.