Coach: Anthony Criss
Last season: 2-8 (1-6 in District 3-5A)
Key players: QB Ervin Hill (6-2, 195); RB Daylon Woods (6-0, 215); DB Dawaune Sykes (6-0, 180); DB Marvin Black (6-0, 180); DB Kajuan Williams (5-11, 175); WR Lamontre Hinton (6-3, 180); WR Darrion Flowers (5-10, 175)
The big picture: Its no secret how Sam Houston coach Anthony Criss plans to win games in 2013. The formula involves a heavy dose of Daylon Woods. The 6-foot, 215-pound senior running back has the shifty moves of a smaller back with the explosive power of a linebacker. Expect Criss to hand him the ball 20 or more times a game. We told him you will run the football a lot, Criss said. Youre going to be an old school tailback. ... Youre not back there to pass block. Woods has lofty yardage and touchdown goals. Hed like to rush for 2,000 yards and 20 scores. And on his way to the end zone, Woods prefers to take a would-be tackler or two along for the ride. I love contact, Woods said. Im all for contact. Criss would be all for making the playoffs. The Texans won just one district game in 2012, Crisss second year at the helm, but Woods is among the reasons Criss expects to challenge for one of District 3-5As four postseason spots. All five starting defensive backs return to anchor the defense, led by senior Dawaune Sykes. The 6-0, 180-pound cornerback received first-team all-district honors as a junior after picking off five passes and returning one 71 yards for a touchdown. Sykes and his fellow defensive players sometime draw the ire of the defensive-oriented Criss, but the coachs strong focus on the defense is one of the reasons Sykes believes Sam Houston can become a playoff contender this fall. I believe were good, Sykes said. Its time.
• I think track and field has been a big deal for us. We really increased our team speed. Thats one of the things we lacked last year was team speed. We put a big emphasis in our off-season of getting faster. They didnt like me a lot in the spring but now theyre like, Look what track has done. Coach Anthony Criss
• Its going to be a fast-paced offense. Everythings going to be quick. Ive gotten faster, stronger and gained more knowledge. Its simpler for me to just read the defense and know where to go and where not to go. QB Ervin Hill
Notable: Sam Houston plays eight of its 10 games at Wilemon Field. The Arlington school district stadium is on Sam Houstons campus and is the home field of Sam Houston, Seguin and Bowie.
Special to the S-T
Quarterback Ervin Hill says he is faster, stronger and has a much better grasp of the offense.
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