Countdown to kickoff: Arlington Seguin Cougars

Posted Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Arlington Seguin

District 14-5A

Last season: 6-5 (4-3 in District 15-4A)

Key players: QB Jalen Morton (6-2, 215), OL Mason Reedom (6-0, 260), DB Malik Barnes (5-11, 160), MLB Sharif Thompson (6-2, 200), DB Rontavion Hickson (6-0, 165), RB Darrian Hammonds (6-1, 215), OL Josh Gnat (6-1, 245), OL Felipe Rodriguez (5-11, 220), DT Mike Rivera (6-3, 255).

The big picture: It took time, but Arlington Seguin rode the dual-threat action of quarterback Kelton Moore to the postseason in 2013 for the first time in four years. With Moore gone to Nevada, the Cougars return with senior Jalen Morton who might give the offense a spark in the passing game this season. Head coach Carlos Lynn said Morton’s ability to throw accurately downfield is something his staff will work into game plans as the need dictates. Four starters on offense and five on defense will return for Seguin. Returners include junior running back Darrian Hammonds who rushed for 855 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Lynn said the players on defense possess a “football IQ” that strengthens the team. Seniors Rontavion Hickson and Malik Barnes will anchor a strong secondary with the surprise addition of basketball player Sharif Thompson, who joined the team during spring training. Thompson worked out at several positions before coaches assigned him to middle linebacker. Lynn said the senior earned a starting position because he “shined like new money.”

Quotable: “We all got stronger and faster in the off-season. But probably the biggest impact will be that we have a better connection or as good as the last group of seniors. We have expectations for each other, and I feel like we’re strong on both sides of the ball equally. I’m very confident throwing the ball downfield, but I feel like my accuracy is what can helps us in the passing game. — quarterback Jalen Morton

“I feel like we finally turned a corner as a program. It doesn’t seem any longer like we’re rebuilding, but more like we’re reloading now. We have some good pieces coming back, and I feel like our greatest strength with be on defense in the secondary. I’m positively optimistic, and I never really felt like we had control of our destiny in the three years prior to last. It seemed like we always needed someone to lose toward the end and we were never in the driver’s seat. I really believe as a team, the kids have bought into our philosophy and going back to core basics of being an athlete.” — coach Carlos Lynn

“I think our secondary is strong. I think it’s one of the best in the area easily. That just means more offenses are going to run the ball and that’s where we all had to improve. I worked hard on the things. I needed to run the ball, work on my vision and my speed, but I’m also playing linebacker some too. I think we’ll be much improved this year and offenses will have a hard time running on us.” — running back/linebacker Darrian Hammonds

Notable: Since Lynn began asking players to focus on character and integrity at Seguin, he said the team has lost only one player due to grades.

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