“We’re in a great spot right now because we’ve gotten to that point where it's not ok with making the playoffs anymore,” Hamon said. “We’ve taken that first step of making the playoffs and knowing how to compete for that."
Seven Lakes has had improvements in district each of the past two seasons.
After not making the playoffs in 2019, the Spartans bounced back with a 2020 season in which they finished fourth in district to make the bi-district round.
The Spartans made another small improvement last season, upping their wins by four and going 4-2 in district to finish third overall.
The Spartans goal for this year is to keep that streak of playoff appearances alive, and to find a way to break their streak of two straight seasons of losing in the bi-district round.
But things will get even tougher this year for Seven Lakes. Katy remains one of the state’s powers, while Tompkins and Cinco Ranch both bring back very strong teams that will make strong pushes for playoff runs. Pair that with Paetow’s jump to Class 6A and Morton Ranch bringing back a strong squad that could push other’s in Katy ISD for a playoff spot and it makes for a hard path for Seven Lakes to get back to the playoffs.
But that hard journey is something that Seven Lakes is embracing, and the Spartans believe they have what it takes to be a top four team in District 19-6A.
“We’re in a great spot right now because we’ve gotten to that point where no one on this campus is going to be just ok with making the playoffs anymore,” said Seven Lakes head coach Jimmy Hamon. “We’ve taken that first step of making the playoffs and knowing how to compete for that, but now, it’s not ok just to make the playoffs anymore. This whole team is focused on finding a way through district, trying to make it to that top four but then once we get there, taking that next step and winning a playoff game.”
Seven Lakes has some key players coming back on offense. Barrett Hudson is primed to be the lead back in the Spartans offense this year after leading the team with 862 yards rushing last year to go with five touchdowns, while Landon Ross will lead the Spartans receiving unit. Marcel Davis will also provide another option in both the pass and the run game.
Those players will provide lots of options for the offense throughout the year as Seven Lakes will be able to attack both on the ground and through the air as senior Tanner Perez steps in to take over at quarterback.
“It’s huge for us to bring all of those players back because it’s going to take pressure off the quarterback,” Hamon said. “Because of those guys, we aren’t going to have to count on our quarterback to make the kind of plays that we sometimes expected a guy like Grayson Medford to make last year. We have a very productive supporting cast around Perez, so he’s going to be able to distribute the ball both in the running and passing game. We have playmakers at tight end, at running back and receiver, so that’s always helpful.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Spartans are led by Dakyus Brinkley, who will look to make a jump in his junior season. On the back end of the defense, Bryce Turner is a leader that will help bring along young players and Ekechika Ezima is a force on the line that will help carry the front seven along with Brinkley. The Seven Lakes defense had a strong season last year and they think this years will be no different.
“All of those guys really have just had a great summer,” Hamon said. “Dakyus (Brinkley) really has just poured into the weight room and our strength and conditioning program and so have the other players. But Dakyus is on peoples radar now, that is going to let guys like Bryce (Turner) be able to step up. Guys like Preston Bozeman and Amani Hooks can play off that extra attention Dakyus is going to receive because people will gameplan for him. The whole defense and team have just been consistent and have had a great summer to get ready for this.”
A big part of Seven Lakes confidence this year comes from the fact that they have a strong returning cast, with four starters returning on offense and five returning on defense and many who saw playing time on varsity last year. Those returners are expected to lead the way for the team and the entire Spartans squad is excited to go out and prove that they are still a team to be reckoned within Katy ISD.
“We’ve been able to start at a different point this year because everyone knows what is expected,” Hamon said. “Not having to start from scratch is huge. They can handle things, and it’s great going into a year not worrying about if guys can handle the noise on Friday’s or if they can handle pressure situations. It lets us schematically do things that aren’t as simple or basic too. We can go into week one with a full playbook and adjustments. The continuity that these guys have has us starting in a great spot.”
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