Aldine Loses a Legend
by Mark W. McKee
The Mustang football family lost one of its all-time greats this week when Don Burrisk (class of 1970) passed away Dec. 10, 2018, at the age of 66.
Burrisk starred at running back for Aldine from 1967 to 1969. In 1969, he set a then-school record for rushing yards in a season with 1,717 in only 10 games – a mark that stood for 20 years. Today Burrisk's total still ranks third all-time among Mustang players, and the two Ponies who later topped him did so on teams that played 15 games apiece (including playoffs).
Burrisk earned second-team All-State honors and was named Team MVP for his outstanding 1969 season. His play also drew the attention of the University of Texas, which offered him a football scholarship beginning in Fall 1970. As a sophomore, Burrisk played in the 1972 Cotton Bowl against Penn State, gaining 45 yards on the ground and another 45 receiving. Injuries, unfortunately, would later hamper him for the rest of his collegiate career.
While a Mustang, Burrisk was a popular student off the field, and his classmates voted him Mr. Aldine for 1969-70. After school, Burrisk married and enjoyed a long career in commercial real estate.
In 2009, Burrisk gave the following advice to that year’s Mustang team, words that still apply today:
“Focus on being a good citizen, a good student, and a good football player, in that order.”
Rest in peace, Don.
Awards Banquet Brings 2018 Season to a Close
The Aldine Mustangs held their annual end-of-the-season banquet Dec. 10 at the school cafeteria. The following players earned these honors:
Bill Smith Most Valuable Player Award: Jacorey Howard
Barton Massey Best Lineman Award: Preston Anderson
Kerry Bamburg Most Improved Player Award: Moises Sanchez
Richard Whitaker Mustang Fighting Heart Award: Michael McLenon
Kitty Spence Award for Academic Excellence: Armando Cruz
In addition, five Mustangs were named to the 16-6A All-District team:
1st Team Offense: OL Preston Anderson
1st Team Offense (Unanimous): TB Jacorey Howard
1st Team Defense: LB Michael McLenon
2nd Team Defense: LB C.J. King
2nd Team Defense: S Traymon Alfred
Head Coach Hank Semler also announced that in the future, team captains will be called "The Four Horsemen." This year’s Four Horsemen were Jacorey Howard, Preston Anderson, Michael McLenon and C.J. King
Congratulations to all the award winners and the All-District honorees. And congratulations to all the Mustangs who were part of the 2018 squad. This year saw an improved team hit the field each and every week, representing Aldine High School with pride and a never-quit, Gung-Ho attitude. Thank you for your effort and determination and see you next season!
An Aldine defender intercepts a Spring pass in the end zone, denying the Lions a first-quarter TD Saturday at Thorne Stadium. Spring, however, went on to defeat the Mustangs, 34-7, handing Aldine its 20th-straight district loss.
Photo by Mark W. McKee
Aldine linebacker Christopher King (40) zeros in on Eisenhower's Deon Allen (8) during last Thursday's game at Thorne Stadium. The Eagles beat the Mustangs 42-20. Eisenhower has now defeated Aldine 12 years in a row. The Mustangs' next game is Thursday, Oct. 4, against Davis. Game time at Thorne Stadium is 7 p.m. Aldine will be the visitors.
Photo by John Gray (Aldine High School)
Aldine RB Jacorey Howard (9) dodges several Sam Houston defenders on his way to a 451-yard, 5-touchdown night. Howard's incredible night leads the Mustangs to a 41-27 victory, snapping a team-record 23-game losing streak.
Photo by John Gray (Aldine High School)
Mustangs End 23-Game Losing Streak Thanks to Howard’s Once-in-a-Lifetime Game
By Mark W. McKee
Posted Sep. 15, 2018
Hello, W. It’s been a long time. The Aldine Mustangs returned to the win column Friday night, crushing the Sam Houston Tigers, 41-27, before a delighted Homecoming crowd at Thorne Stadium. Leading the charge was RB Jacorey Howard, who posted one of the greatest games in school history, rushing for a team-record 451 yards and 5 TDs.
Aldine’s triumph snaps a school-record 23-game losing streak. The Mustangs’ last victory was Oct. 24, 2015, when they beat Nimitz, 36-32. The win was also the first for Hank Semler as Aldine head coach.
"This game was the first time I have seen our kids rise up and say, ‘We are done losing’ and hang together for four quarters," a happy Semler said. "There was a scare at the end, but the sideline was alive with support and in the end, the team got back on track. I am so proud of every player and how he has embraced his role in our program."
Howard, meanwhile, was overjoyed. As a third-year varsity player, this was his first win. “It’s epochal, man. We finally won!” Howard told Edward McFarlane, Jr., of Vype Magazine after the game. You can see the entire postgame interview here.
Not only was Aldine’s win epochal, but Howard’s night was one for the ages as well. He ran for scores of 89, 80, 73, 62 and 3 yards. Just those TDs alone were enough to break the previous school rushing record of 303, set by QB Doug Womack against Deer Park in 1989. Howard’s five touchdowns tie the record held by several players; most recent was QB Andrew Davis against Northbrook in 2014.
Howard has made several entries into the school record books in his career. His 89-yard score against Sam Houston is the third-longest in Mustang history. Two weeks ago, against Cy Falls, Howard had a 91-yard TD, the second longest for a Mustang. He also has school’s longest TD pass – a 98-yard completion to Joshawn Bates versus Westfield in 2016.
QB Johnny Toups added a 2-yard rushing score and K Nick Bonilla booted five extra points for the Mustangs.
With the win, Aldine is now 1-2 heading into its bye week. Sam Houston fell to 1-2. The Mustangs will no doubt savor this win during the bye. Aldine opens District 16-6A play Thursday, Sep. 27 against Eisenhower (1-2), which lost to Strake Jesuit, 34-3, Friday night. Game time at Thorne Stadium is 7 p.m. The Mustangs will be the home team.
Semler is already looking forward to the next game. He has a message for Aldine's remaining opponents: "This team is not going to back down from anyone!"
Coach Semler Discusses Accountability
by Hank Semler
Posted Sep. 8, 2018
After watching our game against Humble High School all night, I reached a painful, yet I believe, accurate conclusion. I did not do a good job getting us ready to play this game. All too often when a game like last night occurs the head coach will talk about things like, "We didn't tackle well," or, "We didn't block, throw, catch, etc., well," or even worse, "Penalties/the referees killed us." I don't believe that; I never have, and I never will.
When a game like last night happens, the first thing I do is go back through every workout we had leading up to the game, and the notes I made during each workout of what we need to work on or fix to give us a chance to be successful. I look at video of our practices, and I compare that video with our video of our opponent, to see if we took advantage of their weaknesses and addressed their strengths. I also look at our scheme for every phase of the game and our depth charts to make sure we did not ask a kid to do something he is not physically or mentally capable of doing. After doing this, I reached the conclusion that I did not do a very good job.
The blocked punts were my fault. As head coach, I oversee all special teams, and I put two young men in positions with not enough work during the week to handle the stress of Humble's punt block team. The defensive scheme was my fault. When an offense figures out what you are doing on defense, it's my job to have a new attack to their counter-punch, and that did not happen fast enough to affect the outcome of the game. Offensively, I have to make sure we are focused on the little things in our technique to make the game less thinking and more natural, and we did not spend near enough time in individual drills for this to happen.
Humble High School did a great job, but I helped them out by not doing my job to the best of my ability. If I had taken care of business, we could have won that game, or at least been in a position to win it. As the old saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." I refuse to get fooled a second time this season.
We will have a renewed focus on the little things this week, and our schemes will reflect this attention to detail. We will not set our players up for failure, and we will do whatever it takes to field the best team Aldine HS has seen in quite a while against Sam Houston HS for our Homecoming. Our community deserves better.
To sum everything up, I apologize for our performance last night. It will not happen again on my watch.
Wildcats Corral Mustangs, 57-7
Posted Sep. 8, 2018
The Humble Wildcats used three TD passes from QB Chase Pena to upend the Aldine Mustangs, 57-7, Friday night at Turner Stadium in Humble. One of Pena’s scoring tosses was a 66-yard, first-quarter strike to Robert Williams. Pena, who threw for 146 yards, also ran for an 8-yard score.
The Mustangs’ TD was a 12-yard, fourth-quarter run by RB Jacorey Howard with 4:29 left to play. Nick Bonilla kicked the extra point. Howard finished the game with 160 rushing yards on 36 carries.
Humble runs its record to 2-0 with the win. Aldine, 0-2, has now lost 23-straight games. The Mustangs next opponents are the Sam Houston Tigers. Game time Friday, Sep. 14, is 7 p.m. at Thorne Stadium. The Tigers (1-1) were leading Wisdom High, 35-0, in the second quarter Thursday night when the contest was suspended due to fighting between the teams.
Aldine DL Lazaro Escobar (93) lines up against Cy Falls Saturday night in the Mustangs' 42-21 season-opening loss. The team debuted a new helmet logo at the game, the first time since 1977 that Aldine has not used some variation of the "Rocking A" logo.
Photo by Mark W. McKee
Eagles Double Up Mustangs, 42-21
Posted Sep. 2, 2018
by Mark W. McKee
Two lightning delays didn’t stop the visiting Cy Falls Eagles from striking fast and often, building a 42-0 third-quarter lead in a 42-21 win over Aldine in the 2018 season opener Saturday night for both teams at Thorne Stadium.
The game’s opening kickoff was delayed for more than 30 minutes thanks to threatening skies. The game was also held up at halftime, with fans asked to clear the stands. In between the delays, the Eagles were productive on the field. Cy Falls QB T.J. Goodwin threw for two TDs and 142 yards. Semaj Trahan was on the receiving end on one scoring pass. He also had a rushing TD. Koby Leavatts ran for 124 yards and two markers.
Aldine was kept off the scoreboard for the first three quarters. That ran their consecutive scoreless streak to 20-straight quarters dating back to the Nimitz game (Game 6) of last year. The lengthy scoreless skid tied the team record, originally set in 1953.
However, the Mustangs at last found paydirt in the fourth quarter when QB Johnny Toups ran 1 yard for a score with 7:45 left to play. RB Jacorey Howard then burst 91 yards on a TD run with 5:09 remaining. Howard’s run was the second-longest in team history, behind only a 94-run by Patrick Randle against Spring Woods in 1999. Aldine added another score with just under 30 seconds left when Toups found Jacoby Terry on a 4-yard TD pass. K Kelvin Bonilla booted all three extra-points.
Cy Falls improves to 1-0. The Mustangs fall to 0-1 and have now lost 22-straight games. Aldine next plays Humble (1-0), which opened its 2018 season with a 47-6 win over Northbrook.
Meet Aldine’s 2018 Opponents
CYPRESS FALLS GOLDEN EAGLES
9/1 @ Thorne Stadium (6 p.m.)
2017 record: 5-5 (17-6A playoff rep, lost in D1 bi-district)
All-time series: n/a (first meeting)
9/7 @ Turner Stadium (7 p.m.)
2017 record: 1-7
All-Time series: Aldine leads 17-14
First meeting: 1938 (Humble 18, Aldine 6)
Last meeting: 2009 (Humble 24, Aldine 21)
SAM HOUSTON TIGERS
9/14 at Thorne Stadium (7 p.m.)
2017 record: 1-7
All-time series: Tied 9-9-1
First meeting: 1960 (Aldine 12, Sam Houston 7)
Last meeting: 1984 (Aldine 32, Sam Houston 6)
Fun fact: HISD’s oldest high school, the Tigers (then known as Central High) played in one of the first high school football games in Texas, losing to Galveston Ball, 23-6, in 1901.
9/27 at Thorne Stadium (7 p.m.) (Home)
2017 record: 4-5
All-time series: Eisenhower leads 21-17
First meeting: 1980 (Aldine 24, Eisenhower 22)
Last meeting: 2017 (Eisenhower 56, Aldine 0)
10/4 at Thorne Stadium (7 p.m.) (Visitor)
2017 record: 3-6 (16-6A playoff rep, lost in D1 bi-district)
All-time series: Davis leads 4-0
First meeting: 2014 (Davis 33, Aldine 0)
Last meeting: 2017 (Davis 48, Aldine 8)
10/12 at Thorne Stadium (7 p.m.) (Visitor)
2017 record: 2-6
All-time series: Aldine leads 32-18-1
First meeting: 1967 (MacArthur 12, Aldine 6)
Last meeting: 2017 (MacArthur 69, Aldine 34)
Fun fact: The first Aldine-MacArthur battle was nicknamed the “Jet Bowl” in honor of Intercontinental Airport, then under construction.
10/20 at Thorne Stadium (2 p.m.)
2017 record: 8-2 (16-6A playoff rep, lost in D1 bi-district)
All-time series: Series tied 5-5
First meeting: 1994 (Aldine 35, Spring 28)
Last meeting: 2017 (Spring 51, Aldine 0)
10/27 at George Stadium (4 p.m.)
2017 record: 11-1 (16-6A champ, lost in D2 regionals)
All-time series: Westfield leads series 6-4
First meeting: 1992 (Westfield 36, Aldine 13)
Last meeting: 2017 (Westfield 73, Aldine 0)
Fun fact: Westfield High is named for the former town of Westfield. However, the Westfield community has never been a part of Spring ISD; it’s always been a part of Aldine ISD.
11/2 at Thorne Stadium (7 p.m.)
2017 record: 6-4 (16-6A playoff rep, lost in D2 bi-district)
All-time series: Dekaney leads series 2-0
First meeting: 2016 (Dekaney 55, Aldine 7)
Last meeting: 2017 (Dekaney 66, Aldine 0)
11/8 at Thorne Stadium (7 p.m.) (Visitor)
2017 record: 4-5
All-time series: Aldine leads 26-13
First meeting: 1979 (Aldine 33, Nimitz 0)
Last meeting: 2017 (Nimitz 49, Aldine 7)
Ex-Aldine Coach Massey Named 2018 Texas Gridiron Legend
by Mark McKee
Posted Aug. 11, 2018
Former Aldine High head coach Barton Massey has been named to the 2018 class of the Texas Gridiron Legends. Massey is joined by five other Lone Star legends, including former St. Pius/Texas A&M quarterback Gary Kubiak and Texas Tech wide receiver Wes Welker.
Massey coached Aldine from 1968 to 1974. Massey changed the school’s colors from Royal blue to Columbia blue upon arriving in 1968 in a bid to change the team’s fortunes on the field. His best year with the Mustangs was 1969, when the team came in second in District 15-4A (5-5) and featured All-State running back Don Burrisk. Massey finished his Aldine coaching career with a 20-47-3 record, moving to an assistant principal position at Eisenhower in 1975.
Massey’s biggest claim to football fame was being a four-sport star at Bowie High School in the early 1950s. In his senior year at Bowie, Massey was an All-State and All-America center for the Jackrabbits’ football team. Massey then moved to Texas Tech where he became an All-America college football center as well.
Massey later returned to Bowie to become that school's head football coach in the early 1960s. Massey’s Jackrabbits went 17-12-1. He was the head baseball coach and assistant football coach at Bryan's Austin High in 1968 when Aldine hired him to take over the Mustang football program. In 2006, Massey was inducted into the Greater Houston Football Coaches Hall of Honor.
Massey becomes the second Aldine head coach to be named a Texas Gridiron Legend. In 2012, Bill Smith, Massey's former assistant and successor at Aldine, was also awarded the honor.
The Texas Bowl sponsors the Texas Gridiron Legends program and makes the nominations.
Talking Football with Coach Semler
Posted Aug. 2, 2018
What can we look forward to from the 2018 Aldine Mustangs?
This year’s Mustangs will feature a revamped offense and defense. Offensively, we’re going to be more diverse with our playmakers, and we’re going to take advantage of our opponent’s weaknesses on defense to put some major points on the board each week. Defensively, we’ve retooled our scheme to better utilize the players we have and get as many hats to the ball as possible, every play. The losing streak is going to end quickly and once we get our first win, we might not lose again for a very long time! There’s a new confidence going into this year, and we are going to regain our community, recover our alumni base, and once again make the path to the playoffs run through the corner of West Road and I-45.
What changes have you implemented from last year?
We've changed EVERYTHING, with the exception of the game uniforms, which we will change the next chance we get! I’m not going to spoil the fun for our fans. All changes were a long time coming, and all are for the better. If folks want to see the changes, they’ll have to buy a ticket.
Which players should have an early impact on offense, defense and special teams?
Offensively, Jacorey Howard, Quentin Austin, and Preston Anderson will make the offense go, and Mike McLennon, CJKing and Isaac Palacios are going to be nightmares for our opponents. Kelvin Bonilla is a long-range weapon in the kicking game, so our red zone has been extended to our opponent’s 40-yard line.
What message do you have for students, parents, fans and alums?
The players and coaches have done their part to initiate Phase 2 of my turnaround plan for our program. It’s time for everyone else to get on board. You may not agree with everything we’re doing, but in the end, we will win and win often. If you want to talk about it, buy a ticket. The Mustangs are all about results, and nothing will stop us from achieving our goal this year.
This season will be a success if...
We are practicing Thanksgiving morning and playing in front of packed houses. We are THAT good!
This season will not be a success if...
I haven’t thought about it. We are going to the playoffs.
Aldine lineman Ronald Escobar fights for position against his Eisenhower counterpart Saturday at Thorne Stadium. Eisenhower defeated the Mustangs 56-0 to close out the 2017 season.
Photo by Mark W. McKee
Aldine to Close Out Season Saturday Against Eisenhower
The Aldine Mustangs hope to end their 2017 season with a win Saturday afternoon when they host the Eisenhower Eagles at Thorne Stadium. Game time is 2 p.m.
The Mustangs will be looking to snap three long losing streaks. The team has dropped a school-record 20-straight regular-season games and a team-record-tying 15-consecutive district contests. Both skids started in October 2015. In addition, Aldine wants to end a 10-game string of defeats to Eisenhower. The Mustangs have not beaten the Eagles since 2006. Ike leads the all-time series, 20-17.
Before Aldine can beat Eisenhower, the Mustang offense needs to get on track. Last week, Aldine was shut out in a 66-0 loss to Dekaney. It was the third-straight game the Mustangs failed to score, something that hasn’t happened to any Aldine team since 1974.
The defense will also need to find a way to step up its game as the season comes to a close. Aldine (0-8 on the year and 0-6 in district) has surrendered 139 points in the last two games and 190 over the last three. For the year, Aldine opponents have scored 410 points against the Mustang defense in seven games (an average of 58.5 points per game). In contrast, that hard-luck 1974 team (which finished 1-8-1) gave up 215 points over its entire 10-game season (an average of 21.5 points per game).
“We’ve got some definite challenges this final week,” said Aldine’s head coach Hank Semler. “But I prefer to see them as goals. If we can address these challenges, meet these goals and close out the season on an uplifting note, this will set us up to have a promising and positive offseason. We can start 2018 with momentum.”
Eisenhower is no doubt thinking many of the same things. Last week, the Eagles fell to Westfield, 31-3. Eisenhower is 2-4 in district and 3-5 on the season. Thanks to earlier losses to Dekaney and Davis, the Eagles can’t make the playoffs. However, like Aldine, they want to win their last game to go out with some positive momentum for next year.
Saturday will mark the final game for Aldine’s current seniors and the team has designated the contest as Senior Day. If you are an Aldine parent, staffer, student or alum, come out to Thorne Stadium Saturday afternoon and give them one final cheer to close out their high school football careers.
Aldine QB Jacorey Howard finds yards hard to come by against Westfield Saturday.
(Photo by Mark W. McKee)
Westfield Dumps Aldine in Record-Setting Rout
The Aldine Mustangs made several updates to the team record book Saturday, only in ways they would have preferred not to. Westfield marched over, around and through the Aldine defense en route to a 73-0 win at Thorne Stadium. The 73-point loss was not only the worst margin of defeat in Aldine’s 82-year team history, it was also their 19th-straight defeat, also a new school record.
Westfield RB James Bridges romped for 205 yards and two touchdowns. QB Terrance Gipson passed for two scores and rushed for another. Westfield had a 35-0 lead after the first quarter, the second-most points Aldine has ever given up in a period. Westfield led at halftime 52-0, the second-most points Aldine has given up in a half.
Aldine opened the game with an onside kick that Westfield recovered. Three plays and 40 seconds later, Westfield found the end zone for the first of their 10 touchdowns on the afternoon. Aldine, meanwhile, could never penetrate Westfield’s 20-yard line.
The 73-point win represents Westfield’s largest-ever margin of victory, according to noted football researcher Christopher Boheme. It is also the second-highest scoring total in that school’s history.
Westfield is now 5-0 in district and 7-0 on the season. Aldine slips to 0-5 in 16-6A and 0-7 on the year.
“When you look at the scoreboard, it’s easy to get discouraged,” said Aldine head coach Hank Semler. “But that’s only one way to measure progress. Right now, these young men are working hard and I’m confident the results will come.”
Semler said no one has given up. “We’re not just trying to build a football team,” he explained. “We’re trying to rebuild a culture of school pride that’s been allowed to deteriorate. It takes time. Be patient… these players are learning to rise to the challenge of the game and of life. They are worthy of your support.”
In 2015, Channelview beat Aldine 82-14 for a 68-point margin of victory, Aldine’s previous mark for most lopsided defeat. Channelview also routed Aldine 61-0 in 2014, the old record for largest shutout loss.
Aldine’s last win was Oct. 24, 2015, against Nimitz. The 19th-consecutive loss broke the old record of 18, set between 2012 and 2014. That skid began with an Oct. 20, 2012, loss to Elsik and ended Sep. 27, 2014, when Aldine stomped Northbrook. Since that Elsik loss, Aldine is a cumulative 5-47, with two winless seasons during that time.
Saturday’s loss was also Aldine’s 14th-straight district defeat, one off the school record. That mark of 15-consecutive district losses was set between 1973 and 1975. Aldine’s last district win was the 2015 Nimitz game.
However, there still are two games left in the 2017 season – time for the team to end those streaks and get needed momentum for next season. Aldine next plays the Dekaney Wildcats, Friday, Nov. 3, at George Stadium in Spring. Game time is 7 p.m.
The Wildcats (4-3) fell last week to rival Spring, 21-14. At 2-3 in District 16-6A, they will be fighting for a runner-up playoff spot. Aldine would love to not only notch its first win, but spoil Dekaney’s playoff hopes in the process.
Aldine to Face Westfield in a Battle of the Mustangs
There’s going to be a lot of hoof-stomping at Thorne Stadium Saturday afternoon as the Aldine Mustangs take on the Westfield Mustangs. Aldine will be hoping to pull off one of the biggest upsets in team history while district-leading Westfield (ranked 11th in the state by AP) looks to tune up for another deep playoff run.
Last week Aldine (0-6) fell to Spring, 51-0. Westfield (6-0) blanked Nimitz, 50-0. Clearly Aldine faces its most difficult challenge of the season.
“No doubt about it, we have one tough row to hoe,” said Aldine head coach Hank Semler. “But the games are played on the field, not in the standings or stat sheets. Once on the field, anything can happen. So we’re going to lace up our cleats, strap on our helmets, give it our best shot and leave it all on the turf at the end of 48 minutes.”
Westfield has won the last three meetings between the teams and leads the all-time series, 5-4 (this does not include one forfeit by Westfield in 1994).
Game time Saturday at Thorne is 4 p.m.
Nimitz Sinks Aldine’s Homecoming
The Nimitz Cougars used three touchdowns from Deontae Stanley to upend the Aldine Mustangs, 49-7, Friday night at Thorne Stadium. The loss spoiled Aldine’s annual Homecoming celebration.
The Mustangs’ lone score came in the third quarter when QB Jacorey Howard broke loose on an 80-yard touchdown run. The long run helped Howard finish the night with 208 yards rushing on 27 carries.
With the win, Nimitz continues its early season success. The Cougars are tied with Westfield at 3-0 atop the District 16-6A standings and stand at 3-1 overall. Aldine drops to 0-3 in district and 0-5 for the season.
The Spring Lions are next up on the schedule for the Mustangs. Spring last week held off the Davis Falcons, 35-28. The Lions are currently 2-1 in 16-6A and 4-1 on the year. Game time Thursday is 7 p.m. at George Stadium at 1-45 North and Cypresswood in Spring.
Aldine QB Jacorey Howard (9) tries to evade a Davis pass rusher Saturday night at Thorne Stadium. The Falcons defeated the Mustangs, 48-8, in District 16-6A action. (Photo by Mark W. McKee)
Aldine's Isaiah Rocha (14) hangs on to a touchdown reception last Saturday night against MacArthur at Thorne Stadium. This Saturday, the Mustangs face the high-flying Davis Falcons. (Photo by Mark W. McKee)
Mustangs Aim to Ground Falcons
Aldine will be looking for its first district win and first win overall Saturday night when the Ponies host the Davis Falcons at Thorne Stadium. Game time is 6 p.m. Aldine is the home team.
The Mustangs (0-3 on the season) lost their 16-6A opener last week to MacArthur, 69-34. Jacorey Howard rushed for two scores and passed for another to Isaiah Rocha in the loss.
Davis, meanwhile, edged Eisenhower, 16-13, to even their season record at 1-1. Tremayne Prudhome ran for one touchdown for the Falcons, while Reginal Ellis returned an interception for a pick-six for Davis’ other score.
Aldine will face a tough challenge Saturday night. While the Falcons and Mustangs have only met three times, Davis has won every meeting, including a 55-13 victory last year.
Aldine's Kristian Pierre (8) breaks free from two MacArthur defenders on a long first-quarter touchdown run Saturday night at Thorne Stadium. Despite Pierre's scoring dash, the Mustangs fell to the Generals, 69-34. (Photo by Mark W. McKee)
An Aldine defender (light jersey) gets ready to haul down a MacArthur ball carrier (dark jersey) in the first-ever Aldine/MacArthur game, played Nov.. 3, 1967. The Generals won, 12-6, at Aldine Athletic Stadium (now Smith Stadium).
1968 MacArtair yearbook (courtesy of the Aldine Heritage Museum)
Mustangs Out to Demote Generals
Aldine dropped to 0-2 on the young 2017 season following the team’s 49-28 loss to Willowridge. Mustang head coach Hank Semler reviews the recent game and takes a look ahead at the Ponies’ next opponent: the MacArthur Generals.
Coach, what are your takeaways from Willowridge?
We had very good effort from more of our players and that translated into a closer game. In the end, it came down to who made the least mistakes and who could capitalize on the other’s mistakes. Willowridge did a great job taking advantage of our mistakes and they made very few themselves.
You had wanted more intensity and aggression in practice to get carryover on Friday; how did that work out? Were you able to see the results in the players’ efforts?
Our practice intensity is still not where I want it to be, but it was notably better. I feel that did carry-over to last Friday. We have to learn how to keep our foot on the gas and not let up on an opponent at any point in a game.
The game was fairly close until the fourth quarter when a key defensive stop was nullified by a penalty. That clearly hurt. What can you do this week to help the team keep its composure and focus in adverse situations?
Adversity is a part of the game and life. We use a lot of life experiences involving adversity (death of a family member, loss of a job, sick child, etc.) to show how handling adversity in non-threatening situations – like a high school football game – fits into the big picture of life in general.
You have MacArthur this week in the district opener. The Mustang/General rivalry goes back 50 years. With both programs rebounding, is this a still a special game in the minds of the players and coaches, or just one of 10 on the schedule?
There are so many new players from outside of Aldine on both squads, and the coaching staffs have had so much turnover through the years, that some of the tradition has been lost. Much like the Aldine/Willowridge battle has lost some. However, I think the rivalry is still there and extremely potent, just for different reasons now. Mac has had our number the last few years, and the players live very close to each other. There’s a lot of trash talking in the community about the game, and that’s to be expected. Rivalries change over the years, and I think that’s what you’re seeing between us and Mac.
What should we look for from MacArthur?
Mac is going to be very big up front on both sides of the ball. They’re going to try to establish the run. Defensively, Mac is going to hit us hard and see how we respond to their intensity. They have two of the better linebackers in the district playing inside, so we have to account for both of them on every play.
And from Aldine?
We’re going to come out firing and throw everything we’ve got at Mac for four quarters.
Keys to the game?
C‘mon… this is Aldine/Mac. Last man standing wins!
MacArthur is 0-1 for the year and is coming off a bye week. The Generals last played Sep. 14, when they lost to Baytown Sterling, 42-26. MacArthur’s Jacoby Simpson rushed for 89 yards and two TDs in that game.
The Mustangs and Generals have met 50 times since their first encounter in November 1967. Aldine holds a 32-17-1 all-time edge. However, MacArthur has won the last two meetings between the rivals and three of the last four, including a 21-0 shutout victory in 2016. The Mustangs will be looking to reverse that recent series swing towards MacArthur. Game time Saturday at Thorne Stadium is 6 p.m.
Aldine's Traymon Alfred (5) looks for an open running lane behind Ruben Austin (6). The Mustangs dropped a 49-28 decision to Willowridge Friday night at Hall Stadium. (Photo by Mark W. McKee)
Eagles Take Advantage in Second Chance Game
Chinese general and philosopher Sun Tzu (author of the famous Art of War) once said, “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” The Willowridge Eagles proved him right, making the most of a second chance to defeat the Aldine Mustangs, 49-28, Friday night at Hall Stadium.
Trailing 35-21 early in the fourth quarter, Aldine had stopped an Eagle drive, forcing Willowridge to punt. Had the Mustangs gotten the ball and scored a TD, they could have cut the 14-point deficit in half. Instead, Aldine was flagged for roughing the kicker, giving Willowridge new life and a new set of downs.
The Eagles took full advantage of their opportunity as Kameron Pierre reeled off a 34-yard touchdown run with 11:11 left to play. Rather than possibly narrowing the gap to 7 points, the Mustangs now faced an even wider 21-point hole. In the end, it would prove too wide for Aldine to overcome.
Penalties plagued the Mustangs (0-2) all night as Aldine drew 11 flags for 110 yards. Often the penalties would come at the worst times, either stalling their drives or keeping Willowridge’s (1-1) going.
The game didn’t start that way. Aldine took the opening kickoff and put together a long, 8-minute scoring drive, topped off by a Jacorey Howard 1-yard TD. Jorge Quiroga booted the point-after and the Mustangs grabbed a 7-0 first quarter lead.
However, Willowridge quickly bounced back, evening the score less than a minute later when Chris Carter scooted for a 42-yard score. Gustavo Medrano added the extra-point and the game was tied 7-7.
The Mustangs answered early in the second quarter when Howard tallied his second 1-yard TD. Again, Quiroga kicked the PAT and Aldine regained the lead, 14-7.
Willowridge then threatened to blow the game open, putting up 28-unanswered points to take a 35-14 third quarter advantage. The Mustangs’ Kristian Pierre gave Aldine new hope when he dashed 62 yards for a TD with 2:27 left in the third period. Quiroga’s kick trimmed the gap to 35-21.
As mentioned earlier, the Mustangs stopped a fourth-quarter Eagle drive, opening the door to a possible comeback with just over 11 minutes left. However, after the roughing-the-kicker penalty, Willowridge’s eventual score ultimately put the game out of reach, 42-21. Both teams each crossed the goal line one more (including Howard’s third TD) to reach the 49-28 final.
The game represented a second chance for each squad. The contest was to have been the season opener Sep. 1, but was cancelled in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey. Officials later worked out a new date, during Aldine’s scheduled bye week.
The Mustangs next play MacArthur Saturday, Sep. 30, at Thorne Stadium. Game time is 6 p.m. It will be the District 16-6A opener for both teams. The Generals (0-1) were off this week, after falling to Baytown Sterling, 42-26, in their 2017 debut.
Game (Back) On! Aldine to Tackle Willowridge Friday
Aldine took it on the chin, 56-14, Saturday night in the unofficial season opener against Pasadena Memorial. But, as the coaching staff and team were reviewing video from that game, they received some good news: The cancelled Willowridge game is back on the schedule. It’s now set for Friday night, Sep. 22, at Hall Stadium. Game time is 7 p.m.
“We were thankfully able to reschedule with Willowridge during our bye week, and that’s a good thing… we’ve had enough rest,” Aldine head coach Hank Semler said. “Now instead of a shortened regular season, we have at least eight more weeks of getting at it for our team.”
Coach Semler took a moment to update the team’s progress following the Pasadena Memorial game and to preview Willowridge:
What are your takeaways from Pasadena Memorial?
First, we need to get back to basics on defense - tackling, pursuit to the ball, alignment and assignment, etc. We don’t need to put so much on our players that they get confused. That’s on me. Next is the absolute necessity for the coaches to build more intensity and aggression into our practices so that we get better carry-over to our games.
What positives can you take from the loss?
I don’t believe in moral victories, but I do believe in praising great effort. We have three players in the top 15 in rushing in district right now, including the number-two rusher, QB Jacorey Howard.
What are some things the team needs to focus on for this week’s game?
We have to focus on relaxing and letting our training take over. We have the ability to do great things, but we tense up and start overthinking when we just need to settle down, trust our training and teammates, and get after it!
How good is it to get the Willowridge back on the schedule and give the team another opportunity to play?
This is HUGE for us! It would not have been very good at all to go riding into battle against MacArthur with only one game under our belt. We need this game to make sure everything is shored up and we’re ready to start our drive to the playoffs.
You coached at Willowridge… is this a bit of a homecoming? Or just another game on the schedule?
I spent two great years at Willowridge, and I think a lot about what those kids and coaches are going through right now, having to go to school in another building (Marshall High). I have two assistants from Willowridge on my staff that coached there with me. This game is their Senior Night, and I will enjoy watching their seniors take their walk in pregame. That being said, I coach to win, my assistants coach to win, our players play to win, and we are going to do everything we can to win.
What can we look for from Willowridge?
Offensively, Willowridge is going to run a bunch of misdirection and multiple-look plays, and they will mix in some quick-game throws in their passing attack. They have a dangerous quarterback. Defensively, Willowridge will run a Miami-front 4-3, and bring as much heat as they can on every snap.
How about from Aldine?
Brute force and no excuses.
What are the keys to the game?
If we play our game, our way, we will be ok. We have crank it up to 11 in every phase, and not let up until it’s over. I’m fed up with losing, my coaches are fed up with losing, our administration is fed up with losing, and our community is fed up with losing. It’s time to put up or shut up!
Hurricane Alex Swamps Aldine
After cancelling the opening two games of the season due to Tropical Storm Harvey, the Aldine Mustangs were eager - pardon the pun – to “get their feet wet” with some real gridiron action. Yes, they got their feet wet all right. They just weren’t prepared for the deluge that followed.
Pasadena Memorial RB Alex Williams opened a floodgate through the Mustang defense, scoring seven touchdowns to lead his Mavericks to a 56-14 win over Aldine at Pasadena Veterans Memorial Stadium Saturday night. Williams found the end zone on five rushing plays and caught two TD passes from Maverick QB Kris Aylor. The loss spoiled the debut of new Aldine head coach Hank Semler.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling anxious tonight,” Semler said. “Our players and coaches were all excited about having an opponent to play instead of hitting each other like we’ve been doing. Pasadena Memorial is an extremely good program that is going to challenge you in every phase of the game. We just couldn’t find a way to stop Williams tonight. You sure have to tip your cap to him.”
It was certainly a career night for Williams, District 22-6A’s Offensive MVP last year. Unfortunately, it might be the only night the junior plays in 2017. Williams, who rushed for 137 yards, appeared to have broken his leg on a punt return. According to the Pasadena Citizen, Williams was taken off the field on a stretcher and transported to a local hospital. Considering the shortened season this year, he may not recover in time to play again, depending on the doctor’s diagnosis.
Williams’ seven touchdowns against Aldine break the oldest individual opponent record in Mustang team history. Junior Hartshorn posted five scores for long-defunct Huntsville Demonstration versus the Mustangs in Aldine’s second-ever game in October 1936.
Despite Williams crossing the goal line four times in the first quarter alone, Aldine hung tough against the Mavericks. Mustang QB Jacorey Howard found daylight on a 62-yard opening-period scoring run. Teammate Kristian Pierre added a 55-yard scoring dash of his own a few minutes later.
The wide-open first stanza ended with Pasadena Memorial leading 28-14. Not an insurmountable lead, at least until Williams snared a 49-yard TD pass in the opening seconds of the second quarter. From there, the Mavericks cruised to victory.
“We knew going in that Pasadena Memorial is a very disciplined and physical team, and they sure proved it tonight,” Semler said. “They have a great offensive and defensive scheme, and their coaches are some of the best in the state.”
Pasadena Memorial is 1-0 on the season, while the Mustangs fall to 0-1.
“I’ve always been a guy who can roll with the punches. I’m proud of the effort our team made, even in defeat,” Semler said. Semler added that Aldine has rescheduled its earlier cancelled opening date with Willowridge. The game is now set for next Friday, Sep. 22. Look for more details later this week.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us. It wasn’t the debut I wanted, but I want the men who held this position before me to feel like the program they created is in good hands and will regain its dominance. And I want our students and alumni to watch us play and be filled with a sense of pride that their program is on its way back to the top.”
Coach Semler and members of the Aldine Mustangs pose with the Houston Texans' J.J. Watt. The Mustangs spent a day helping the Watt Foundation distribute needed supplies at AISD's Carroll Academy in the wake of Tropical Storm Harvey.
Rayburn Game Now a Scrimmage; Team Helps Victims of TS Harvey
The Aldine Mustangs/Sam Rayburn Texans game scheduled for Sep. 7 at Thorne Stadium has been cancelled. The two teams will now have a controlled scrimmage against each other at Rayburn High School in Pasadena Sep. 8 starting at 6 p.m., according to Aldine head coach Hank Semler. Rayburn High is located at 2121 Cherry Brook Ln.
The Mustangs had previously called off their first scheduled regular-season game against Willowridge last week. In the aftermath of the most recent cancellation, plans are now to play the season opener Saturday, Sep. 16, against Pasadena Memorial, weather and facilities permitting. Game time at Pasadena Veterans Memorial Stadium is 6 p.m.
High school teams all across the Houston and Gulf Coast areas have had to cancel opening games in the wake of Tropical Storm Harvey, which dumped upwards of 50-inches of rain in some parts of the metropolitan area. While some squads have found new opponents outside the area for Week 2, others are following Aldine and Rayburn and converting games into scrimmages. With school postponed in most districts until after Labor Day or later, few teams have had a chance to practice.
Aldine's Mustangs have used the downtime in a positive manner to help less fortunate neighbors. Coach Semler, staff and several members of the team volunteered to distribute needed supplies at AISD's Carroll Academy as part of the J.J. Watt Foundation's disaster recovery efforts. The Texans' megastar DE took a moment to pose with the team to thank them for their time (see photo above).
"There's a lot more to life than football," Semler said. "It's important our team see how we can have a positive impact on the community beyond the field and make a difference in people's lives. I'm very proud of them and the men they are becoming."
Willowridge Game Cancelled Due to Harvey
The Aldine Mustangs have called off their 2017 season opener against the Willowridge Eagles on account of Tropical Storm Harvey. The game had been set for Friday, Sep. 1. In addition, Aldine ISD is reporting on its website that classes have been cancelled for the week of Aug. 28 and will resume Thursday, Sep. 7.
"Obviously we're disappointed at not being able to play Friday," said Aldine head coach Hank Semler. "However, the safety of our players, coaches, students, staff, parents and fans always comes first. Conditions just didn't warrant taking any chances. Plus people have a lot more important stuff to worry about now. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the storm."
This is the first cancellation of a Mustang football game since September 2008. That year Aldine lost two non-district games to Klein Forest and Foster due to Hurricane Ike and its devastating aftermath. All-time the Mustangs have had to cancel nine games, mostly due to weather.
One notable exception was the Sep. 8, 1977 game against Carver, which was called off when a part of the Aldine Athletic Stadium (now Smith Stadium) bleachers fell through, injuring five Aldine band members. In 2005, Aldine postponed a Sep. 24 game against Stratford one week due to Hurricane Rita. Rather than cancel the game, the Mustangs played three games - Stratford, Nimitz and Spring Woods - in a two-week period to get the schedule back on track.
With the Willowridge cancellation, Aldine's season opener will now be Thursday, Sep. 7, against Rayburn at Thorne Stadium. Game time is 7 p.m.
A Look at the 2017 Season
Kickoff is now only days away. The Mustangs are now in full training mode, preparing for the upcoming season and the opening game, Friday, Sep. 1, against Willowridge. Game time is 7 p.m. at Hall Stadium in Missouri City. While the team goes through its drills, let's sit down with new head coach Hank Semler and get his thoughts on the 2017 campaign.
Aldine Football: Hi Coach, thanks for taking a moment to talk during such a busy time. First off, what are you looking to accomplish this training camp?
Coach Semler: We’re looking to see who has put in the work over the summer to get in the best shape of their life so far, and who’s hungry enough to do whatever it takes to get the job done and help return the Mustangs to their legendary status among high school programs in Texas. We have a short window to get ready for this season, so the players who have put in the work, put the team before themselves, and know our new systems the best will get priority. This could mean that players with lots of talent find themselves on the outside looking in and fighting for positions or playing time. But I’ve made it clear to all that we will go to war with guys we trust, regardless of talent level.
AF: What changes are you implementing on both sides of the ball?
CS: We’re looking to “spread the wealth” with our offense. We want to be as multiple as possible while staying true to our philosophy of simplifying game and getting the ball to our playmakers in space. Defensively, we’ve retooled our defense to be built around speed to the ball up front, while playing sound coverage behind our attack. I don’t want to say too much about our program, but we should be fun to watch this fall!
AF: What are your strengths heading into the season?
CS: The biggest strength we have this fall is a clear leader of our team: Jacorey Howard, our quarterback. Jacorey is continuing to grow into the role of team captain, and we are very proud of his work ethic and team-first attitude. We’ve also had some key players step up, like Christian Diaz, our free safety. Christian has great feel for the game, and gives us a dimension in our secondary we were missing last year. Overall, I think our biggest strength is our team chemistry. The guys just won’t tolerate laziness anymore. As coaches, we’re constantly getting the players’ input as to who fits best in our scheme, and who has been left behind because of a bad attitude. We take every comment and suggestion very seriously.
AF: What are some weaknesses you’ll be looking to overcome?
CS: Our biggest weakness is our experience. We’re only returning two starters on offense and one on defense. That lack of experience could hurt us for a little while. We could always get stronger and faster, but the knowledge that comes with playing the game at the Varsity level is something that only time can fix.
AF: Which players are you looking at to step up and lead this team?
CS: QB Jacorey Howard is our team captain and unquestioned leader. Defensively, we’re still looking for that one guy who will rise to the occasion, but we will find him soon enough!
AF: Which players could surprise us as the season progresses?
CS: There are many guys that could become very good players for us, such as Preston Anderson on the offensive line and C.J. King on defensive line. We have a pretty good stable of running backs, and we are getting better depth at defensive back. I think the receiver core has the potential to surprise a bunch of people.
AF: The team is in the midst of a 12-game losing streak - how do you get the team to look forward and progress week to week rather than dwell on the past?
CS: We don’t talk very much at all about what has happened in the past, other than pointing out how attitude and effort can make or break a team. We’ve made some structural changes to our facilities, to show not just our players, but our community that we are in this for the long-haul. We will bring back the pride and respect of the Mustangs in our community and to our loyal alumni base. We have some terrific former players who have volunteered their time this spring and summer to work with our athletes and remind them what it means to be a Mustang and how much the community is depending on them this year. Any time men like Coach Bill Smith and his players come out, we want them to let our guys know just how important they are in our community and to the legacy of one of the legendary programs of Texas High School Football.
Are You Ready For Some Football?
High school football season is rapidly approaching. Before you know it, kickoff will be here. The Aldine Mustangs (2017 edition) start their campaign at Hall Stadium in Missouri City when they take on the Willowridge Eagles, Friday, Sep. 1, at 7 p.m. To get you Gung-Ho ready for the season, here are a few key facts and figures on the Mustangs:
|ALDINE MUSTANGS FACTS AND FIGURES
| UIL District:
|| 16-6A (Region II)
| Head coach:
|| Hank Semler (first season)
|| Thorne Stadium (10,000 capacity)
| School established:
| First season:
| Overall record:
|| 456-371-19 (.550)
| District titles:
|| 18 (last 1999)
| Playoff appearances:
|| 14 (last 2014)
| State titles:
|| 1 (last 1990)
|| Davis Falcons (Davis leads series 3-0)
| Eisenhower Eagles (Eisenhower leads series 20-17)
| MacArthur Generals (Aldine leads series 32-17-1)
| Nimitz Cougars (Aldine leads series 26-12)
Mustang Scholarship Signing Ceremony Set for Wednesday
Three Aldine Mustang football players are moving to the next level of play in 2017 and will start that journey on Wednesday, April 12, when sign scholarship offers in the high school auditorium. The players and their college/post-secondary destinations are:
DL/OL Cyrus Scott - Adrian College (Adrian, MI – NCAA Div III)
LB/RB Montran Wanza - Bacone College (Muskogee, OK - NAIA)
DB/WR Andre Pratt - Rezolution Prep Academy (Arlington, TX – non-affiliated)
“We want to thank these young men for their hard work and dedication to the Mustang football program and wish them every success as they move on to the next phase of their lives,” Aldine head coach Hank Semler said. "We know they will each do Aldine proud at the next level."
Semler added he and his staff are working hard on behalf of several other players and hope to add more signings to the signing ceremony.
The ceremony is set to begin at 1:30 p.m.
Spring is in the Air… and so are Footballs
Today is a big day in for sports in Houston. Yeah, the Astros open the 2017 season, sure. But more important, April 3 is also the first day for spring football at Aldine High School.
The Mustangs will hit the practice fields for the first time under the direction on new head Coach Hank Semler, who took over the program’s reigns in January. Coach Semler promises a new “gung-ho” attitude for his staff and players.
“We're not gonna ease up, let up, shut up, or give up until we're taken up. In fact, we're just gettin' warmed up!” Semler says of the practices ahead. "But in all seriousness, this is a critical time for our coaches and our team. This will be the first opportunity to install our offense and our defense and get players up to speed on how we want to operate come the fall. Fortunately, as I was on staff last year as defensive line coach, the learning curve will not be as steep, but there's still lot of work to do. Each and every one of us are looking forward to meeting the exciting challenges to come."
The team has 15 practices on tap between April 3 and April 27, along with three intra-squad scrimmages. Spring football concludes with the annual Blue-White games Friday, April 28, at Thorne Stadium. Ninth graders will play at 5 p.m., J.V. will follow at 6 p.m. and the Varsity game will start at 7 p.m. The public is cordially invited.
Jose Cortez (left) and Andre Holiday (right) hold their awards.
Mustang Duo Snare Top Character Honors
DB/WR Andre Holiday and OL/DL Jose Cortez have been named as winners of this year’s prestigious Burlsworth Character Award for high school football players. The national award, now in its 11th year, is named for the late Brandon Burlsworth of the Arkansas Razorbacks, and recognizes outstanding character and sportsmanship.
Aldine’s Kevin Tran won the award last year.
According to the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation,” The award honors the player who may or may not be a top athletic performer, but who represents the ideals and values that Brandon Burlsworth had: to give 100 percent on the field and to stand as a moral example to his team. We hope that the award encourages the honoree to continue on his path of excellence, and inspires others to follow his lead.”
Burlsworth, a walk-on at the University of Arkansas, not only became a team captain and earned First-Team All-America honors and was named to the All-SEC Honor Roll. The Indianapolis Colts selected him in the 1999 NFL draft, but Burlsworth died only 11 days later in a car crash. The NCAA created the Burlsworth Trophy in 2010 in his memory to honor Division I college football’s best walk-on player each season.
The Aldine Mustangs and Aldine High School are proud of Holiday and Cortez for their dedication, character and teamwork. Congratulations to both!
Jose Cortez (59), co-winner of the Best Lineman Award, advances a fumble recovery in the Willowridge game.
Photo by Mark W. McKee
Awards and Honors Cap 2016 Season
The annual Aldine football banquet put a close on another Mustang season. And while the team as a whole came up short on the year, several players were recognized for their outstanding individual achievements.
Here are the recipients of the 2016 team-issued awards:
Team MVP (Wilbur Grusendorf Award) – DB Drew Davis
Best Lineman – OL/DL Jose Cortez and OL/DL Ji'Ques Rogers (this talented duo also jointly took home the award in 2015)
Most Improved Player – OL/DL Victor Macias
Fighting Heart (John Karkoska Award) – DB/WR Andre Holliday
Several Mustangs were also named to the District 16-6A All-District Team, as selected by the district’s coaches:
First team – WR Joshawn Bates
Second team – QB Jacorey Howard
Second team – OL Ji'Ques Rogers (second year to be named All-District)
Second team – DB Drew Davis (second year to be named All-District)
Congratulations to all award winners and All-District honorees. Thanks for making Aldine proud!
New Aldine Head Coach Hank Semler is Gung Ho to Get the Mustangs Back into Contention
by Mark McKee
Aldine Class of 1984
The Aldine Mustangs have won only one playoff game since the close of the 2000 campaign and find themselves mired in a 12-game regular-season losing streak. That could soon change as the school hands the reigns to a new head football coach who promises to instill a competitive spirit based on a “Gung-Ho” attitude.
In January 2017, the Aldine ISD school board approved the promotion of Aldine defensive line coach Carl “Hank” Semler to become the Mustangs’ 12th all-time head coach and campus athletic coordinator. Semler takes over from James Kowalewski, who resigned in November after two seasons to pursue a business opportunity outside coaching.
Semler brings a strong coaching resume to the position. Prior to being named as Aldine’s defensive line coach in 2016, he served as an assistant at Fort Bend Willowridge and at Porter High School (where as a Social Studies instructor he was the school’s Teacher of the Year in 2014).
In 2010, Semler was the first-ever head coach of North Forney High in north Texas, helping launch that program. While at North Forney, he was instrumental in adopting a new style of helmet designed to reduce the number of football-related concussions – a topic of big concern across the sport.
Semler also served as an assistant for two north Texas powerhouse programs: Southlake Carroll and Euless Trinity (his alma mater). Semler was on-staff when Euless Trinity won the state title in 2007.
Let’s get to know our new head coach.
Hi Coach, how has the team reacted to your hiring?
Hi Mark – it’s a great day to be a Mustang! Everyone at AHS knew me and the kind of guy I am before the position was open, so when it became official we took about 30 seconds to celebrate as a group then it was back to the business of getting better. Since then, I am very proud of the “Gung Ho” attitudes of our coaches and players to do whatever it takes to get better together.
What do you find appealing about being a high school head coach?
The first thing I like is the opportunity to affect young people’s lives in a positive way and help them grow as men and women of high moral character first, and as people capable of working together for common goal second. I also love the opportunity to help coaches grow in the profession and achieve their career goals.
What are your offensive and defensive philosophies?
I’ve always been one to fit the offense and defense to the talent we have, to take advantage of the strengths of our players. We’re going to tweak our offense somewhat from last year, and defensively we are going to change to an even-front scheme.
What are the team’s strengths heading into next year?
Our team chemistry is improving daily and the positivity of our coaches is contagious! We just finished another round of testing, and we’re getting bigger, stronger and faster across the board, but we still have a very long way to go!
What are some challenges you face to bring the team into playoff contention?
Our number one challenge is pushing ourselves and each other to get better at what we do every single day. We must learn how to break through the mental barriers that hold us back, like soreness, disappointment and anger, and allow the pure, the powerful and the positive to consume us and drive our daily lives. Until we master that, nothing else we do will be very effective.
Where did you play high school football?
I played at Euless Trinity, in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, from 1987 to 1989. Back then, there were 10 Tongans in the whole school. We were a bunch of scrappy little guys that got after it, but our best record was 5-5 and we barely missed the playoffs each year.
Did you play college football?
I tried to walk on at Texas Tech as a linebacker, but there wasn’t much of a demand for 5’9”, 200-pound linebackers that couldn’t run out of sight in a day, so I had to become a student of the game instead.
What makes a good football player, in your opinion?
A good football player is someone who attacks every day with a “Gung Ho” attitude, and is determined to get better, every day. A good football player will work on his weaknesses until they become his strengths and take constructive criticism as a challenge, not a slight. Finally, a good football player will put the team ahead of himself and do everything with the team in mind first.
What’s a “Gung Ho” attitude?
“Gung Ho” translates to “work together,” and at Aldine High, that’s exactly what we demand from our athletes. We want people who will put the team before themselves, hold each other accountable, and push each other beyond what they think is possible. Our coaches have taken this mantra to heart, and I see it in every sport, in how the athletes treat each other and how they are responding to their coaches. I couldn’t be prouder of everyone at “The High School.”
Who is/was your football role model/mentor and what did you learn from that person?
Over the years, I’ve worked with some of the best men to ever coach football in the nation, and I’ve taken a ton of knowledge away from my time with each of them. There’s so much more than X’s and O’s that go into coaching! From Coach Todd Dodge at Southlake Carroll and Coach Steve Lineweaver at Euless Trinity, I learned how to fit the scheme to the talent.
From Eli Melton (my first coaching mentor), I learned how to do the little things right, so the big things take care of themselves. From Kevin Rush at Forney High, I learned how to take a potentially volatile situation, like opening another school, and work together to show a community how to support both programs. From Richard Lazarou at Willowridge, I learned how to revive a dormant community.
There are many others, but these men really stand out to me.
What's your definition of success, both in terms of football and in terms of life?
For me, success is realizing your full potential and making the most out of every opportunity you have, regardless of the outcome. I use this definition in everything I do and I hope everyone in the community will rally around us and help our athletes be successful.
Finally, what do you want to teach the players, both in terms of football and in terms of life?
I want to teach the players that a person’s character defines them and that you can achieve whatever you want in life if you attack everything with a Gung Ho attitude and help others reach their goals as well.
Thanks, Coach. We’re certainly Gung Ho to see what 2017 has in store.
Aldine Mustang Head Coaches
Larry Rice III
Aldine head coach James Kowalewski gives pointers to RB Michael McLennon during the 2016 season.
Aldine’s Kowalewski Resigns; Coaching Search To Begin
Aldine Mustang head football coach James Kowalewski has tendered his resignation and has left the school to begin a career in sales, he announced Nov. 8. Assistant Nate Shallenberger has been tabbed interim head coach and will lead the team until a replacement has been named.
“I think it’s time for me to reevaluate some things, so I’m going to take a break from coaching,” Kowalewski said. “Obviously it was a tough season. But I’m very proud of my players and the way they never quit in the face of adversity. They played hard each and every week. Unfortunately, we were never able to pull out a win. Coaching at Aldine has been a great experience. I appreciated the opportunity and I’ve met a lot of wonderful people. I wish the team well in the future.”
Kowalewski finishes his Aldine tenure with a 2-18 overall record after going 0-10 in 2016. He was hired in January 2015 as the Mustangs’ 11th head coach in team history to replace Lionell Crawford. Kowalewski had previously been an assistant coach in Fort Bend ISD, first at Clements, then at Ridge Point.
The Mustangs got off to a competitive 2016 start in a 14-7 season-opening loss to Willowridge. However, mounting injuries, depleted depth and being in a tough District 16-6A with the Spring ISD schools left little room for error, and the team closed the season winless and riding an overall 12-game losing streak dating back to 2015.
Despite the adversity, Kowalewski’s teams did show some promise.
QB Jacorey Howard and WR Joshawn Bates proved to be a formidable passing/receiving duo, teaming for eight touchdowns. The pair had a number of long completions, including a school-record 98-yard TD catch against Westfield. The Howard/Bates combo tied 1983 QB Darcy Davis and TE Mike Rhodes for most TD connections in a season – quite an accomplishment for Howard and Bates as Rhodes made All-State that year and Davis was named All-Greater Houston.
Drew Davis was an all-purpose force for Kowalewski, making his presence felt on offense, defense and special teams. Lineman Jose Cortez similarly made a big impact on both sides of the ball, giving great pass protection on offense and disrupting opponents on defense.
Kowalewski cites the 2015 Nimitz win as his favorite moment as Aldine coach and said he will keep the game ball as a special memento of his tenture. One of his major accomplishments, he said, was bringing back a sense of interest and pride in the school, its athletic programs and its history.
No word from Aldine ISD on when the district expects to interview candidates or when they would like to make a decision. In the past, Aldine ISD has moved relatively quickly to fill head coaching vacancies at Aldine High.
Aldine Out to End Year on High Note Against Ike
Saturday may seem like a great day not to go to Thorne Stadium. After all, the game pitting Aldine vs. Eisenhower features two teams fighting to stay out of the District 16-6A cellar. However, it’s when a team is struggling that the players most need the fans’ support.
The Mustangs (0-9 overall) will enter Saturday’s game against the Eagles winless on the 2016 season and nursing an 11-game losing streak dating back to last year. It’s only the third time in school history the team has dropped more than 10 games in a row. Last week, Aldine fell to Dekaney, 55-7, and are 0-6 in district play.
Eisenhower (1-8 overall) is also struggling. The once high-flying Eagles, District 18-6A champs the past two seasons, have found 16-6A to be unexpected tough sledding. Win or lose Saturday, Eisenhower (1-5 in district) is already assured of its worst season since 1988, when the Eagles finished 1-8 in a shortened year. Last week, Eisenhower was pounded by Westfield, 51-7.
Aldine will be looking to take advantage of the passing duo of QB Jacorey Howard and WR Joshawn Bates. The two have connected on a number of long passes this year, including a school-record 98-yard TD reception against Westfield. Defensively, the Mustangs will rely on Andrew Davis and Michael McLennon, both of whom have had strong seasons to date.
The Eagles have used a multitude of quarterbacks and running backs this year, none of whom have been able to grab the majority of playing time. This offensive uncertainty may be a contributing factor to Eisenhower’s 2016 struggles. The team also faced a tough non-district schedule to begin the year and has been competitive in most of its games, with only last week’s Westfield loss and an earlier defeat by Dekaney being the only blowouts.
The all-time series between these teams has been a study in contrasts. Eisenhower leads 19-17, but that figure is completely misleading.
Aldine reeled off 13-straight wins over Eisenhower from 1980 and 1992. Since then, the Eagles have dominated, taking 19 games out of 23 since 1993, including the last nine in a row.
With Eisenhower struggling, there may be no better time for the Mustangs to end a number of streaks.
“This is the final game of the year, so this is it for a number of our players,” said Aldine head coach James Kowalewski. “Their high school career will end on Saturday. What better way to end it than to go out with a win? We’re going to double our efforts this week so we can send those seniors out with a much-needed and well-deserved ‘W’. But we can’t do it alone. We need the help of our fans, of the students and of the parents. We need all of them to show up at Thorne and give us the backing we need to close out 2016 on a positive note.”
Game time Saturday at Thorne is 4 p.m. Aldine will be on the visitors side.
Mac’s All-New Generals Treat Mustangs Like Old Mares
MacArthur 12 • Aldine 6
Aldine Athletic Stadium
Nov. 3, 1967
The brand-new MacArthur Generals unleashed some heavy artillery to overcome a rugged Aldine Mustang defense. MacArthur quarterback Dennis Ware hit Dwight Thomas on a 61-yard touchdown bomb, giving the Generals the 12-6 win in the first-ever varsity football game between AISD schools.
MacArthur, 2-7 with the victory, had only won the first game in its history the week before. With the Generals on a two-game winning streak, dumbstruck Aldine fans may be wondering if MacArthur will ever lose again, or if their own team, mired at a miserable 1-8, will ever win another contest.
After a scoreless first half, MacArthur drew first blood. Leonard Parker ran over several Mustangs on his way to a 24-yard, third-quarter touchdown. The extra-point was no good, but the Generals had grabbed a 6-0 lead.
Aldine answered back with 38 seconds left in the quarter. Mustang quarterback Sidney Stember found Richard Lovelace on a 15-yard scoring pass. Aldine missed the point-after and the teams were tied, 6-6.
The Mustangs appeared to be driving midway through the fourth quarter, but the effort stalled in MacArthur territory and Aldine surrendered the ball on downs. Three plays later, Ware and Thomas hooked up for the game-winning score. A pass for two points failed, providing the final 12-6 margin.
Not only was this the first varsity football game between two AISD schools, it was the first time Aldine had ever been the visitor at its own stadium.
Mustangs and Jaguars Melt the Scoreboard
Aldine 65 • Forest Brook 53
Oct. 23, 1987
If you like defense, this was not the game for you. The Aldine Mustangs and Forest Brook Jaguars hooked up in an offensive free-for-all on this October evening, and when the fireworks finally ended, the Jones-Cowart Stadium scoreboard was far worse for the wear. Final score: Aldine 65, Forest Brook 53.
Yes, you read that score right. 65-53. And it was a Mustang/Jaguar football game, not a hoops contest.
This wild affair resembled a video game, with records, big plays and touchdowns galore. The game set then-state Class 5A records for most combined points in a game (118) and total combined offensive yards (1,273). Forest Brook quarterback Chris Bias broke the 5A record for passing yards in a game with 485.
The Aldine school record for touchdowns scored by a player in a game was tied not once, but twice. Mustang quarterback Lionell Crawford scored five times to tie the record on runs of 17, 2, 30, 43 and 3 yards.
Running back Calvin Wilson joined Crawford in the record books with rushing scores of 74, 24, 28 and 5 yards, plus Wilson caught a 10-yard scoring pass from Crawford as well. Crawford and Wilson scored all of Aldine’s 10 touchdowns – the other 5 points were Richard Elder PATs.
Wilson and fellow running back Jemal Doyle each topped 200 yards rushing on the night, with Wilson gaining 244 and Doyle netting 211. Aldine gained a school-record 683 yards overall, with 615 coming on the ground.
In contrast to Aldine’s ground attack, Forest Brook took to the air, lighting up the night with so many passes, a couple of Jaguar receivers earned frequent flier miles. Bias, as mentioned above, threw for 485 yards, connecting on 27 of 54 attempts. However, Bias only hit on three touchdown passes, including a 73-yarder to Troy Harrison. Forest Brook gained 590 total yards on the night.
Forest Brook proved it could run as well as pass, as Jaguar running back Steven Taylor chipped in three rushing scores of 15, 1 and 8 yards. Forest Brook’s Pierre Johnson added an 85 yard kickoff return for a touchdown as well.
Aldine’s largest lead of the night was 28-7 early in the second quarter. Forest Brook narrowed that 21-point lead down to 11 by half, trailing 39-28 at intermission. At the end of a much slower third period, the score was Aldine 45, Forest Brook 35. A frantic fourth quarter saw the Jaguars pull to within 4 points (45-41) before the Mustangs finally pulled away.
The teams scored a combined 40 points in the second quarter (Forest Brook 21, Aldine 19) and 38 in the fourth (Aldine 20, Forest Brook 18).
Despite all the points and yards, oddly enough there were still opportunities for more. The teams punted a total of 8 times combined in the game. For that, the worn-out scoreboard operator was no doubt grateful.
Bates’ TD Catch Breaks School Record
Aldine senior wide receiver Joshawn Bates hauled in a 98-yard touchdown pass Saturday against Westfield, setting new team marks for longest reception and longest TD catch.
With just over a minute left in the first half, quarterback Jacorey Howard faked a handoff and dropped back on a play-action pass. Bates pretended to block an oncoming Westfield pass rusher, then suddenly released. Bates shot straight up the field and got behind the defenders.
Howard connected with Bates on the fly and it was off to the races with Bates easily outrunning two Westfield defensive backs in pursuit. Bates crossed into the end zone and into the Mustang football history books with a 98-yard score.
Bates’ catch broke the old record for longest Aldine TD reception, set by Kevin Johnson with a 91-yard score against Spring Woods in 1986. The longest reception in school history had been a 97-yarder made by All-State tight end Luther Franklin in 1981 versus Conroe. Franklin, however, was stopped at the 1-yard line.
But those weren’t the only fireworks Saturday. There have only been 14 TD catches of 75 yards or more by an Aldine player all-time. Bates’ was one, but there was another one Saturday as well. This time, receiver Kenneth Rivers grabbed a Jacorey Howard pass and sprinted 87 yards for a third-quarter score.
Rivers’ catch saw him throw a block, fall down, recover and then race behind the Westfield secondary to catch the pass and shoot straight to the end zone for six points. While not a record, Rivers’ catch is the fourth-longest touchdown pass reception in school history, trailing Bates, Johnson, and Wesley Vincent, who grabbed an 88-yard TD in 2009 against Clear Lake.
While several Mustang quarterbacks have thrown two 75-yards or greater touchdown passes in the same season, Howard is the first to throw two in the same game.
Congratulations to Bates, Rivers and Howard.
Aldine to Visit District-Leading Westfield
It’s a Battle of the Mustangs Saturday, Oct. 22, as the Aldine Mustangs take on the host Westfield Mustangs at George Stadium in Spring. Game time is 2 p.m. in an afternoon contest.
Westfield enters the game atop the District 16-6A standings with a 4-0 league record. Aldine, meanwhile, is still seeking its first district win, and this week faces its biggest roadblock to date.
Westfield is riding a four-game winning streak. After starting off the year an uncharacteristic 0-3 against a formidable non-district schedule, Westfield has rallied, posting lopsided wins in each of its district games to date. In fact, Westfield has put together back-to-back shutouts and has only given up 20 points overall to district foes so far. Last week Westfield dumped Nimitz, 34-0.
Aldine fell a week ago to second-place Spring by a 63-7 score. The Lions’ passing game overwhelmed the Aldine defense and Spring QB Eric Spencer tossed four TDs.
Westfield presents a more run-oriented offense, but despite relying on a ground attack, Westfield can roll up yards and points. And with a stifling defense at its midseason peak, Westfield looks like it’s a real threat to not only win the district title, but advance deep in the playoffs.
“Westfield is like a machine at this point,” said Aldine head coach James Kowalewski. “We’re going to have to play a perfect game and hope for them to make some mistakes to win. On paper, they’re tough with a capital ‘T’. But, fortunately for us, we don’t play games on paper, we play them on the field. Westfield is a daunting opponent, but they lace up their cleats and strap on their helmets the same as us. So we’re going to go out there Saturday and give them all they can handle.”
The all-time series between the teams is tied 4-4 (a record that does not reflect one Westfield forfeit). However, Westfield won the last two contests in 2012 and 2013 by large margins.
“That’s in the past and those teams aren’t playing,” said Coach Kovo. “We’re totally focused on Saturday and on playing the best game we’re capable of. We’ll take care of our game plan; the rest will take care of itself.”
Introducing… the Aldine Mustangs!
La Porte 37 • Aldine 0
Oct. 16, 1936
It’s not often you celebrate a loss. But when the visiting Aldine Mustangs walked off the field after dropping a 37-0 decision to the host La Porte Bulldogs, little did they realize they made some momentous history, even in defeat. For in that hard-luck loss, the team we love today was born.
On an October afternoon, a brand-new Aldine football squad took the field for the first time. There were few accounts of the game, and what little remains show it was a decidedly one-sided affair.
The veteran La Porte team dominated, rolling up its biggest victory in five years, according to reports. The Bulldogs found the end zone three times in the first half and put up another three in the second. La Porte was led by Louis Marks, who passed for four touchdowns on the day, three to Red Godkin. Buddy Knighton caught Marks’ other scoring pass.
As is to be expected in a shutout loss, there were few highlights for the Mustangs. However, the Houston Post did note that Aldine’s quarterback (identified only as Cole) was quite accurate in his passes. Two Mustang linemen – Braddick and R. Cole - were also called out for fine play.
Not many teams win their inaugural games. Players need time to gel and learn to function as a unit in a system that’s new to everyone. The 1936 Aldine team was no exception to this hard rule.
In 1936, Aldine High School was only four years old. In fact, it wasn’t even named Aldine High at the time! Nor was it located on Airline Dr.
Officially the school’s name was S.M.N. Marrs High, named in honor of the late state superintendent of instruction whose leadership was inspirational to the school board of the time. The school had just moved into a new campus in September 1936 on Aldine-Westfield Rd. (a building that still exists today as part of the larger Aldine Middle School). The team competed as Aldine as the custom of the day was for rural schools to play using the nearby town’s name.
With its new campus up and running, Marrs High put together a football team on the fly. Boys’ P.E. instructor Floyd Crouch was given the task of molding the squad. As a latecomer to the gridiron scene, the Mustangs could only schedule a few games against teams with open dates (hence the inaugural game wasn’t until mid-October, a month after school began).
High school sports were a lot less formal in 1936. The Mustangs of the time had only a handful of players and a single coach. And just two years before, the young Crouch was himself playing college football for Austin College (coincidentally the same college Aldine’s current head coach, James Kowalewski, attended). Now, in his first job out of school, he was leading a brand-new team in its first-ever game.
After La Porte, Crouch and the Mustangs would only play two other games in 1936 – losses to Huntsville Demonstration and Willis to finish 0-3. Crouch would leave Aldine the next year to become the first principal and head coach at La Marque High School. After a stint at Deer Park in the late 1940s, Crouch left coaching and finished his career as principal at Alamo Heights High in San Antonio.
While the beginning was rather inglorious, what Crouch and his newly-minted team set in motion that October afternoon still endures 80 years later. None of the players from that day are alive today, but what they started lives on with a spirit as strong in 2016 as it was in 1936.
Mustangs Out to Tame Lions
Despite being separated by only a few miles along I-45, Aldine and Spring don’t have much of a history.
The teams have only played eight times – none before 1994 or after 2003. This Saturday, the Mustangs and the Lions renew acquaintances at Thorne Stadium in District 16-6A action. Game time is 6 p.m.
Aldine leads the all-time series 5-3, but with a 13-year gap between meetings, past performances may not mean much now.
The Mustangs come into the game 0-3 in District 16-6A and seeking their first win in a rough year. Last week, Aldine fell short against Nimitz, losing 30-17 in a hard-fought battle.
The Mustangs took a 17-14 lead into the half behind touchdown runs from Jacorey Howard and Jefferey Williams, and a Frank Salazar field goal. But Cougars rallied in the second half with 16 points to seal the game.
Spring last week pounded Davis, 62-22, to run their district record to 2-1 and their season mark to 4-2. The Lions will be looking to solidify their playoff chances behind a potent passing attack.
Spring’s Eric Spencer shredded the Davis defense for 385 yards and four TD passes. Deonta Adams snared two of Spencer’s scoring throws and added a touchdown on a punt return.
Aldine’s defense will have their work cut out for them in slowing down the Lion assault. One possible opening is that, despite last week’s aerial barrage, Spring’s overall pass completion percentage is low.
“We need our defense to get a good pass rush and make them hurry their throws,” said Mustang head coach James Kowlaweski. “If we can make their quarterback uncomfortable in the pocket, then we can disrupt their offense. And when we have the ball, we need to establish the running game so we can keep their offense of the field. It’s a tall task, but we don’t back down from a challenge.”
Mustangs Snap 34-Year Losing Streak to Galena Park
Aldine 21 • Galena Park 8
Aldine Athletic Stadium
Oct. 13, 1978
The Aldine Mustangs did something they hadn’t done since 1944 – beat the Galena Park Yellow Jackets. Thirteen times over that 34-year span Aldine lined up against Galena Park, and 13 times the team went down in defeat. But not on this night.
This night, for the first time since Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, the Mustangs walked away from the Yellow Jackets a winner, downing their long-time nemesis, 21-8.
Aldine had plenty of help. The Mustangs converted three Galena Park turnovers into scores.
Three plays after recovering a Yellow Jacket fumble, Larry Lafreniere connected with Alan Hayes on a 12-yard touchdown pass. Mike Belnoski hit the extra point and Aldine led 7-0 in the first quarter.
Later in the opening period, the Mustangs snagged a Yellow Jacket fumble on the Galena Park 6-yard line. Lafreniere scored on a 6-yard keeper and Belnoski converted the PAT to give Aldine a 14-0 advantage.
Richard Hrozek posted a 10-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and after Belnoski’s third extra point, the Mustangs took a commanding 21-0 lead.
But the Yellow Jackets still had some sting, finding the end zone with just seconds left in the first half. A pass for two points cut the deficit to 21-8 as the teams went into the locker room for intermission.
The squads engaged in a tight defensive struggle in the second half, with neither outfit managing a score.
Aldine had lost 13-straight games to Galena Park and had trailed the all-time series 18-1. The last (and previously only) Mustang win before tonight had been a 13-6 Aldine triumph in 1944.
The Mustangs improved to 3-0 in District 21-4A play and 4-2 on the 1978 season. The Yellow Jackets fell to 0-3 in district and 1-4 for the year.
Aldine Gains Revenge, Ravages Cougars
(1) Aldine 69 • Nimitz 21
Oct. 5, 1990
The 1989 state-finalist Aldine Mustangs had but a single blemish on their 9-1 regular-season record: a 21-14 upset loss to the Nimitz Cougars.
The 1990 Ponies, top-ranked in the state, came into the rematch with a single goal: Erase that blemish.
One of the largest crowds in Thorne Stadium history – 13,000 – showed up for Aldine’s Homecoming night. The game featured the Mustangs, 4-0 and ranked number 1 in the area and state, versus the Cougars, 3-0 and ranked as high a fourth in the Houston Chronicle area poll. Could Nimitz repeat last-year’s stunning upset? Or would Aldine exact revenge?
When the scoreboard finally cooled off, those questions were answered rather decisively as the Mustangs registered a 69-21 victory and left little doubt who was not only the top team in AISD, District 21-5A, the Houston area and Texas as well.
However, the win was not quite as easy as the final score made it sound.
Bolstered by last year’s success, the Cougars scratched and clawed throughout the opening quarter. Aldine took an early 7-0 lead on a Reginald Davis 22-yard touchdown run, followed by an Alex Amaya extra point.
But Nimitz bounced right back. The Cougars’ Mike Grein hit Eric Williams on a 33-yard scoring pass, and when David Henson’s point-after sailed through the uprights, the teams were tied 7-7.
Aldine struck next with an Eric Gray 4-yard run over the goal line. Amaya’s kick was good and the Mustangs ended the first quarter with a 14-7 advantage. But Nimitz refused to be bullied. Grein and Williams teamed for a second touchdown pass, this one for 23 yards. Henson’s kick was again good and the teams were knotted 14-14 in the second quarter. Could there be another upset in the making?
Not this time. Bill Smith’s boys had had enough at this point and started a 48-point scoring stampede that left the breathless Cougars panting.
Derrick Johnson posted 63- and 6-yard touchdowns during the melee. Gray contributed 2- and 1-yard scoring plunges. Chris Allen took an interception back 22 yards for a pick-six touchdown and Jermaine Jenkins crossed the goal on a 1-yard score. Amaya converted on six of seven extra points to give the Mustangs a commanding 62-14 lead when the assault ended in the fourth quarter.
Nimitz salvaged a score when Grein threw his third scoring pass of the night, this time an 11-yard strike to Brad Noble. Henson parted the uprights and the score now stood at 62-21.
Backup Mustang running back Jimmy Hicks dashed 82 yards for the game’s final score and when Amaya successfully booted the point-after, Aldine had exacted its revenge by a 69-21 score.
The Ponies’ 69 points eclipsed the previous team scoring record, set in a 68-0 win over North Shore in 1979 (the record would stand until 2014). But more important, the win over an unbeaten, quality opponent showed Aldine was not a team to be toyed with and that it was not only a solid threat to make it back to the state finals, but win the title as well.
New Stadium, New Drill Team and Big Win Complete Memorable Night for Aldine
Aldine 59 • Navasota 0
Aldine Athletic Stadium
Sep. 27, 1957
The flu-ridden Navasota Rattlers arrived to help Aldine celebrate the opening of its new on-campus stadium, and when they left, the only party gift they received was a set of several hoof prints on their backs from a 59-0 stomping.
The Mustangs rode quarterbacks Jack Hurlbut and Larry Rice IV to an easy win in the first game at Aldine Athletic Stadium. Hurlbut hurled two touchdown passes to Vernon Roberts and ran for two more. Backup Rice took over and ran for two himself in the rout.
Charles Kercheval also scored twice - once on a halfback pass from Ed Childress and another on a blocked punt return. Lamar Wilson chipped in a 35-yard touchdown run and Jerry Railsbeck booted five extra points.
The Rattlers entered the game down nine players to a flu bug that has ravaged southeast Texas. But the Mustangs showed the sick visitors no pity.
Aldine chalked up 21 quick first-quarter points and added 18 more in the second to take a comfortable halftime lead in their new home. The Ponies romped three times for 20 points in the third before calling off the assault, perhaps as to not overtax the new scoreboard.
Aldine amassed 587 yards in total offense against their hapless Rattler opponents while surrendering only 48. First downs were similarly lopsided, with the Mustangs gaining 30, but giving up only two. Not surprisingly, considering the offensive output, the Ponies’ punter took the night off, never having to kick a single time.
The Mustangs moved to 2-0 on the year and showed why many are picking them to win the District 10-3A title. The ill Navasota team, meanwhile, returned home 0-4, hoping for better days once their squad returns to full strength.
Aldine fans reveled in the new $65,000 stadium, located on the west side of the still young campus, itself built only a year before. Aldine Athletic Stadium boasts seating for 6,200 and has a modern field house adjoining the stadium where teams can dress and meet in comfort. Plans are in the works for a running track in the near future.
Up 39-0 at half, fans were treated to a special show featuring the debut of the school’s new drill team called the Vaqueras. Clad in western attire, the Vaqueras (Spanish for cowgirls) performed precision formations accompanied by the Mustang band.
(Note: Aldine Athletic Stadium is today known as Smith Stadium).
Mustangs Look to Ground High-Flying Falcons
The Aldine Mustangs face the Davis Falcons Thursday, Sep. 29 at 7 p.m. Aldine will be the visitor for this game.
The Mustangs – 0-1 in district and 0-4 overall - enter the contest seeking their first win on the season. Last Friday they were shut out by the MacArthur Generals in the opening game of District 16-6A play.
Aldine put together a strong defensive effort in the first half, only surrendering a touchdown in the final seconds of the second quarter. MacArthur notched two second-half scores to seal the 21-0 victory. On offense, the Mustangs suffered a safety in the opening seconds of the game and were kept out of the end zone the entire night. An Aldine threat on the game’s last play fell short.
Davis, meanwhile, is 1-0 in 16-6A and 2-2 on the year. Last week the Falcons dumped Eisenhower, 35-7, for their second-straight win. Davis had a shutout going until 3:03 left in the fourth quarter when the Eagles crossed the goal line for a score long after the game had been decided.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” said Aldine head coach James Kowalewski. “It’s a short week, so there’s less time to prepare. Our defense did a strong job against MacArthur, particularly in the first half. We only gave up the one big play for a score in the second half, so we were able to cut down on mistakes there. But we’ve got to start generating some offense and finish off drives. We’re stalling near the red zone and we just can’t afford to do that against Davis if we expect to win.”
Davis is still a relatively new school, so the teams don’t have much of a history. However, the Falcons have gotten their program off to a strong start in their first two varsity seasons, making the 6A playoffs both years. In 2014 and 2015 Davis rudely used Aldine as a stepping stone, winning both games by comfortable margins. Coach Kovo’s crew aims to reverse that trend Thursday night.
Aldine vs. Davis All-Time Series
(Davis leads 2-0)
Davis 33 · Aldine 0
Davis 59 · Aldine 7
Drew Davis (7) bursts upfield for a gain against MacArthur Friday night at Thorne Stadium.
Photo by Mark W. McKee
Generals Blank Aldine, 21-0
You just got the feeling it was going to be a long night.
Starting deep in their own territory after the opening kickoff, Aldine was flagged for a false start on the game’s first play from scrimmage. The early penalty backed the Mustangs halfway to an already close end zone. On the next play, MacArthur sacked Aldine’s quarterback behind the goal line for a safety just 11 seconds into the contest for a quick 2-point lead.
Things settled down after that, with both teams struggling to move the ball against tight defenses. The Generals clung to a 2-0 advantage until late in the first half when Jacoby Simpson found the end zone from two yards out with 38 seconds left to play. Jorge Castillo converted the extra-point and MacArthur took a 9-0 lead into locker room.
The Generals posted additional scores in the third and fourth quarters. Javionte Cleveland took a Nathan Gonzalez pass 64 yards for a TD midway through the third period. The PAT was no good. Early in the fourth stanza, Simpson added his second score of the night when he crossed the goal line on a 3-yard run. Despite a missed PAT, MacArthur now held a 21-0 edge with just over 11 minutes to play.
Aldine threatened to spoil the Generals’ shutout bid in the game’s final moments, but the Mustangs couldn’t connect on a pass into the corner of the end zone as time expired, making the final 21-0.
The Mustangs had also approached the goal line in the first quarter, but a General defender picked off an errant Aldine pass in the end zone to kill the drive and give MacArthur possession.
With the win, MacArthur is now 1-0 in district and evened its season record at 2-2. Aldine fell to 0-1 in 16-6A and remained winless on the year. The team will try for its first victory on Thursday, Sep. 29, when they play the Davis Falcons at Thorne Stadium. Game time is 7 p.m.
By Mark W. McKee
Class of 1984
Storied Aldine/MacArthur Rivalry Set for 50th Edition
Aldine and MacArthur, old and familiar northside neighbors, will meet again this Friday and this one will be something special. It’s the 50th all-time meeting between the AISD schools.
Just don’t expect Golden Anniversary presents or cakes. But based on past results, do come ready for some good, hard-hitting football.
Aldine (0-3) enters the game seeking its first win on the year. The Mustangs dropped a 56-28 decision Sep. 10 to Pasadena Memorial to close out their non-district schedule.
MacArthur, meanwhile, has a 1-2 record. The Generals revisited the past Sep. 9 when they played Baytown Sterling – the opponent in MacArthur’s first-ever game (a sub-varsity contest in 1966) and first varsity contest in 1967. However, it was not a happy reunion as the Generals fell, 26-6.
Both teams are coming off bye weeks and have had plenty of time to prepare for this District 16-6A opener.
“Our focus during the bye week was cutting down on mental mistakes,” said Aldine head coach James Kowalewski. “We gave away a lot of points against Pasadena Memorial because of errors. We had a great game according to the stats, but stat sheets don’t win games. So we’ve put a lot of effort into ensuring we play clean, mistake-free football against MacArthur. If we do that, we’re confident we can come out on top.”
MacArthur and Aldine first collided in November 1967. It was the first time two AISD schools went head to head on the gridiron. The brand-new Generals, in their first varsity football season, stunned the established Mustangs, 12-6, at the old Aldine Athletic Stadium (now Smith Stadium).
MacArthur took the series’ first three games and won seven of the first eight contests before Aldine turned the tables. Since the teams’ first meeting, the Mustangs lead the all-time series 32-16-1 (that figure does not include a 1993 Aldine forfeit). However, the resurgent Generals have won two of the last three games between the two rivals, including a 30-22 triumph last year.
Several games in the long series have acquired legendary status over the years. The teams have a history of fantastic finishes – too many to describe in a blog post – but here are a few of the more memorable.
In 1981, the Mustangs race to a 29-0 halftime lead and seem assured of clinching the District 21-5A title in a blowout. But wait! The Generals storm back and grab a 35-32 advantage with 2:43 left to play in the fourth quarter. Aldine QB Scott Brantley apparently saves the day and the district title by hitting RB Bill Bates on a 28-yard TD pass with 43 seconds to play. With the PAT, Aldine leads 39-32. The Generals refuse to go down quietly. It takes a Mike Pratt interception with 4 seconds remaining for Aldine to finish off MacArthur.
One would think it would be tough to top that, but the two schools did the next year. In 1982, the UIL added second-place teams to the playoffs. Forest Brook had already clinched the District 21-5A crown and the annual Aldine/MacArthur match would decide who would be the second team in the postseason. MacArthur needed a win to advance. Aldine needed either a win or at least a tie to return to the playoffs.
The teams battled in a seesaw contest all night at Thorne Stadium. As the game neared its end, MacArthur held a tenuous 35-28 lead. General fans anticipated a win, but Aldine was moving the ball ever closer to the goal. Mustang QB Darcy Davis somehow finds Harold Jackson in the end zone with no time left to pull Aldine within a point. Kicker Steve Kennard, however, misses the extra point.
Delirious General fans ignore warnings and rush onto the field, thrilled their team is in the playoffs for the first time in school history. Few notice the yellow penalty flag lying on the turf. The Generals are nailed for roughing the kicker and once the field is cleared, Kennard tries again. This time the ball sails through the uprights and the game ends in a 35-35 tie. Suddenly MacArthur’s playoff hopes are dashed and it’s the Mustangs, not the Generals, who go on to the postseason. In 1989, the Houston Chronicle named this wild finish one of its Games of the Decade.
MacArthur has rained on Aldine’s parade as well. In 1993, the Mustangs use a late 2-point conversion to topple the Generals, 18-17. After the game, it’s discovered the Mustang who scored the conversion was ineligible to play. Aldine has to forfeit the victory. With the forfeit, MacArthur eventually secures a playoff spot and takes full advantage of the second chance, advancing all the way to the state finals for the first time in school history. Without the forfeit, the Generals would have been eliminated from the race.
Two years later, MacArthur holds a narrow 35-28 lead in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter in a game with playoff implications. In shades of 1982, Mustang QB Bobby Gray connects with Andra Fuller on a 48-yard TD pass to pull Aldine within a point with only 29 seconds remaining. However, unlike 1982, Mustang head coach Bill Smith decides to go for the win, rather than the tie, and sends his team out for 2-points. Aldine’s Jason Weaver runs for the conversion, but a determined Generals defense stops him in front of the goal, preserving a 35-34 MacArthur win. The Houston Chronicle named this classic 1995 battle its Game of the Year.
Aldine vs. MacArthur All-Time Series
(Aldine leads 32-16-1)
MacArthur 12 · Aldine 6
MacArthur 35 · Aldine 14
MacArthur 17 · Aldine 14
Aldine 12 · MacArthur 11
MacArthur 12 · Aldine 7
Aldine 9 · MacArthur 0
MacArthur 20 · Aldine 6
MacArthur 24 · Aldine 0
Aldine 20 · MacArthur 14
Aldine 27 · MacArthur 0
Aldine 24 · MacArthur 14
Aldine 14 · MacArthur 0
Aldine 14 · MacArthur 7
Aldine 14 · MacArthur 13
Aldine 39 · MacArthur 35
Aldine 35 · MacArthur 35
Aldine 24 · MacArthur 6
Aldine 27 · MacArthur 7
(2) Aldine 13 · MacArthur 10
MacArthur 7 · Aldine 0
Aldine 28 · (4) MacArthur 15
MacArthur 27 · Aldine 21
(8) Aldine 52 · MacArthur 18
(1) Aldine 55 · MacArthur 26
MacArthur 29 · (8) Aldine 21
MacArthur 36 · Aldine 14
Aldine 18 · MacArthur 17
(5) MacArthur 21 · Aldine 6
MacArthur 35 · Aldine 34
(4) Aldine 48 · MacArthur 15
Aldine 38 · MacArthur 31
Aldine 31 · MacArthur 3
Aldine 23 · MacArthur 13
Aldine 35 · MacArthur 14
Aldine 51 · MacArthur 21
Aldine 40 · MacArthur 17
Aldine 21 · MacArthur 14
Aldine 31 · MacArthur 19
MacArthur 35 · Aldine 28 (OT)
Aldine 17 · MacArthur 14
MacArthur 28 · Aldine 17
Aldine 34 · MacArthur 14
Aldine 43 · MacArthur 0
Aldine 33 · MacArthur 23
Aldine 35 · MacArthur 6
Aldine 37 · MacArthur 19
MacArthur 23 · Aldine 21
Aldine 23 · MacArthur 21
MacArthur 30 • Aldine 22
Note: Aldine later forfeited its 1993 win.
Aldine Cages Panthers to Snap Long Losing Steak
Aldine 35 • Jeff Davis 12
Sep. 23, 1966
Aldine Athletic Stadium
The Aldine Mustangs finally lost something they actually wanted lose – a 12-game string of defeats. Sporting the area’s longest active skid coming into the game, the Mustangs rose up and stomped the visiting Jeff Davis Panthers, 35-14, to hang a “W” in the win column for the first time since November 1964.
Aldine (1-2) finished 1965 0-10 and had dropped its first two contests in 1966.
Mustang quarterback Billy Sheffield and halfback Gary Elliott led the charge, scoring two TDs apiece as the long-suffering Ponies built an insurmountable 35-0 advantage before spotting the Panthers a couple of charity points to avoid a shutout.
Sheffield opened the Aldine barrage with 19-yard TD run in the first quarter. Mike McCallum kicked the extra-point and the Mustangs had galloped to an early 7-0 advantage. However, victory-starved Aldine fans had been in this situation before and a lot of time remained in this game to take anything for granted.
However, the Ponies quickly showed their supporters this was a different Aldine team, and for the first time in a long time, they would not be denied.
Elliott extended the Mustang lead in the second quarter with his first score of the night. Taking a pitchout from Sheffield, Elliott found the end zone from 15 yards out. McCallum booted another PAT and Aldine now led 14-0.
The Mustangs’ Arnulfo Navarro blocked a second-quarter Jeff Davis punt, which Jeff Draper scooped up in the Panther end zone for another Aldine touchdown. McCallum again converted the point-after and the Ponies now enjoyed a 21-0 lead.
When Elliott added a 21-yard scoring run, followed by McCallum’s fourth PAT, the Mustangs walked off the field at the half holding a commanding 28-0 advantage.
In the third quarter, Sheffield punctuated the Aldine scoring binge with a 53-yard TD jaunt and once McCallum booted his fifth-straight extra-point, the Mustangs and the fans could sense the losing streak was nearing an end.
The Panthers didn’t go quietly. Jeff Davis quarterback Tommy Langley crossed the goal line twice in the third quarter on twin 1-yard scoring plunges. With successful PATs, the Panthers narrowed the Aldine lead to 35-14, but with both teams playing reserves in the final period, that score became the final result.
Jeff Davis, like Aldine, entered the game winless on the year and after this defeat, left 0-3. Aldine improved to 1-2 with its first triumph since beating Spring Woods Nov. 19, 1964. The win also was the first for new Mustang head coach Hugh Harkrider, who had been an Aldine assistant the last time the Ponies had visited the winners’ circle.
No Game This Week
The Mustangs enjoy a bye this week. Aldine will return to action Sep. 23 when they entertain the MacArthur Generals at Thorne Stadium in the Mustangs' District 16-6A opener. Aldine will be the home team for this key contest, which starts at 7 p.m. Come out and support your team!
Strahan Sack Seals Big Victory over Willowridge
(9) Aldine 15 • (7) Willowridge 13
Sep. 15, 1989
In a battle of local and state-ranked powers, it’s only fitting that the outcome not be decided until the game’s final play. And that’s exactly what happened at Thorne Stadium when the Aldine Mustangs needed a Steve Strahan sack to close out the Willowridge Eagles, 15-13, in one of the most watched contests in the Greater Houston area.
With Aldine holding a slim two-point lead and the clock winding down, Willowridge marched to the Mustang 21-yard line, trying to set up a last-second, game-winning score. Eagle QB Cedric Clark dropped back to pass on third down with only 13 seconds remaining and no timeouts. The Mustangs’ Strahan burst through the Willowridge line, pursued and dropped Clark for a big loss. The Eagles could not get back on offense before time expired, giving Aldine a hard-earned win and their first-ever victory over perennially state-ranked Willowridge.
The Eagles had entered the game ranked number 3 statewide by the Associated Press (AP) and third locally by the Houston Post. Aldine, meanwhile, was ranked seventh in the state and was Greater Houston’s top-ranked team in the Post. These lofty rankings made the contest one of the most anticipated games of the year in the area and the teams showed why on the field.
After a scoreless first quarter dominated by punishing defenses, both squads found the end zone in the second period. Aldine struck first, with RB Herman Hopson climaxing an 87-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run up the middle. K Richard Elder punched through the extra-point and the Mustangs had a 7-0 lead.
The Eagles struck back later in the quarter after recovering an Aldine fumble in Mustang territory. Needing only one play to take advantage of the turnover, Clark found Ron Peters on a 35-yard scoring strike to pull within a point. Willowridge’s PAT was wide however, and the teams ultimately went to the halftime break with the Mustangs leading 7-6.
Aldine caught a big break of its own in the third quarter. With the Eagles set to punt just over midfield on fourth down, the snap sailed over the punter’s head and rolled 48 yards to the Willowridge 3-yard line. Aldine pounced on the opportunity when QB Doug Womack snuck into the end zone from a yard out for the score. Backup QB Gary Martins ran for two points and Aldine had a 15-6 lead.
The Eagles proved worthy of their high rankings when they shook off the bad snap and drove 64 yards for a fourth-quarter TD. As in the second stanza, Clark again hit Peters for the score, this time a 9-yard completion for six points. The extra point by David Alexander was good, pulling Willowridge within two.
Aldine’s defense stuffed the Eagle running game throughout the night, limiting Willowridge to only 29 rushing yards. Forced to take to the air on their final drive and with passing their only viable option to move the ball, the Eagles were left vulnerable to the Mustang pass rush, leading to Strahan’s game-ending sack.
Aldine improved to 2-0 on the young 1989 season, while Willowridge fell to 1-1. The big win moved the Mustangs up four notches in the AP state rankings to fifth.
Aldine's Michael McLennon (33) battles hard for position.
Photo by Mark W. McKee
Mavericks Gallop Over Mustangs
Pasadena Memorial used a wild third-quarter scoring spree to stomp Aldine, 56-28, Saturday night at Thorne Stadium. The Mavericks posted 28 points in the period to blow open a competitive game.
Skies were threatening as the second half started, perhaps a warning of things to come. Up 28-12, Pasadena Memorial recovered an Aldine fumble deep in Mustang territory in the opening minute of the third. The Mavs returned the turnover 26 yards for a score (the second Pasadena Memorial fumble recovery for a TD on the night) which started a deluge the Mustangs couldn’t stop.
By the time the quarter ended, Pasadena Memorial expanded their 16-point halftime lead into a 36-point bulge behind three more scoring drives. Reserves helped the Mavericks coast through the fourth quarter to the win.
The game started off as a see-saw, back-and-forth contest. Pasadena Memorial opened the scoring with an Alex Williams’ 6-yard TD run with 9:45 left in the first quarter. Landon Cunningham ran for two points and the Mavericks grabbed an early 8-0 lead.
Aldine fought back two minutes later when Drew Davis crossed the end zone on a 4-yard scamper. The extra-point snap was bobbled and Davis was tackled when he tried to run the ball in for two points. That made the score 8-6 Pasadena Memorial.
The Mavericks’ Bubba Baxa then hit a 49-yard field goal to extend Pasadena Memorial’s lead to 11-6. Baxa’s long boot tied a record for longest ever made against Aldine.
The Mustangs answered when Caleb Blalock scooted 39 yards for a TD with 1:11 left in the quarter. Jacorey Howard fell short on the two-point try, but Aldine still held a narrow 12-11 lead.
Then someone left the gate open and the wrong horses ran out. The Mavs’ Albert Belli scooped up a Mustang fumble and rambled 26 yards for a Pasadena Memorial score. The Mavericks later posted a 3-yard TD run and, with Baxa’s successful extra points and a 42-yard field goal, Pasadena Memorial had built a 28-12 lead at the half.
Despite the third-quarter onslaught, Aldine did collect two second-half scores. In the third quarter, Joshawn Bates hauled in Howard’s pass and dashed 59 yards for a Mustang TD. Blalock added a two-point conversion. Howard enjoyed a 1-yard TD run in the final stanza, which Blalock again topped with a two-point conversion to close out the game’s scoring.
Aldine falls to 0-3 on the season while Pasadena Memorial improves to 2-1.
The Mustangs have a bye week next week before opening District 16-6A play against MacArthur at Thorne Sep. 23.
By Mark W. McKee
Saturday Is Senior Night
Aldine's Saturday game against Pasadena Memorial is also our annual Senior Night at Thorne Stadium. It's a night where we can honor the senior members of our team and training staff for their four years of commitment, dedication and sacrifice. While game time is set for 6 p.m., we ask that family members of our senior players and trainers report to the Thorne Stadium southwest gate at 5 p.m. so that we can get everyone set for the ceremony. See you there!
Aldine to Host Pasadena Memorial in a Gridiron Pony Show
If you like horses galloping wildly on a football field, then Thorne Stadium is the place to be Saturday. Your Aldine Mustangs return home to take on the Pasadena Memorial Mavericks in the final non-district game of the 2016 season. Game time for this equine affair is 6 p.m.
Aldine has never faced Pasadena Memorial. The Mustangs (0-2) dropped a hard-fought scrap against Sam Rayburn last Friday and are looking for their first win on the year. The Mavericks (1-1), meanwhile, were shut out last week by Vidor, 21-0, gaining only 78 yards of total offense for the game.
“Pasadena Memorial struggled last week, but that was last week,” said Aldine head coach James Kowalewski. “This week is a whole new ballgame. We expect them to come to Thorne Saturday looking to play, and play tough, and we’re preparing accordingly. We’ve been hitting the practice field hard and want to make sure we go into district play with a win under our belts.”
QB Jacorey Howard was Aldine’s primary weapon last week against Sam Rayburn. The Mustang signal caller rushed for 122 yards and two TDs. Drew Davis and Jose Cortez stood out on defense for Aldine, with Davis returning an interception 71 yards for a score. Coach Kovo will be looking for continued good play from these three as well as for other players to step up and shoulder the load.
Though the Mavericks failed to find the end zone last week, Aldine’s defense will key on QB Landon Cunningham and RB Alex Williams in an effort to keep Pasadena Memorial off the scoreboard. The Mustang offense will try to exploit a Pasadena Memorial defense that gave up 366 yards on the ground to Vidor.
No Need For a Scoreboard
Aldine 0, Sam Houston 0
Sep. 5, 1974
Not many fans come to see the punters, but in the Aldine/Sam Houston season opener at Delmar Stadium, they were the whole show offensively as two stout defenses ground it out in a 0-0 tie. In fact, as the game’s final stat sheet showed, punts (13) outnumbered first downs (11) on a night where neither team ever got its offense started.
The closest thing to a score in this defensive battle came near the end of the game when Tiger QB Paul Miller found Lonnie Collins on a 32-yard pass that Collins took into the end zone. However, the play and the score were wiped out by an ineligible receiver downfield penalty.
Sam Houston also threatened from the Aldine 1-yard line in the first half but a determined Mustang defense halted the drive mere feet from pay dirt. Aldine’s Darryl Wilkerson played a key role in the stand, repeatedly getting into the Tiger backfield on the first three downs to ensure Sam Houston couldn’t score. Aldine’s B.B. Tuck finished the effort on fourth down when he tackled Miller, ending the drive and giving the Mustangs possession.
And that was it for the offensive highlights. Defense showed through time and time again as both teams struggled to move the ball against the other squad’s defensive wall.
Sam Houston finished the game with a mere 87 total yards, split almost evenly between rushing and passing. Aldine fared little better, gaining only 68 yards on the ground and actually losing yardage (-2) via the air.
Each team’s quarterback had trouble with the pass. The Tigers only completed four of 18 passes, while the Mustangs had only a single completion on eight attempts. Each team suffered an interception once and each lost two fumbles.
Both teams now move on to Week 2 games with identical 0-0-1 records and each hopes to remember to bring their offenses to their next contests.
This was Aldine’s first scoreless draw since 1961 and its fourth overall since 1936. It was also the final 0-0 game in school history. The tie was the team’s 13th since it began play and the Mustangs will have six more before the University Interscholastic League scrapped ties in favor of overtime in 1997.
O-O Ties In Aldine Football History
|| Aldine 0 · Angleton 0
|| Aldine 0 · Tomball 0
|| Aldine 0 · St. Thomas 0
|| Aldine 0 · Sam Houston 0
Aldine's Latroy Gracin (4) looks to elude a posse of Texans.
Photo by John Gray
Texans Dash Past Mustangs, 27-18
The Sam Rayburn Texans used a record-setting performance by Stan Hackett to run over the Aldine Mustangs, 27-18, Friday night in Pasadena. Hackett posted three TDs and gained 428 yards on 39 carries to lead the Texans.
However, despite the prolific Rayburn ground attack, Aldine hung tough throughout the game, never letting the Texans put the contest out of reach in a see-saw battle that saw several lead changes.
The Mustangs struck first when Drew Davis intercepted an errant Rayburn pass and returned it 71 yards for an opening period pick-six TD. The PAT was no good, but Aldine took an early 6-0 lead.
Hackett then scored the first of his three markers on a 28-yard run. The Texans failed to convert and the score was tied 6-6. Aldine came right back less than a minute later when Jacorey Howard scampered 43 yards for a TD. The Mustangs’ kick was wide, but Aldine now led 12-6.
Hackett brought Rayburn back 56 seconds later when he sprinted to the end zone on a 46-yard run. An Adrian Castellanos extra-point put Rayburn on top 13-12 with 4:25 left in the first quarter in what appeared to be a wide-open game in the making.
Each team put up scores in the second quarter. Howard ran in from 11 yards out while Rayburn’s Castellanos contributed a 1-yard TD run and booted the point-after to give the Texans a 20-18 halftime advantage.
Mother Nature contributed most of the fireworks in the second half, with the game suspended briefly by nearby lightning strikes.
When play resumed, the only scoring came when Hackett outran the defense on a 65-yard, third-quarter TD run. Castellanos kicked the PAT and that made the score 27-18. That ended up being the final margin as neither team could put together a scoring drive in the last period.
Hackett was the game’s statistical star with 428 rushing yards for Rayburn. Hackett’s productive night represents the most rushing yards ever against Aldine by an opponent. Overall, the Texans put up 593 total yards. Howard, meanwhile, contributed 122 yards on the ground for Aldine.
Rayburn improves to 1-1 on the young season, while Aldine drops to 0-2.
Next up for Aldine is Pasadena Memorial, Saturday, Sep. 10, at Thorne Stadium. Game time is 6 p.m.
Mustangs Travel to Pasadena to Face Rayburn
Aldine will play its second game of the 2016 season this Friday night, Sep. 2, against the Sam Rayburn Texans. Game time from Pasadena Veterans Stadium is 7 p.m.
This will be the first time the Mustangs and the Texans have played each other. It’s also the first time Aldine has played a Pasadena ISD team since 1985 (Dobie).
The Mustangs dropped their season opener last Thursday, 14-7, to Willowridge. Now the team turns it focus to the first road game of 2016.
“We have a chance to not only start something new here against a team we’ve never played before, but also an opportuntity to put an important victory in the win column,” said Coach Kovo. “Our squad played hard last week and we were quite competitive against Willowridge. We had a great chance to tie late in the game, but just couldn’t pull it out. Obviously no one likes being 0-1 and we have some areas where we’re looking to improve going into the Rayburn game. But we also have a lot of positives to build upon. This game should be a good test.”
Sam Rayburn, 0-1, fell in their first game, 30-7, to Clements in Sugar Land last Thursday. Clements scored 23 second-quarter points to build a comfortable 30-0 lead. The Texans put up a TD late to avoid a shutout. Stanley Hackett led Sam Rayburn with 116 yards on the ground and will be someone the Mustang defense will look to contain next Friday.
Aldine Wins Battle of the Mustangs, 35-7
Sep. 3, 1988
Aldine’s Eugene Estes started the 1988 season off with a momentous bang, taking the game’s opening kickoff 88 yards for a quick score. Aldine never slowed after that, giving up only a second-quarter safety while racing to a 28-2 halftime lead in a 35-7 season-opening win over the Memorial Mustangs.
Aldine’s Ponies struck three times in the second quarter, with two of the scores set up by fumble recoveries by Danny Marcasol. Andy Bell found the end zone from 7 yards out for the first marker. Anthony Hickman followed with his own 7-yard TD and the period culminated with Doug Womack hitting paydirt with an 8-yard keeper.
Aldine essentially put the game away in the third quarter when Derrick Johnson punched a 3-yard scoring ticket and after kicker Richard Elder booted the last of his 5 extra points, Aldine held a commanding 35-2 advantage going into the final period.
Memorial managed a late score against Aldine’s reserves when Pancho Davis connected with Pierre Adams on a 7-yard pass into the end zone. Memorial’s successful PAT ended the scoring, with the final result at 35-7 for Aldine.
Aldine went to 1-0 on the season but couldn’t take much time to gloat as the team was slated to face No. 1 state-ranked Willowridge the next week. Memorial fell to 0-1.
Aldine QB Jacorey Howard outruns a Willowridge defender Thursday night at Thorne Stadium.
Photo by Mark McKee
Late Mustang Surge Falls Short in 14-7 Loss to Willowridge
A failed Aldine onside kick with 38 seconds to play helped the Willowridge Eagles hold off a fourth-quarter Mustang comeback Thursday night, and win the 2016 season opener, 14-7 at Thorne Stadium.
After being stymied for the first 46 minutes, Aldine’s offense roared to life in the final 120 seconds. Thanks to a long pass completion, the Mustangs were threatening from inside the Eagle 10-yard line, but a lost fumble into the Willowridge end zone with 1:38 left seemed to doom any hope of a comeback.
Not so. After a strong defensive series, Aldine got the ball back less than a minute later and QB Jacorey Howard hit Joshawn Bates on a surprise 82-yard TD pass with 38 seconds to go. Frank Salazar’s extra-point was good and the Mustangs were suddenly had new life, trailing only 14-7.
Aldine tried the onside kick, and while the attempt was nearly perfectly executed, the officials ruled the ball had not traveled the required 10 yards before a Mustang touched it. The verdict meant Willowridge gained possession, and since Aldine had no timeouts remaining, the Eagles simply ran out the clock to secure the victory.
Willowridge had built a seemingly secure 14-0 lead behind a Vaughn Frederick 3-yard TD run in the first quarter and a 75-yard scoring pass from Frederick to Chris Shaw. Jose Jaso booted two PATs and as the Eagle defense had kept Aldine’s offense corralled up to the final two minutes, that appeared to have been enough to win, until the Mustangs’ late near-heroics.
Aldine drops to 0-1 on the young season while Willowridge now stands at 1-0.
Next up for the Mustangs is a trip to Pasadena to play Sam Rayburn Friday, Sep. 2. Game time from Pasadena Veterans Stadium is 7 p.m.
by Mark McKee
Aldine Class of 1984
Mustangs Start New Era, Ground Falcons, 35-20
Aug. 27, 2009
Veterans Memorial Stadium, League City
The Aldine Mustangs got the Lionell Crawford era off to a galloping start, beating the Clear Lake Falcons, 35-20. RB Wesley Vincent scored three times, including snaring an 88-yard TD pass from QB Jordan Moore. RB Dontae Williams added a 6-yard TD run and connected with WR George Moore on 36-yard halfback option pass for another score. The win gives Aldine a 1-0 record on the young season.
New head coach Lionell Crawford became the first Aldine top man to win his inaugural game since Larry Rice in 1962. But even more important, Crawford also became the first Mustang alum to take the Aldine head coaching reigns. Crawford quarterbacked the Mustangs from 1985 to 1987, leading the team to a 1987 district co-championship and the area playoffs. In 2009, Crawford guided Aldine to a 7-5 record, a district runnerup playoff berth and its first playoff win since 2000.
Check back here each week during the 2016 season as we take another look back at the Mustangs’ proud past.
Can’t Make to the Aldine/Willowridge Game Thursday? Stream It Online
The Aldine Mustangs kick off their 2016 football season Thursday, Aug. 25 against the visiting Willowridge Eagles. If you can’t make it to Thorne Stadium to see the action in person, don’t fret. The website Texan Live will be streaming video and audio live, directly from the stadium, meaning you won’t have to miss a single pass, run, kick or tackle.
The game stream starts at 7 p.m. To watch the game online, click this link: http://tinyurl.com/AldineGame
Note that there is a $4.95 monthly subscription fee required to watch this game.
For that fee, you can watch not only this game either live or later, on-demand, but other regular-season games the site streams during the year as well.
Texan Live is an independent, third-party site not affiliated with Aldine High School or the Aldine Independent School District. Neither the school nor the district are responsible for billing or any billing or technical issues.
Mustangs to Renew Old Rivalry in 2016 Season Opener
Aldine vs. Willowridge
Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016
The Aldine Mustangs open their 2016 gridiron season against the Willowridge Eagles Aug. 25 at Thorne Stadium. While this marks the first time the Mustangs and Eagles have played one another in 21 years, the two teams once enjoyed one of the hottest crosstown rivalries in the Houston area.
The schools met 12 times in a 10-year period and each and every game featured teams that were highly ranked locally, and often, statewide. In 1989 and again in 1991, Aldine and Willowridge met twice in the same season – both in the regular campaign and again in the Regional playoffs. The 1989 playoff was ultimately chosen as Game of the Year by the Houston Chronicle.
The stakes won’t be quite as high when the teams renew their rivalry after more than two decades. Aldine finished last year 2-8, but showed lots of improvement after a difficult early season schedule. Willowridge is coming off a 3-7 year. But both schools have proud gridiron traditions and each wants to get its 2016 season off on the right foot with a “W”. So you can be sure this game will feature lots of hard-hitting action and fireworks on both sides of the ball benefitting such a storied rivalry.
Aldine vs. Willowridge All-Time Series
(Aldine leads 8-4)
|| (8) Willowridge 10 · Aldine 7
|| (10) Willowridge 15 · Aldine 14
|| (1) Willowridge 21 · Aldine 7
|| (9) Aldine 15 · (7) Willowridge 13
|| (5) Aldine 14 · (7) Willowridge 6 (Regional Playoff)
|| (1) Aldine 31 · (3) Willowridge 0
|| (7) Willowridge 28 · (2) Aldine 22
|| Aldine 22 · Willowridge 14 (Regional Playoff)
|| (9) Aldine 17 · Willowridge 14
|| Aldine 37 · (6) Willowridge 27
|| Aldine 13 · (6) Willowridge 0
|| Aldine 17 · Willowridge 0
AP state rankings in parenthesis.
Source: Houston Chronicle.
Come See Your 2016 Mustangs Scrimmage
Saturday, August 13th, we have an Intrasquad Scrimmage that is open to the public!
Players Report at 7:15 a.m.
The Scrimmage begins on the practice field at 8 a.m and runs until 10 am.
At 10:30 a.m. we will host a Parent Meeting to go over rules and expectations. A special bonus is a guest from The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo will be here to discuss Rodeo Scholarships! You do not have to participate in FFA or be involved in the rodeo to earn these scholarships - all students are eligible!
Hot dogs and Mustang gear will be on sale for low prices!
Hope to see you there!
New Schedule Announced for the 2016-2017 Season
Week 1 - Fort Bend Willowridge
Week 2 - Pasadena Sam Rayburn
Week 3 - Pasadena Memorial
Week 4 - Bye
Week 5 - Aldine MacArthur
Week 6 - Aldine Davis
Week 7 - Aldine Nimitz
Week 8 - Spring
Week 9 - Spring Westfield
Week 10 - Spring Dekaney
Week 11 - Aldine Eisenhower
Top Mustangs Honored at 2015 Fall Sports Banquet
Last Wednesday, the Aldine Mustangs held their annual banquet honoring the players for all of the hard work put into the 2015 season. The following players recieved the following awards base on their peers votes.
Team MVP-Joshi Clayton
Offensive MVP-Joshi Clayton
Defensive MVP- Andrew Davis/Kevin Tran
"Bill Smith"Hold the Rope- Joshi Clayton
"Kity Spence" Academic Excellence- Brian Diaz
Fighting Heart Award - Jose Medrano
Nine Aldine Mustangs Named to All-District Team
Andrew Davis - 2Way Player of the Year/1st Team DB
Joshi Clayton - 1st Team All-District RB
James Butler - 1st Team All-District WR
Ji'Ques Roger - 1st Team All-District OL
Jose Cortez - 2nd Team All-District DL
Kevin Tran - 2nd Team All-District DL
Henry Bautista - Honorable Mention All-District OL
Oscar Jasso - Honorable Mention All-District LB
Deondre Haynes - Honorable Mention All-District DB
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