HS Football: Grand Oaks Grizzlies preview
THE WOODLANDS, TX -- Coach Mike Jackson’s Grand Oaks Grizzlies are not only one of two newcomers in District 13-6A, but Grand Oaks is also a UIL varsity newcomer in 2020. After opening in 2018 and two seasons of an independent, unofficial varsity schedule, the Grizzlies head into their first season of district play led by their first senior class.
The challenge of stepping up to face 6A talent weekly will be tough, but Grand Oaks is building a program that will compete hard against any opponent. Plus, a team with its first senior class means this team has been together from the start, so team chemistry can be something the Grizzlies can rely on.
Record: 6-4 (no district)
Wins: Milby, Wisdom, KIPP Northeast, Sharpstown, Pro-Vision, Tomball Christian
Losses: Sweeny, Comfort, Brownwood, Pasadena Memorial
Playoffs: Not eligible
The 2020 Grand Oaks football team lacks true UIL Varsity experience and that will be challenging to overcome in a talented district. However, unlike the rest of the teams in District 13-6A, the Grizzlies bring back all of their players this season. Players on both sides of the football will be playing with familiar faces and that can only be a good thing as they navigate uncharted territory for the first time.
QB Hudson Hamilton will lead the Grizzlies offense out on the field in 2020. He’ll likely spend a lot of time getting the ball into the hands of guys like RB Micah Cooper and Seth Wright. Cooper is a big-play threat every time he touches the ball, including in the return game. Cooper totaled just under 1500 yards and 13 TDs in 2019, so he will be a huge part of Grand Oaks’ gameplan once again.
Coaches at every level will tell you that the most important phase of the game is special teams. The quickest way to lose a game is through poor play on special teams, which is why having a talented K/P like Grant Nickel could be an advantage for the Grizzlies. Other teams in this district have shown that a reliable K/P can be a weapon just like any skill position player. With Nickel, who has the leg strength to hit from 50 yards out and boom punts as well, Grand Oaks could change games in their favor with special teams.
An unusual offseason won’t make things easier for Grand Oaks in their first varsity season, but with under-the-radar talent in the right places, and a coach who understands what’s needed to get the program headed in the right direction, the Grizzlies should be prepared for battle every week in 2020.