By Bill McCaughey
For The Fort Bend Star
It would be easy to count Kempner out this season.
Gone, due to graduation, are Billy Reagins Jr., last year’s district offensive most valuable player, Dalton Perez, all-district offensive lineman, and Jake Landry, all-district wide receiver. Add in last year’s starting quarterback, Alec Carr, who is not playing this season in order to concentrate on baseball, and most teams might be worried. But Kempner, and Coach Darrin Andrus, aren’t like most teams.
“You don’t replace a kid like Billy. You hope to find someone who can step into his spot and I think we have a couple of kids who can be just as good and maybe a little bit faster. But it’s really hard to replace a 6’ 3” 240-pound guy,” Andrus said. “We are not changing our offense. We have led the district in rushing the last three years, and been in the top three in the district the last three years.”
Leading the team this year is all-district linebacker Jacob Magum-Farrar, a 6’ 4” 215-pound senior who just accepted a scholarship to Stanford University.
“Jacob is our leader. Everyone in the nation has been after him, and he just committed to Stanford,” Andrus said.
When deciding on a college, Mangum-Farrar looked at both the education side and the football side.
“Education always comes first, and their football program has been really good,” Mangum-Farrar said.
As for this season, Mangum-Farrar is excited about their prospects.
“We are going to be just fine this year. We will do what we do, which is play defense with an attitude,” Mangum-Farrar said.
Mangum-Farrar, who played soccer and ran track before deciding to concentrate on football, intends to study structural engineering at Stanford, and hopes to start his own Silicon Valley company at some point in the future.
Playing quarterback this year will be sophomore Cade Lubojasky.
“Cade has a great arm, but will need some experience to get the reads down,” Andrus said. “He had a great year as a freshman, and has been working hard all summer. The kids respect him and will rally behind him. Behind him, we have Jordan Oliver, an all-district first team cornerback who just committed to Rice University. Jordan is a great athlete who will be ready if we need him to play quarterback.”
Oliver is a three-year starter at cornerback for the Cougars.
“Our basic defense is a cover two, so I make my reads at the line of scrimmage and end up covering the up receiver. The safety then takes the deep receiver,” Oliver said. “We are excited about this year. We may have lost a few guys, but the seniors need to step up and take leadership positions, and the underclassmen need to show us they can play.”
Oliver thinks the pre-district season is important.
“We look to execute, and get familiar with our coverages. We need to get used to our plays and playing with each other, so when it comes to district, everything comes natural,” Oliver said.
Oliver is a math expert who intends to study engineering at Rice.
Also returning for the Cougars are running back Joel Adams, last year’s district all-purpose player of the year, and Kendall Jones, all-district offensive lineman.
Last year, Kempner was 7-3 overall, and 4-3 in the district, tying for third place. In the first round of the playoffs, the Cougars lost to Katy Taylor 60-42. Kempner opens this season on Saturday night against Mayde Creek at Mercer Stadium.