By Micahel Sudhalter
For The Star
Late October is often associated with candy, costumes and playoff baseball. For the Stafford High School football team, the second half of the month will determine the team’s fortunes.
Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine picked Stafford to return to the postseason for the first time since 2016. They had the Spartans finishing third behind Navasota and North Forest, respectively, in District 12-4A.
“We have to execute better,” Stafford third-year head football coach Ken Savanah said. “North Forest will be a formidable opponent. Navasota will get better.”
Savanah is optimistic about this season, which begins at home on Aug. 30 vs. Class 5A Katy Paetow.
The Spartans boast four Division I commits (quarterback Cameron Peters – UT San Antonio, offensive lineman Marcus Smith – SMU, defensive end Robert Wooten (Missouri) and defensive back Dabari Hawkins (UL-Lafayette). It’s the most D-I signees for SHS since the 2016 state quarterfinalist team that produced three.
Assistant Head Coach David Montano will move from defense to offense, and Corey Gallien will remain offensive coordinator. Q. Silva is the new defensive coordinator, returning to the program after two years of coaching at schools north of Houston. He’ll continue the Spartans’ 4-2-5 defensive set.
Peters, the Dave Campbell’s 4A-12 Preseason Offensive MVP, transferred from Dulles where he led the Vikings to the Class 6A playoffs with 1,824 passing yards and 18 touchdowns.
“We’ll have more opportunities to throw the ball this season,” Savanah said. “Cameron gives us that versatility. He’s really athletic.”
Among his receivers will be senior Will Perro as well as Marshall transfer Javon Matthews, senior Nate Ruggles and sophomores Jordan Barrett and Cordell Patt.
Savanah said Smith, a Dave Campbell’s All-Class 4A Selection, will lead the offensive line. Senior Richard Stafford and juniors Braylon Garcia and Jacob Jimenez will add experience on the offensive line, with a strong combination of run/pass blocking.
Wooten, who will become the second Stafford graduate to join an SEC Football Program next fall, had 79 tackles and 12 sacks last season. He leads a D-Line that includes junior Jeffrey Pamugo and Patt.
Kenny Steward leads the linebackers, and one of the strongest units will be the secondary, which returns five players, including Hawkins, Churchill Williams, Caleb Roberts and Marcus Lane.