Predicting the TAPPS Division II / District 4 race
1. Holy Cross: Quarterback Gilbert Salas and linebacker Kalijah Michael are back to lead the Knights.
2. San Antonio Christian: Tight end/defensive end Nick Peterson has committed to Michigan.
3. Brownsville St. Joseph: Bloodhounds dropped to 2-8 last year after finishing 7-5 in 2017.
4. Corpus Christi John Paul II: Improving Centurions coming off 5-5 season.
Here is a breakdown of the two San Antonio-area teams in the district:
1. HOLY CROSS KNIGHTS
Coach: Mike Harrison, 75-29 in nine seasons at Holy Cross
2018 records: 7-4 overall, 3-0 in TAPPS Division II / District 4 (first)
Last playoff appearance: 2018, lost to Austin Regents 24-6 in TAPPS Division II second round
Starters returning (O/D): 9/5
Players to watch: DE Amir Ali, sophomore; WR Marcos Jimenez-Cedillo, sophomore; OL Marcos Coronado, senior; DB Marc Garcia, junior; WR/DB Roman Garza, senior; OL/DL Heriberto Lerma, senior; HB/LB Kalijah Michael, senior; RB/LB Jacob Olivares, senior; QB Gilbert Salas, senior.
Season opener: at Austin Hyde Park, Aug. 30
TAPPS Division II / District 4 opener: at Corpus Christi John Paul II, Oct. 11
Outlook: With 14 starters back from last year's district championship team, including nine on offense, Holy Cross looks to be in good shape to successfully defend its title. The headliner on offense is senior quarterback Gilbert Salas, a steady operator who averaged 250 yards of total offense in the Knights' first six games before he missed the last month of the season with a shoulder injury. Salas will line up behind an offensive line that returns four of five starters, including All-State selection Heriberto Lerma and all-district choice Marcos Coronado, both seniors. The defense has some rebuilding to do, but standout senior middle linebacker Kalijah Michael is among five starters back. Michael, who also plays H-back on offense, has made All-State in each of the past three seasons. Michael was one of the best defensive players in the San Antonio area last year, finishing with 105 tackles and 11 sacks. Mike Harrison, who is starting his 10th season as Holy Cross coach and 14th at the school, said the Knights will rely on Michael to lead the defensive unit's new starters.
2. SAN ANTONIO CHRISTIAN LIONS
Coach: Henry Ellard, 5-13 in two seasons at San Antonio Christian
2018 records: 2-7 overall, 1-2 in TAPPS Division II / District 4 (three-way tie for second)
Last playoff appearance: 2016, lost to Houston Second Baptist 44-25 in TAPPS Division II bidistrict
Starters returning (O/D): 9/8
Players to watch: QB/DB Joel Allen, junior; RB/DB Shay Allen, junior; WR/DB Jack Buffington, senior; OL Logan Dorazio, sophomore; OLB Porter Dulske, junior; RB/LB Chris Hilliard, senior; WR/S Ethan Joergensen, senior; DB Kale Odom, senior; TE/DE Nick Patterson, senior; QB Grant Satcher, senior; TE/DL Connor Schorp, junior.
Season opener: at Central Catholic, Aug. 30
TAPPS Division II / District 4 opener: vs. Holy Cross, Oct. 17, Harlandale Memorial Stadium
Outlook: The marquee name on the list of 17 returning San Antonio Christian starters is two-way end Nick Patterson, who has committed to Michigan. Patterson is the brother of Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson. Nick Patterson had 52 receptions and five touchdowns last season, and also finished with three sacks as a defensive end. Starting their third season under coach Henry Ellard, a former NFL All-Pro wide receiver who played in the league for 16 seasons, the Lions return nine offensive and eight defensive starters. Senior quarterback Grant Satcher, who passed for more than 2,000 yards and 18 TDs last year, is among the returnees. Senior wide receiver/strong safety Ethan Joergensen, who had five interceptions last season, is another outstanding player on the San Antonio Christian roster. Ellard is also expecting big things from senior running back/linebacker Chris Hilliard. Ellard, who retired as a player in 1998, was a volunteer assistant coach at San Antonio Christian for one season before getting hired as head coach last year.
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