Expectations remain high for College Park after district title

The Cavaliers went 8-2 overall with a 5-0 mark in District 13-6A, claiming the program’s first district championship in football.

Coming off a historic season, the expectations remain the same as they were when Madison and his staff took over in 2017.

“We’ve been working at the same pace with the same goals for the last four years,” Madison said. “We found ways to win close games last year. All the seniors from the past few years have kind of set a standard and our kids, in the offseason, just continued with the same standard that’s been set.”

The Cavaliers picked up two of their district wins by one score last season, and a third was decided by just 12 points. Madison expects a similar type of gauntlet in 13-6A this fall.

“We say it all the time, and I think we all believe it — we’ve got great coaches and great teams in this district,” Madison said. “We found a way to win a handful of close games last year. The years prior to that, we lost some close games. I expect it’s going to be the same for whoever comes out on top in district — they’re going to have to find ways to win those close games.”

College Park has been a program led by its defense under Madison, finishing in the top half of district points allowed each of the past three seasons. In 2021, it may be offense leading the way.

The Cavaliers return senior quarterback Ty Buckmon, who has seen starts since his sophomore year and will graduate as a three-year letterman in football and a four-year letterman in basketball.

“One thing Ty’s always had is a handle on the offense, no matter what we’ve done,” Madison said. “Whether we’ve been under center, pro style, shifting, trading, he’s been able to call out the formations and control the offense, even as a sophomore. Now we’re going a little quicker and spreading it around because we do have skill players. Now that (Buckmon) is a senior, he’s just stronger, faster and the arm strength is the best it’s ever been. We anticipate him having a monster year this year.”

Head Coach: Lonnie Madison (5th season)

Last year: 8-2 (5-0), District 13-6A champion, bi-district finalist

2021 Schedule

Week 1: Friday, Aug. 27 vs. Katy Cinco Ranch, 7 p.m., Woodforest Bank Stadium

Week 2: Friday, Sept. 3 at Bryan, 7 p.m., Merrell Green Stadium

Week 3: Thursday, Sept. 9, vs. Cypress Lakes, 7 p.m., Woodforest Bank Stadium

Week 4: Saturday, Sept. 18, vs. Klein, 6 p.m., Woodforest Bank Stadium

Week 5: Friday, Sept. 24, at Katy Mayde Creek, 6 p.m., Legacy Stadium

Week 6: BYE

*Week 7: Friday, Oct. 8, at Grand Oaks, 7 p.m., Woodforest Bank Stadium

*Week 8: Friday, Oct. 15, vs. Willis, 7 p.m., Moorhead Stadium

*Week 9: Friday, Oct. 22, at Conroe, 7 p.m., Moorhead Stadium

*Week 10: Friday, Oct. 29, vs. Oak Ridge, 7 p.m., Woodforest Bank Stadium

*Week 11: Thursday, Nov. 4, at The Woodlands, 7 p.m., Woodforest Bank Stadium

*District 13-6A game

Buckmon will have plenty of options on offense, too. Baylor commit Cody Mladenka will line up at tight end, Alex Brigman is back at wide receiver, and Conner Dunphy will look to build off a strong freshman season. Up front, Texas A&M commit Chance Jackson will anchor the line. And it doesn’t end there.

“This is the deepest we’ve ever been with our offensive skill positions,” Madison said. “We truly feel like we’ve got nine or 10 receivers that can all go out there and play every Friday night. We’ve got three tailbacks we feel great about, a couple quarterbacks, a couple H-back/tight end positions. Then we’ve got three offensive linemen that were starters for us last year and a couple young guys moving up.”

Defensively, the Cavs return six starters. The key names to replace will be defensive back Curt Evangelister and linebacker Dylan Hazen, the All-Montgomery County Player of the Year in 2020.

Even so, College Park has impact players back. All-District First Team defensive end Andrew Edmonson returns after leading the district in sacks.

“He’s kind of leading the front seven as a three-year starter at the position,” Madison said.

Joseph Golden, another First Team All-District pick, is back at corner.

“He’s an extremely good tackler on the perimeter and probably our best coverage guy,” Madison said.

Also back is Brett Lane, who stood next to Hazen at linebacker last year and will quarterback that unit this fall.

Even with some roster turnover, College Park expects to keep improving. Part of that is due to the lack of turnover in another part of the program.

“One thing that isn’t talked about a lot — we haven’t had any turnover in our staff over the last three years,” Madison said. “We’ve had the same 16 coaches on staff for the last three years now. That makes things go smooth as well. Being in Year 5, the kids understand the expectations and the coaches understand the expectations.”