Before Atascocita took the field on Monday to start fall camp, the Eagles had already made history.
When high school football publication Dave Campbell’s Texas Football released its preseason rankings, Atascocita reached No. 6 in Class 6A, Texas’s highest classification — the highest preseason ranking in Humble ISD history.
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Still, Atascocita coach Craig Stump said the Eagles have to prove it on the field.
“I think it shows respects to what the teams before have done before,” Stump said. “Preseason rankings are usually based on reputation and expectations, which is good. It doesn’t win a game for you. It shows a sign of respect that you’re a top 10 program.”
It has been a long journey for Stump who arrived at Atascocita when the football program was often called “Atrashcocita” by opponents. Nearly 10 years and several district titles later and the nickname for Atascocita is less derogatory — people on social media call it “The A.”
However, the goal has always been state title or bust since Stump took over for the Eagles back in 2012. Stump still hasn’t won a state title yet and is looking forward to a journey to AT&T Stadium this season to compete for one.
“The challenge has always been not to be complacent,” Stump said. “I think we have pushed through those types of things. We don’t want to be a good team that goes to the playoffs, we want to be a great team that competes for a state title every season.”
The Eagles have a lot of contributors returning.
Gavin Session is back to run Stump’s offense from the quarterback position, while Kam Dewberry will return at right tackle to anchor the offensive line. Running back Tyras Winfield is ready to carry the rock and wide receivers Keith Wheeler and Chase Sowell are looking to finish their senior season on a high note.
On defense, the secondary will have Bennie Qualls, Davion Bacon and De’Marcus Peters roaming for interceptions.
Senior defensive end Caleb Hudson is one of several starters returning to the line for the Eagles. Nose tackle Samu Taumanupepe is back after contributing for the defense as a sophomore. Jonah Caseltine and Jaden Ducos will anchor the linebacking corp.
After making it to the regional semifinal and losing to Fort Bend Ridge Point, the Eagles are hungry to make a deeper run this season.
“This team can be real good,” Hudson said. “It’s not just the leaders, it has to be everybody to help the team. We’re coming together as a team and just getting ready for the season. We’re looking to have a good run.”
The Eagles will be battled tested for sure with a non-district schedule that includes No. 10 Allen, Denton Guyer, Klein Oak and Klein Collins.
Stump isn’t afraid to play the best teams in the state of Texas.
He wants to make sure his Eagles are prepared for District 21-6A play.
“We’re going to play a really hard non-district schedule, and we’ll see how good we are,” Stump said. “How we handle those teams is going to determine what kind of team we’re going to be. We could be 4-0, 3-1, 2-2 and have any kind of record. These seniors have been through a lot of games, and they have to handle these situations with the younger guys. Playing that kind of competition is where this program wants to be, we’re excited about that for sure.”