Tag: Katy

Clemons signs with Chiefs as undrafted free agent

Former Taylor High star and SMU standout Rodney Clemons was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY OF SMU ATHLETICS)

BY DENNIS SILVA II | densilva2@gmail.com

Former Taylor High star and SMU standout Rodney Clemons was signed by the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent late Saturday evening.

The 6-foot, 209-pound safety was projected to go anywhere from the fifth round to undrafted during this weekend’s NFL Draft. Clemons had a strong 2019 senior season for the 10-3 Mustangs as a team captain, compiling 78 total tackles and a team-high four interceptions and nine pass breakups. But his 4.71 40-yard dash time at February’s NFL Scouting Combine, to go with questions about his quickness and instincts, hampered his chances of being drafted.

Clemons joins a Chiefs team that returns 20 of 22 starters. Returning veterans at safety are Daniel Sorensen and Armani Watts at free safety and Tyrann Mathieu at strong safety. In this year’s draft, Kansas City selected a running back, linebacker, cornerback, defensive end and cornerback. The Chiefs added five more defensive backs in free agency, including Clemons. Three of those were cornerbacks.

Prior to the draft, Clemons said earlier this week in a feature story on 281SportsUnlimited that he desired a situation where he could compete for a starting position and have the chance to play right away.

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Former Taylor star Clemons on verge of NFL dream

Rodney Clemons shown during a game for SMU last season. (Photo Courtesy of SMU Athletics)

BY DENNIS SILVA II | densilva2@gmail.com

During his first spring football practice as head coach of Taylor High in 2014, Trey Herrmann remembers hearing an abrasive crunch of physical contact.

“I didn’t see the hit,” Herrmann recalled six years later. “I heard it.”

Herrmann turned around to see then-junior Rodney Clemons getting back up off the running back.

“I said, ‘Yep, I was right,’” Herrmann said. “‘That’s my starting safety right there.’”

Just a couple of months before, Herrmann had convinced Clemons, frustrated and done with football after two years of hardly seeing the field, to not hang up the cleats just yet.

“I was at a junior varsity basketball game, sitting next to (then-school principal) Mr. (Jeff) Stocks, and I saw Rodney,” Herrmann said. “Just the way he moved on the floor, as far as his footwork and ability to be around the ball at all times. I asked Mr. Stocks, ‘Hey, who’s that kid?’ ‘That’s Rodney Clemons.’ And I said, ‘Well, that’s my starting safety right there.’ He just had all the attributes I look for in a safety.”

So goes the beginning of a wonderous story for Clemons, a 6-foot, 209-pound safety out of SMU who is expected to go anywhere in the fifth through seventh rounds of the NFL Draft this weekend. The draft, which will be held over three days, will be aired on ESPN. Round one will be held Thursday, rounds two and three on Friday, and the last four rounds on Saturday.

Continue reading “Former Taylor star Clemons on verge of NFL dream”

Falcons left wondering what-if after cancelation of dominant season

Katy Tx. Jan. 11, 2020: The Tompkins Lady Falcons win their bracket in the I-10 Soccer Shootout in a match against McAllen at Legacy Stadium in Katy. (Photo by Mark Goodman)

BY DENNIS SILVA II | @densilva2@gmail.com

The inevitable occurred on the afternoon of Friday, April 17, but it didn’t make the sting of a lost season any easier to take.

The UIL’s cancellation of remaining spring sports and state championships because of necessary precautions due to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, left a plethora of ‘only-ifs’ in the Katy ISD sports community.

Only if Katy softball had been granted a postseason in which to defend its 2019 Class 6A state championship. The Tigers will get another chance next year, yes, but the seniors won’t have a shot at pursuing back-to-back titles. Only if Tompkins senior golfer Elina Sinz had been awarded one more shot at playing for state and an individual championship. Only if the Katy High girls track team or Paetow senior jumper Johnathan Baker or Taylor junior thrower Bryce Foster or Tompkins’ boys and girls track and field teams were given a chance to strut their stuff at state in Austin, smashing records along the way.

The Tompkins, Seven Lakes and Cinco Ranch boys soccer teams were all state-ranked and all viable candidates to represent the district at state.

So on and so on. The ‘what-ifs’ from this high school spring sports season would make for a compelling ESPN “30 for 30” documentary.

But arguably the biggest storyline left unanswered will be that of Tompkins girls soccer.

Continue reading “Falcons left wondering what-if after cancelation of dominant season”

Taylor’s Carrillo makes masks for healthcare workers, others

Taylor High sophomore volleyball player Devon Carrillo shows off masks she made for healthcare workers and family and friends. (COURTESY PHOTO)

BY DENNIS SILVA II | densilva2@gmail.com

A little more than a week ago, Devon Carrillo realized she could play a significant role helping others during this crucial time of need.

With healthcare face masks at a premium due to precautions for the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, the Taylor High sophomore varsity volleyball player knew she could make a difference.

“I really thought, ‘Oh, well I can make masks and I have materials at home I can use,’” Carrillo, 16, said. “It started from there. A lot of people ended up seeing them and posting about it, so then I ended up just making them for basically anyone who wanted one.”

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Mayde Creek’s Kriesel leaves impact as Ram, Ladyjack

Katy native Ashley Kriesel is shown pitching for Stephen F Austin University (COURTESY STEPHEN F. AUSTIN UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS)

BY DENNIS SILVA II | densilva2@gmail.com

Mayde Creek softball coach Jill Voss struggles to pick her favorite Ashley Kriesel moment. Two come to mind.

The first came during the spring of 2016, between Games 2 and 3 of the Rams’ best-of-three area playoff series against previously undefeated Cypress Woods. Voss was a nervous wreck, her team down to a do-or-die game and a potential program-defining upset win. In midst of the rollercoaster pregame emotions and thoughts, Voss lost her lineup card and scurried back behind the dugout, where she tried to hold back tears.

“Nobody saw me. Ashley comes behind and I told her, ‘Hey, we need you. So, if you can go, we need you to go,’” Voss recalled telling her senior ace pitcher, who had also pitched each of the first two games of the series. “And she says to me, ‘No, we need you! Get in here!’ I’m in tears, trying to hold it together, and she calls me back to the dugout and I just say, ‘Yes, ma’am.’”

Voss laughs at the memory.

“She was our mother hen,” Voss said.

Continue reading “Mayde Creek’s Kriesel leaves impact as Ram, Ladyjack”

From writing letters to leading a program: Katy’s Burg takes over at Georgia Southern

Then-Texas Tech assistant coach Brian Burg, left, talks to head coach Chris Beard during a game.

BY DENNIS SILVA II | densilva2@gmail.com

For 29 consecutive days in 2005, Brian Burg wrote letters to then-Texas Tech men’s basketball coach Bob Knight and Knight’s then-assistant coach Chris Beard.

Burg, fresh off a graduate assistant coaching gig at NCAA Division III Lake Erie College, knew he wanted to be a basketball coach. But he needed an opportunity.

Burg admired Beard for the passion and communication skills he saw first-hand when Beard coached summer camps Burg attended as a child. So, Burg tried his luck. Day after day produced letter after letter. Finally, after Knight got perturbed with Burg’s persistence, Burg received an exasperated call from Beard, who acknowledged Burg’s desire, told him to stop writing Knight, and eventually set Burg up with a job for a junior college program.

Since then, it’s been a grind for the Katy native Burg in climbing the ladder of a profession that’s not for the meek. From Garden City Community College to Western Texas College to Middle Tennessee State to Campbell to North Carolina Central to Little Rock. Then, in 2016, landing at Texas Tech under Beard, enjoying a mesmerizing Final Four run to the championship game in 2019, and then, now, to the culmination of it all in Statesboro, Georgia.

Continue reading “From writing letters to leading a program: Katy’s Burg takes over at Georgia Southern”