By: National Scout – Nick Gradney (@StatZ_G)
If you followed KIPP Sunnyside high school football last year, throw out everything you learned about the team. Although they lost a few key players to the collegiate level, this is a much improved roster with a revamped coaching staff. Even the younger guys are growing and gaining experience by the rep. Sunnyside alum Jarod Johnson been with the program for 4 years and he’s going into his first full year as the head coach. Coming off of a loss in the TCSAAL State Championship Game last season, the Senators walk into 2023 with not only a chip on their shoulder, but a point to prove that the previous year wasn’t a fluke. Charter schools in the Houston area don’t have the mystique of the popular public schools in the city because there are rarely any big time nationally ranked players, the media don’t cover much and there’s a big difference in funding – but at some point, all that have to change and why not now? There’s no better time than the present. With the talent and resources now constructed at KIPP Sunnyside, the only thing that’s missing is time. The Senators have a plethora of talent that can compete at the next level. That includes sophomore quarterback Timonthy Carter Jr, senior wide receiver Walter Sherman-Thompson, sophomore wide receiver Rodney Wilson Jr, senior cornerback Todd Dericho, senior defensive lineman Keidon “K5” Howard and many others. The strength of this Senators squad is undoubtedly the receivers group. Former Austin high school transfer Jaedan Green and 24′ wide out Vience Donatto are huge targets on the outside that give offensive coordinator Jared Johnson a ton of options in the play book to choose from. The Senators also have speed with Keily Smith, who will probably be the fastest player on the field more times than not. Coming over from Legacy School of Sports Sciences is junior running back Jermaine Jackson. Jackson is already a state champion so that adds a different type of pedigree to the team. On the other side of the ball, led by defensive coordinator Wayne Daniels, The Senators defense are a multifaceted bunch that looks to keep the offense guessing. Seniors Keidon “K5” Howard, Bernard Sasu (defensive lineman) and Todd Dericho (cornerback) will shoulder a big load as veterans on the team. There’s a good crop of young talent mixed in as well with the likes of 26′ defensive backs Kaden Castille and Adrian Bernard who is expected to grow up very fast. The thing that’s most notable is that this team is full of fast learners. The playbook is extensive and the terminology seems never-ending so that’s an plus within itself. The narrative is that KIPP Sunnyside is supposed to lose the first two games to Tomball Christian and Iowa Colony. However, they have a legit chance to do something special and run the table. The Senators have high expectations and there’s a growing buzz going around that this could be the year if everyone reaches their full potential, coaches included. The talent is there, the swag is unquestionable, now it’s time to see how dangerous the shark tank really is.