SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The Judson Rockets are not happy with the way their season ended in 2017. The Rockets lost to Lake Travis in the area finals, after they had beaten the Cavaliers to open the season. The frustration of that exit has fueled the Rockets’ off-season workouts.
“We’ve had a great off-season, a great summer and a great first day of practice,” Judson head coach Sean McAuliffe said. “We’ve got a hungry group of kids, and a really big senior class with about 50 seniors in there.”
A number of those seniors have been playing for the Rockets for three or even four years.
“They know what’s at stake,” McAuliffe continued. “And I think they are hungry to prove themselves.”
The Rockets finished 2017 with an overall record of 10-2, but fell out of the playoffs much sooner than they expected. Judson went 6-1 in one of Texas’ toughest districts, District 26-6A, which includes Smithson Valley, Steele and Clemens.
“In our two losses last year, the third quarter absolutely killed us,” McAuliffe admitted. “So we’re going to emphasize coming out fast at halftime. I think we have done a good job starting games on a good note. Now, we’ve just have to get things going in the second half.”
The Rockets welcome back 12 starters to their Converse campus, including four on offense and eight on defense, led by the best defensive end in Texas high school football: DeMarvin Leal. The 6 foot, 7 inch, 285 pound Texas A&M commit will lead the Judson defense after tallying 67 tackles, 14 for a loss and two forced fumbles in 2017.
“He’s a pretty centered kid, and he’s been unbelievably productive for four years,” McAuliffe said. “I don’t know if he could ever increase that productivity, but just being here and playing in so many big time ballgames, his leadership aspect of it will help us a lot.”
On the offensive side of the ball, the Rockets boast one of the most versatile high school football players in the state, dual-threat quarterback Sincere McCormick. In 2017, McCormick rushed for more than 1,200 yards and scored 13 touchdowns, while also throwing for an additional 199 yards with three more touchdowns. He even tallied his own receiving touchdown, and is always dangerous returning punts. If that’s not an impressive enough resume, McCormick has also contributed on the defensive side of the ball, playing as a safety.
The Judson Rockets kick off their season at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, when they host Cedar Springs at Rutledge Stadium.