Rouse Raiders ready to go deep in high school football playoffs

The Rouse Raiders are ready to make a deep run this season and are led by one of the area's top quarterbacks.

Over the past two seasons, Rouse has won 21 games and made back-to-back third-round playoff appearances. It's a pretty impressive turnaround for a program that went 1-9 prior to that.

Senior linebacker Zack Lacombe says, "That sophomore year, the next year. Practices were way different. You could tell that the energy was unmatched."

"They fought fought fought and we were right there with them through that whole painful season of 1-and-9. And we went in sophomore year knowing we didn't want any part of that again. And we just soared up from there," senior quarterback Mason Shorb says.

Head coach Joshua Mann agrees with his team saying, "It is fun. The winning definitely helps. Don't let any coach ever lie to you. It's a lot funner when we're winning games than losing."

Shorb has played a big part in the rise of the Raiders. Last year he threw for more than 3,800 yards and 49 touchdowns.

"Mason's growth from his sophomore to junior year was amazing. And I can't even wait to see what happens his senior year. As hard as he's worked," Mann says.

It was work that didn't go into motion until Shorb moved to Texas back in 2013. Before that, he was living in California and while he played flag football, football really wasn't his thing. His sport was swimming and fortunately for Rouse, it was short-lived.

"I stopped swimming competitively. You know, I call it my retirement. I call it my retirement. Because I was too skinny. And it was too cold getting out of that pool. So, I retired about 10. I'll tell you what. I'll dust anybody in the 100 free. Don't even at me. Nobody wants the smoke. I promise y'all don't want no smoke," Shorb says.

Shorb is now fully committed to football and helping Rouse succeed this season.

"We want to play fast. We want to play hard. Want everybody to know Rouse isn't soft. Rouse isn't a joke," Shorb says.

Senior offensive lineman Alex Deville says, "This senior class has been playing together since youth league. We've known each other. We grew up with each other. And these younger guys are really ready to get after it."

Senior linebacker Jace Mann is confident the team can emulate its recent success. "As a freshman group we came in and we won the district championship as a freshman team 9-0-1. And we took it and we just flew with it. We turned it around and won nine to 10 to.  That's not easy to do. It took a lot."