These are good times for the Houston Austin High School varsity football team.
A hard-fought 6-0 victory over Houston Sterling recently improved the Mustangs to 5-1 on the season and 4-1 in District 24-5A.
The game was played in windy conditions at Barnett Stadium that made the passing game nearly non-existent. Top running back Ty Wright went down with an injury late in the contest and the Sterling defense was playing lights out against the Mustangs’ offense.
Yet none of that seem to deter Austin quarterback Malik Hornsby, who completed a 29-yard pass to Emanual Fisher that helped set up Michael Mata’s game-winning two-yard touchdown run with 5:33 left in the fourth quarter. Mata finished with 96 rushing yards on 15 carries.
“There was a lot of stuff we had to overcome today,” Hornsby said. “We went three-and-out on our first three series.
“We came together on the sideline and our coach asked us what we were seeing out there,” Hornsby said. “We told him and then went out and made some plays.”
Hornsby is part of Austin’s strong freshman class from last year that included receivers Donald Harper and Demarcus Wiser. All three sophomores have started since the 2016 season.
“It helps to have played varsity last year because now we can see the daylight,” Hornsby said.
With Hornsby calling the signals the Mustangs are a tough team to game-plan for, with multiple weapons across the field in Wright, Mata, Harper, Fisher and Wiser.
Hornsby possesses the speed and arm strength to make plays in both the running and passing game, much like the NFL quarterbacks he enjoys watching like Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks and Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans.
Off the field Hornsby is a throwback to yesteryear.
A hunting and fishing enthusiast, Hornsby was taught the finer points of the great outdoors by his father.
“I’ve been active in the outdoor life since I was about 10 years old,” he said.
Hornsby describes himself as a quiet person who plays his role and isn’t afraid to be a leader. “I’m not afraid to be myself and I’ve always been responsible,” he said.
With only one loss in district play and remaining games against Madison and Sharpstown, Austin is on the road to a second consecutive trip to the postseason.
The Mustangs’ defense is a formidable unit led by Prentice Beasley.
“We always have the playoffs as a goal at the beginning of the season,” said Hornsby, who has drawn attention from several state universities including the University of Houston and University of Texas. “Then we want to have success in the playoffs.”