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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL 2021
With football scrimmages kicking off this week area football coach are displaying their optimism, not only at the chance to play a full season but at their respective teams’ success for the 2021-22 season.
Edward Bocanegra is entering his third year at the helm of the Pearsall Mavericks and looking to build off a year in which he took the Mavericks back to the postseason, albeit via a pandemic-shortened 2-4 record.
In a year in which Pearsall played only six games, the team had one scrimmage and one pre-district matchup before entering 14-4A play. The Mavs earned a forfeit victory over Crystal City and topped Bandera in the season finale to earn the fourth and final playoff spot.
“The boys are excited,” Bocanegra said. “We have had great practices and the boys are hungry. The ability to have an off-season and summer weights and conditioning has put us in a better place compared to last year, with strength and conditioning being a positive for us this year.
“With our numbers increasing we are hoping to field three teams this year which will allow the athletes to get more reps and experience. We are excited about this season and look forward to great year.”
The coach said his team is young and has many holes to fill but feels his team’s preparation will be key this year.
“We will still be young but we do have a lot of starting returners from last year’s team, so they will bring some experience, discipline and leadership on and off the field,” he said. “We did have some really good skill athletes graduate, so we will need some of our young Mavericks to step up and fill those shoes. Our coaching staff has done a really great job of preparing each individual athlete so that they can be successful on the field and help us to victories.
“Offensively we have adapted to our personnel, and being strong up front and very skilled in the backfield will allow us to do a multitude of schemes that will complement each other. Defensively, our athletes have shown their strength in discipline which will allow our defense to trust each other on the field and allow us to fly around.”
Dilley suffered through an un-Dilley like 0-8 season in 2020 and have dropped 28 of their last 30 games. The Wolves made a change in coaches following consecutive winless seasons under Lamar Rodriguez. Dilley brought in long-time former assistant and former Pearsall and Cotulla athletic director David Silva.
Silva hopes to return a sense of confidence in the Wolves and build the winning attitude that once permeated within the program.
“Confidence, that’s the biggest thing I’m trying to instill in our boys,” Silva said. “They’re picking up the offensive scheme very well, they’ve retained what we put in back in March.
“We’re emphasizing throwing the ball right now, simply because we haven’t done it here in over two years. Defensively, we’re keeping things pretty much the same, so, they are familiar with the defensive scheme.”
Silva said he’s also pleased with attendance in the early going.
“We have 50 right now, so that’s good,” he said. “We may pick up a few more when school starts, numbers show we will have a junior varsity and varsity team, which is big for the future of our program.”
Cotulla’s season was also hampered by the pandemic as the Cowboys rushed through a six-game, district-only schedule.
While Cotulla played well all season, they just couldn’t make the plays needed to turn things in their favor, dropping all six games, most by narrow margins.
The return of former head coach Marcus Booker has ignited excitement in the program and community as well as renewed playoff expectations. The coach famously led the Cowboys to their best season in 2006, earning a state semifinal berth and 11-2 season.
The season unofficially kicks off this week as Dilley will host a quad-scrimmage with Carrizo Springs, D’Hanis and Lytle on Thursday, August 12. The event kicks off at 5 p.m. Pearsall will be at Somerset to scrimmage the Bulldogs at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 13. Cotulla will likewise scrimmage this Friday, August 13 at 8 p.m. at Crystal City.