West looks for early success against Lockhart
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Victoria West at Lockhart
7:30 p.m. Friday
Radio: KVNN, 1340 AM
The Victoria West Warriors have been going through workouts and contact drills against each other for three weeks.
The monotony finally ends Friday when the Warriors travel to the barbecue capital of Texas to open the season against the Lockhart Lions.
"Since we're going against somebody with different colored jerseys on, it's game time," said senior linebacker Xavier Ramos. "We finally get to go full speed and show them what the Warriors have."
Last year the Warriors went 2-8, including an 0-5 mark in District 30-4A, and missed the playoffs.
A new season brings renewed hope that the team can work toward making it back to the postseason.
"The biggest thing about this group that stands out is that they love the game of football," said head coach Leonard McAngus. "Some guys may just participate in football, but these guys love it and that make it fun to coach."
Offensively, the Lions are a bit of a throwback with their run-oriented slot-T. This serves as an early test for the West defense in its first game under new coordinator Randy Perez.
In 2011, the Warriors rush defense allowed 251 yeards per game and 28 total rushing touchdowns.
The Lions' backfield features the fullback, halfback combination of Levi Mair and Marcos Rodriguez. Last year the duo combined for 1,242 yards and 15 touchdowns.
"He's a huge boy and I think he's going to be one heck of an athlete to go against," Ramos said about Mair. "Tackling him (we're) going to need 100-percent effort. He's real quick and I know that reading our keys is going to lead us to the ball."
The Lions have a defense with aggressive play-calling tendencies and blitz frequently.
Although Lockhart attempts to pressure the quarterback, it leaves the secondary vulnerable to big plays. Opponents averaged 25 points per game in 2011.
Communication among the offensive line will be crucial for the Warriors in order to give senior quarterback Garrett Rother time to throw.
"They're definitely going to test us on being able to protect our quarterback," McAngus said.
Rother threw for 1,629 yards and 13 touchdowns, while rushing for 708 yards and five touchdowns last season.
"I think we'll have enough combinations of both run and pass to be successful to drive and hopefully score," he said.
The season opener gives a convoy of West running backs the chance to emerge as a go-to carrier this season.
McAngus said junior Qualian Bryant will start the game, but junior Modesto Martinez and seniors Chaz Johnson and TIm Kitchens will also see playing time at running back.
West hopes to break a five-game losing streak that dates back to last year.
Rother said a season-opening win would go a long way toward giving the team some confidence.
"It's a giant morale thing for us to have under our belt," Rother said. "It's very big for us to go out and get our 'W' on Friday."