East quarterback ready for breakout season (video)
July 2, 2013 at 2:02 a.m.
Jonathan Ortega admits to not throwing a football for the last few weeks.
He knows he's a bit rusty, but you wouldn't know it watching him play in a recent 7 on 7 game.
"For not throwing a football in a while, I think I did pretty good," he said during a 7 on 7 competition at Memorial Stadium.
The Victoria East quarterback is not worried about getting his throwing arm in football shape. He's been playing baseball this summer.
But this upcoming season will be different.
The junior was listed as one of three potential breakout players in Class 4A in the newly released Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine.
"Now he has 16 other starters back from a team around him. The city of Victoria is back, baby," the magazine proclaimed.
Ortega doesn't mind the publicity, in fact, "I didn't even know about it, really," he said.
Titans coach Roland Gonzalez believes Ortega will be up for the challenge of leading the Titans to, hopefully, their fourth straight trip to the playoffs.
"Just the way football is, the quarterback position is a leadership position," Gonzalez said. "With that comes a leadership role. He knows what it entails."
The young quarterback came on to the scene late last season when he started against Victoria West. In that game, he threw for 282 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing for 181 yards and another three scores. In the next three games, including a playoff game against San Antonio Harlandale, Ortega had 13 total touchdowns.
This upcoming season, Ortega hopes to lead the Titans to even more success.
Leading the team and being more in control of the team offensively are among things Ortega hopes to prepare himself.
During 7-on-7 competition, Gonzalez said he has noticed Ortega progressing, working with teammates on making plays. Though Gonzalez admits that these type of 7-on-7 competitions are offensively focused, he's glad to see Ortega and his players bond.
"I saw a definite progression in our kids just working together," said the second-year head coach. "The ability to work with the receivers he's got. I'm really pleased with the way this summer's 7 on 7 went."
During the season, Ortega ran the football quite a bit. Going into the upcoming season, he wants Ortega to know receivers will be available to make plays.
"(Ortega) also understands and the team understands that one person doesn't determine our fate," Gonzalez said. "It's a team effort and everybody has to get together and take care of their responsibilities to ensure our best chance for success."
Ortega said he's looking forward to when practices start next month. For now, his mind set is to work hard and get stronger.
"I just want to win all the games and play as hard as I can," he said.