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Warriors look to build upon successful season (w/video)

By Taylor Mitchell
May 2, 2014 at 12:02 a.m.

Victoria West wide receiver Malcolm Peoples, right, runs around defenders during the team's first spring practice of the year at Memorial Stadium in Victoria.

With the exception of the occasional cloud, the sun shined brightly at Memorial Stadium.

As coaches mingled around, a pair of yellow school buses pulled up to the field entrance, and players from the Victoria West football team began to make their way to the field.

Spring practice was officially underway for the Warriors.

West returned to action after the most successful season in the school's short history, finishing 9-4 and advancing to the regional round of the Class 4A, Division I playoffs. The Warriors also defeated their crosstown rival, Victoria East, for the first time.

Coach Leonard McAngus hopes to use this year's spring practices as a way to build on last season's success.

"It felt great to be back out there," McAngus said. "We had a really good offseason, and a lot of things we needed to work on, we got accomplished. We're ready to start working on the fundamentals of football."

Friday was the first day of spring drills for the Warriors and consisted of a situational scrimmage with the offense's starting position predetermined by the coaching staff.

"We put the kids in different game situations like red zone, goal line, coming out of the end zone," McAngus explained. "We try to come up with as many scenarios as possible."

Several players started the spring on the right foot, including several returning players such as Gamarquis Girdy, Zevaughn Shelton and Malcolm Peoples. Girdy caught a long touchdown pass on the third series of the day, and Shelton scored on a 20-yard run.

"I just want to see them improve," McAngus said of what he expects from his returning starters. "Also, we lost a lot of really good seniors. We need guys to step up and take over the leadership roles."

One player not returning is Tony Navarro, the Warriors' starting quarterback last season. That means McAngus must find a new quarterback for the second straight season.

Who that is, however, remains to be seen.

"We've been working the quarterbacks since January," McAngus said. "Coach (Courtney) Boyce does a great job of coaching quarterbacks and is one of the best, in my opinion. We have several kids that are working at that position and maybe working at other positions, as well."

McAngus and Boyce have a variety of different quarterback styles - from scrambling dual threats to pocket passers.

"These guys give us a chance to have different style of quarterbacks, and we can do different things," McAngus said.

Junior Corbin Perez led the black first-team offense during Friday's scrimmage to several scoring drives, including two touchdown passes to Girdy and Grant McDaniel. Perez took a lot of first-team snaps during the last spring session but injured his knee at the end of drills and had to have surgery, costing him the starting job.

"Corbin did a good job of throwing the football," McAngus said. "Considering that he's been through surgery and rehab, he's looked very good."

Spring drills are an opportunity for players to step up.

While spring practices are often used to install new plays or refresh old ones, it also provides new, young players a chance to earn their way onto the field.

"(Spring practices) gives us the opportunity to work with all the groups," McAngus said. "We can spend more time with the younger kids teaching them the offense, defense and special teams."

Film study is also a big part of spring practices, and the Warriors record nearly everything they do.

"It gives us a chance to study the players and also a chance for them to see themselves," McAngus said.

The Warriors will wrap up spring practices with an intrasquad spring game May 28 at 6 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

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