Victoria East senior wide receiver Terrance Terrell went his entire junior year without a touchdown catch.

The 6-foot-1 Terrell, who also plays basketball, led the Titans with 321 yards on 25 catches but could not find the end zone in 2020.

“It was a struggle, but I always knew that next year would be better,” Terrell said. “Be better every time you play, and just do what’s best for the team.”

Junior wide receiver TJ Vargas saw little playing time as a sophomore, but Vargas and Terrell have stepped up to become the top receiving options for junior quarterback Jadon Williams.

Terrell leads the team 402 yards and seven touchdowns on 30 catches, while Vargas has 350 yards and five touchdowns on 22 catches.

“Feels good to get the ball now and actually be able to do something for the team and keep scoring,” Vargas said.

East’s offense overwhelmingly favored the run in 2020, averaging 247 rushing yards a game while averaging 93 yards through the air.

The Titans have been more balanced in 2021, averaging 203 passing yards and 205 rushing yards a game.

After throwing two touchdown passes as a sophomore, Williams has thrown 18 as a junior, forming a connection with Terrell and Vargas in the summer during 7-on-7 that has carried into the regular season.

“We knew right after the Weslaco East game that we’re gonna have to come up with some different heat,” Williams said. “We knew that right after that game we had to just come and hit all season.”

Assistant coach Luke Johns joined East’s staff this season as passing coordinator, coming down from Evergreen, Colorado.

Despite joining the staff late and missing 7-on-7, Johns has praised the work of his receiving corps.

“We’ve been run heavy but there’s been little seeds planted here,” Johns said. “We’ve seen little flashes and knew Jadon Williams was coming up. We knew guys like TT and these other receivers that had that ability. We just had to get them to continue to create that offense that could use all of our talents together.”

The receiver corps has dwindled with injuries to Matthew Jackson and Caden Mozisek, but Terrell and Vargas have worked to take on greater responsibility.

“Me and him always work on everything, every day in practice,” Terrell said. “We go hard, get our blocks in, make sure we catch every ball, every ball we drop we make sure we pay for it and we make sure that we don’t make that mistake again.”

Terrell and Vargas will need to have strong games once again as East travels to Gregory-Portland at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

East came out on top 33-31 in last year’s matchup, but will face a tough test against a Wildcats team in second place in District 15-5A, Division I.

This is East’s first road game since a 63-22 loss to Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial on Sept. 16. The Titans played three straight games at Victoria’s Memorial Stadium before last week’s bye week.

“I tell them all the time that as the receivers go, this team goes,” Johns said. “So we like that pressure, and we want to be able to put the team on the back and execute and do the best we can to hopefully get a good outcome.”

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Sports Reporter

Peter is a Sports Reporter whose feature writing has been recognize by the APSE. A Houston native, Peter wrote for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and freelanced for the Houston Chronicle and Austin-American Statesman before coming to Victoria.

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