Victoria East started the first day of football practices looking to erase last year’s shortcomings.
The Titans earned the final playoff spot in District 15-5A, Division I last year, but lost 26-23 at Weslaco East in the bi-district round.
East lost 21 players from that team and returns only eight starters.
The East coaches wanted to see great effort and execution Monday evening at the school’s practice field to set the tone for the season.
“First day is always probably the easiest,” said head coach Roland Gonzalez. “There’s great enthusiasm for the guys who are here. They’re excited to end summer and get back into fall football. It’s always great to see the guys but there’s always room for improvement, especially on the first day.”
With so many new faces, East used the first day to work on continuity, getting the younger players into the routine of playing at a high level.
Junior quarterback Jadon Williams is one of a handful of upperclassmen who have stepped into leadership roles, as East works to improve a passing game that was limited last season.
“We’re trying to work on coming together and being a team and get used to our routine,” Williams said. “A lot of our guys that haven’t been here have to be here. The season is starting now. This isn’t some days you come, some days you don’t come. You need to be here and we’re going to get moving with or without you.”
Junior Jacarrien Giles is expected to take over the starting running back position, while Terrance Terrell returns as the team’s leading receiver with 25 catches in 2020.
Terrell, linebacker Trent Zappe and defensive lineman Zak Mendieta are seniors, who will take a leadership role.
“We’re working on getting back in shape, definitely, and getting everything back to football season,” Terrell said. “I’m really trying to help everybody as much as I can and be that leader. Be that guy that helps everybody, makes sure everybody knows what to do and be at the right spot at all times.”
East scrimmages Bay City on Aug. 19 at Memorial Stadium, and opens the season at Columbia in West Columbia on Aug. 27.
“Communication is critical,” Williams said. “Being out there and knowing where we need to be at this time and that time is going to help everybody come together. It’s going to be a lot easier when you’re on the football field and you’re more united than the other team.”