Victoria East’s Ethan White will start the season with new and familiar teammates.

But it’s nothing the senior quarterback didn’t expect.

“Everyone knows what they have to do,” White said. “We just have to execute it. Last year was good for me to gain experience. Everyone is willing to learn and put effort in to make a team.”

White is one of eight returning starters.

East also returns offensive linemen Hunter Crump and Dedrick Porter; wide receiver Koby Levigne; safeties Tyree Haynes and Cyrus Sanchez; and defensive tackle Christian Mancillas.

“I feel like we have potential to do something special,” Levigne said. “With the talent we have, we can get the job done.”

The Titans put together a 5-6 season last year and a posted a 5-3 mark in District 15-5A, Division I play.

East hopes to do better after advancing to the Class 5A bi-district round – the team’s third playoff appearance in the last four seasons.

“Young people are stepping up this year,” said East running back William Garley. “The younger players are asking the older players questions.”

Garley is happy to be back on the field after missing last season with an elbow injury.

“It’s a new start and a new beginning,” Garley said. “It feels good to be back.

East head coach Roland Gonzalez expects his team to compete despite losing 29 seniors a season ago. Gonzalez, who begins his eighth season as head coach at East, knows depth has been an issue but hasn’t shied away from keeping the team’s goals the same.

“We have to stay healthy,” Gonzalez said. “We have to create depth and try to give the kids the best chance to be successful every time they hit the field.”

The Titans begin their second season in District 15-5A, Division I.

Last season, East defeated Victoria West, Corpus Christi King, Carroll, Miller and Moody but fell to Veterans Memorial, Ray and Flour Bluff.

But the Titans have two preseason games to focus on before opening district play Sept. 13 at Corpus Christi Miller.

East will open the season Aug. 30 at Columbia. The Titans’ home opener is Sept. 6 against Gregory-Portland.

“We have to come out and work hard,” said East linebacker Ethan Farias. “We don’t want to have the season we had last year. We want to come out and go deeper in the playoffs.”

Rey Castillo is the assistant sports editor for the Victoria Advocate. He may be reached at rcastillo@vicad.com, 361-574-1240 or on Twitter @reycastillo361.

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