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Plucky Palacios prepping for 7 on 7 football tournament

July 18, 2012 at 2:18 a.m.

Anthony Holbrook, 16, a junior at Palacios, does squats during a workout session on Tuesday. The Sharks will compete in the 64-team Texas Division II 7-on-7 tournament in College Station this week.

Anthony Holbrook, 16, a junior at Palacios, does squats during a workout session on Tuesday. The Sharks will compete in the 64-team Texas Division II 7-on-7 tournament in College Station this week.   Josh Morgan for The Victoria Advocate

PALACIOS - The mosquitoes swarming at the Palacios football field might be bigger than outside expectations of the Sharks this fall.

But an eager team and a competitive preseason environment might be the perfect balm to not only tolerate the notorious insects here, but produce winning football. The Sharks hope success at the 2012 state 7-on-7 tournament will be the primary ingredient in that concoction.

For the third time in five years the Sharks will participate in the 64-team tournament in College Station. They will be paired with Frisco Lone Star, Lago Vista and Brownwood in Pool C of the Division II championship.

"The conditioning is one thing, but the cohesive and team chemistry that the kids get from working together, that may be bigger than what kids realize," said Palacios football coach Mike Treybig.

Nearly half of the boys representing Palacios are seniors. They know this season is their last shot at varsity glory. Dylan Brune, David Apricio and Zach Garcia all believe this experience will help the Sharks - who dropped from Class 3A make the playoffs for the first time in five years.

"I think that will help us a lot. Going into 7 on 7 during the summer, we gain leadership and it will carry out here into football season," Brune said.

"Hopefully, we'll improve some of the youngsters, some of the juniors, sophomores and freshmen, make them want to come out here and play and realize that football is not to goof off. We want to actually come out, win games and hopefully go to the playoffs this year."

The Sharks will run segments of their offense and defense when they take the field Thursday.

Apricio, a linebacker, said he's looking forward to using the four guaranteed games - three in pool play and one elimination game Friday - to improve his ability to decipher passing plays. Garcia, the team's leading receiver in 2011, added trust will also be developed at all three levels of the defense.

"Our main (lesson from) 7 on 7 is not just to worry 100 percent about the run, but you have to worry about the pass as well," Apricio said about a defense that allowed just 962 passing yards in 10 games. "We do have some arms in our district that we're going to be in this year."

Edna, Hallettsville and Industrial all proved they can throw the football when they wanted last year. Rice Consolidated's passing offense will improve now that rising sophomore Jordan Johnson has seen varsity playing time at quarterback.

Palacios beat Industrial and Rice Consolidated once, and Edna twice in 7-on-7 competition this summer. The trio of seniors said those victories, as well as learning to play a complete four quarters, give them confidence entering the tournament and the season.

The Sharks threw for 654 yards last season. Nevertheless, Zach Garcia was the leading receiver in District 29-3A with 19 receptions and two touchdowns.

Quarterback Anthony Garcia is enjoying a brief vacation in Costa Rica, but he'll be back in time to accompany his teammates to College Station this weekend. Garcia said he and the fellow receivers have improved their timing.

"I think we can take that chemistry to Friday nights," Zach Garcia said. "Not just from a defensive standpoint, offensively as well. We had one of the top offenses, passing-wise, in the district last year. With Anthony in the backfield, I think we'll be good to go."



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