Spring game preview: Warriors hunt for receivers
May 14, 2012 at 12:14 a.m.
The team that gathers on May 23 for Victoria West's spring game is going to look different from the one that gathered last year.
The Warriors are replacing a large number of seniors on the roster and must find new receivers and fill large gaps on their defense because of graduation.
Here are five storylines to follow for Victoria West football this spring:
FINDING NEW RECEIVERS • Victoria West quarterback Garrett Rother lost his top four options to graduation in Seth Harrison (33 catches), Josh Valdez (24 catches), Trey Cole (25 catches) and tight end Colin Davis (19 catches). While the Warriors are set at other skill positions with Rother and running back Chris Franklin back, it will be up to Warriors coach Leonard McAngus and offensive coordinator Courtney Boyce to narrow down the list of candidates and identify who will step up going into next season. This year's spring game will provide an opportunity for them to begin to do that.
WHO'S NEXT?• Victoria West graduated a staggering 30 seniors from the 2011 squad, and much of next week's spring game will be about figuring out which of the underclassmen coming up from junior varsity and the freshmen teams, as well as the returning juniors and varsity sophomores have what it takes to replace key players all over the place. The Warriors will be looking at, in addition to wide receivers, linemen on both sides of the ball, linebackers and defensive backs. The 2012 Victoria West Warriors will be a much younger and inexperienced than they were in 2011.
GETTING INTO GAME SHAPE• A strong start could mean the world for the Warriors in 2012, and they are set up for possibly just that. West opens the season with opponents that were a combined 9-31 last year (Lockhart, Cuero, South San Antonio and Bay City), but that's also a tad misleading. Cuero and Bay City often produce talented teams, and both have new coaches this year. Victoria West is a team that spent the last two years using the early part of the season learning how to play as a unit, with an eye toward the district season. In 2010, it helped tremendously; not so much in 2011. This year, a strong start led by the veterans on the team and the coaches could help the Warriors set the right tone for the season.
IMPROVING THE DEFENSE
Victoria West last year had just 13 sacks, and opponents averaged a hair over 30 points a game against them. And the graduation of players like Jayce Serrano, Terry Ramey, Gabe Garcia and Brandon Cady doesn't help the team either. The spring game will give the Warriors' coaches a chance to look at a new batch of players and see who fits where. But it should be with an eye to finding players who can supply a sustained pass rush and improved run defense.
THE TRAINING WHEELS ARE OFF• Victoria West lost six games late, including three in district play. Flipping those games could have been the difference between an 8-2 record and a playoff berth, and a mediocre 2-8 record and staying home. This year, the mistakes that led to those losses - ill-timed choices on the field and in the coaches' booth - can't happen for the returning starters and regulars from 2011. Everyone is another year older, with more experience. The 2011 Victoria West Warriors team was one that at times got ahead of itself and had its poor choices catch up to it way too often. It will be a matter of ironing out those issues and focusing on the task at hand. Quarter by quarter, minute by minute, play by play.