Gobblers get new turf, new look (video)

Aug. 21, 2013 at 3:21 a.m.

The Cuero Gobblers practice Tuesday morning at Cuero High School.

The Cuero Gobblers practice Tuesday morning at Cuero High School.

CUERO - The biggest traffic jam in Cuero occurs on the road outside Gobbler Stadium during the noon hour.

People drive by the stadium on their lunch break to get a look at the new artificial surface, which will be ready for Thursday night's scrimmage against Victoria East.

The turf won't be the only change Cuero fans who attend the scrimmage will notice.

The Gobblers will have a different look in the upcoming season.

"I think that comes about because we've got a young football team," said Cuero coach Travis Reeve. "We graduated all of our linemen. Most of our guys are going to be underclassmen. We've got a small senior class. There is some uncertainty among people looking in. I think our kids are confident in what we can do."

Reeve returned to Cuero last season after a two-year absence to become a head coach for the first time.

The Gobblers won their final three District 26-3A games to advance to playoffs last season, after having a nine-year postseason streak snapped in 2011.

"It was a come back home type of thing," said senior Layne Balfanz. "We kind of fell into it. I like our coaching staff. I'm confident in our coaching staff."

The Gobblers will run the same offense and defense as they did last season, but will adapt to much smaller offensive and defensive lines.

"Our offensive line this year may be the smallest we've had in the years I've been here," Reeve said. "But they are also the most athletic we've ever been. That's the great thing about high school football. If you play with great technique and play physically tough, you're going to be OK."

Cuero has given an indication of being a physical team during preseason practices and its scrimmage against Lockhart.

"We'll be quicker, but we'll also be meaner," said senior Tel Holland, who moved from tight end to left guard. "We're a tough group. Size doesn't matter to us. No matter how big you are, we're going to hit you."

The Gobblers should also be able to out-run people as many of their teams have in the past.

"I think it's a turn more toward speed and more toward power," Balfanz said. "It's knowing what to do and everybody being on the same page."

The question most frequently asked is who will play quarterback, Reeve said.

Senior Hunter Fales and junior Jared Verner have been sharing reps, and Reeve isn't ready to name a starter.

"We've got a pretty good little competition going on," Reeve said. "We've had one scrimmage, and both did some good things. If we had to play today, we would play both of them.

"I think they both have taken great strides," he added. "They both make mistakes from time to time as well. We're just looking for a guy who's going to take care of the ball and manage the offense. He's doesn't have to win it for us - just manage the offense."

Reeve is anxious to see how the Gobblers perform against East, which will also be playing its second scrimmage.

"East has a lot of speed and athleticism," Reeve said. "What I want to see is us play aggressive; do a good job of doing the little things right and play tough, physical football. That's going to be the key for us. We've got to be a team that plays hard and executes well."

Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or mforman@vicad.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.



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