Goliad looks to build with talented core (w/video)

Marcus Gutierrez By Marcus Gutierrez

Aug. 10, 2017 at 9:51 p.m.
Updated Aug. 11, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Goliad's Angel Hernandez practices running drills during Thursday's practice.

Goliad's Angel Hernandez practices running drills during Thursday's practice.   Ana Ramirez/aramirez@vicad.com for The Victoria Advocate

GOLIAD - Rocky Morris has enjoyed the first week of fall camp with his Goliad teammates.

The junior quarterback and the Tigers have built a family bond and are looking to bring out the best of each other on the practice field.

"We all want reps," said Morris, who stands at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds. "Right now, we are all competing because we we want to make each other better. It's going to take a lot of hard work to get back in the playoffs, but we're ready for the challenge."

"Rocky was a little soft-spoken last year," said Goliad head coach Bobby Nicholson. "He's gotten a lot better learning the system and will have chances to change the plays during the game. The guys have been practicing hard and competing since we started Monday."

Goliad hit the practice field Thursday for the last time in helmets and T-shirts.

This time last year, the Tigers were practicing with a new coaching staff.

"Last year, everything was new," Nicholson said. "I had to learn about them, and they had to learn about me. With a full year now, we were able to set up our program, and it's made a big difference, and things are running a lot smoother. Right now, we're probably in midseason form with the offense and defense by them just knowing the system."

In Nicholson's first season, the Tigers finished with a 9-4 overall record and made it to the Class 3A, Division I regional playoff game against Yoakum.

The Tigers dropped a 23-21 decision to the Bulldogs, which only served as motivation for the team.

"We were just a couple plays away from winning that game," Nicholson said. "Not a lot of these kids knew about how deep we were in the playoffs. The kids have bought in, and we're practicing like we want it now."

The Tigers will return nine starters on offense, eight starters on defense and will have 14 seniors.

On offense, Morris will have junior running back Logan Bland, who had 24 touchdowns and more than 1,800 rushing yards. Senior wide receiver Trevor Parr caught 7 touchdowns with more than 900 receiving yards.

"We're a lot smarter, and we gained a lot of experience since last year," Morris said. "Everyone pushes each other when we're at practice. We know that we just have to put our heads down, work hard, and listen to our coaches in order to get to the playoffs.

"We're still a young team," Nicholson said. "We had a lot of sophomores that are now juniors, so this year we have an experienced team. We lost 27 seniors, but we still have talent that will help us on the field."

Parr has seen the development from Morris, and is building on their chemistry from last season.

"Rocky looks really good," Parr said. "He's gotten stronger, he's been throwing good, and we believe in him."

Junior linebacker Angel Hernandez, who had more than 100 tackles, will anchor the Tigers' defense.

"I'm trying to be more vocal out there," Hernandez said. "Right now, as a defense, we're focused on going to the ball and just attacking. All of the team is in shape, and we're looking to make another deep run in the playoffs."

On Friday, Goliad will hit the field with pads for the first time, and Nicholson wants to see a lot from his team before their Week 1 matchup when the Tigers host Shiner.

"The one thing I want to see from them is better communication during camp," Nicholson said. "When you have good communication on the field, you can execute your plays better. They're excited to get the pads on Friday and start hitting each other."


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