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Fall Sports Preview: Brahmas continue to build new tradition under West
It’s called tackle football for a reason, and players mix it up in Stockdale during their first morning in pads.
STOCKDALE -- There have been a number of changes to the Stockdale football program over the last several years, but that’s not the case in 2012. Pretty much everything is the same, and that stability is allowing Head Coach Josh West and his staff to build upon the success the Brahmas had last year. The goals and expectations have just increased.
Stockdale finished the year with a 4-2 record in district play, and went 6-5 on the year, advancing into the playoffs. The Brahmas will return four starters on offense and six on defense. West said many of his players continued to work out this summer, and he is looking for several athletes to really step it up this year.
The Brahmas will compete in District 15-2A DII, and this means things will look a little different for Stockdale. While the Brahmas will continue to play Poth, Karnes City, and Nixon-Smiley, they will also have to deal with the likes of Dilley, Natalia, Cotulla, and Bloomington. West believes Poth is once again the district favorite, and said that’s the team “you gun for.” He also believes Karnes City and Dilley will be loaded this year, and recognizes the importance of the rivalry games with Poth, Nixon-Smiley, and Karnes City.
“There are no easy games,” West said. “We will have to be ready to play every Friday night.”
As far as player personnel, West said he expects big things from a number of his returning players, including linebacker Hunter Pierdolla, Matt Valadez, Dylan Dunn, and Josh Carroll. West described Pierdolla as “a big force,” pointed out that Valadez was “great as a sophomore,” praised Dunn’s ability at linebacker, and said Carroll impressed him as a freshman playing on both sides of the ball. He went on to say Carroll reminded him of Ty Warnash, the former Brahma standout and current lineman for the University of the Incarnate Word Cardinal football team.
“He should be really good for us this year,” West said.
Other players West gave special mention to included Dusty Mosier, Tanner Maxwell, Taylor Deason, and Zach Pfeil.
In terms of a game plan, West said the Brahmas won’t have many changes for this year, though the team’s approach to offense will be a little different.
“Last year we were more offense minded,” West said. “We threw a ton and put up some points, but this year we are looking to control the ball, play with more discipline, and avoid the penalties and mistakes that really hurt us last year.”
West believes it’s going to take a lot of hard work early to get the team where it needs to be. He stressed discipline, and mentioned the need to keep his team from getting frustrated with short gains instead of big plays.
Stockdale’s strength of schedule will also help prepare the team for a tough district run. The Brahmas had a couple of good scrimmages set up to test the team early, and will face a speedy Cole Cougar team in the first game of the season.
The Brahmas’ first district game will be against Dilley, and West believes it to easily be one of the biggest games for Stockdale.
“It’s gonna be tough, but we would really like to win that game and build some momentum as we move into games with Poth and Karnes City,” he said.
Another key to a successful season for Stockdale will be in its leadership on the field. West talked about various roles with his kids, and explained that a player’s role this year may be different from what he did last season. He said his players are embracing their new roles, and sees that “tradition” is starting to “kick in.”
“The kids are buying into the system and things are headed in the right direction,” West said. “Tradition is taking hold.”
The Brahmas will open their season at home Friday, Aug. 31, against the Cole Cougars, but then won’t be home for a while. After games in Jourdanton and Falls City, the team will have a bye week before returning home Friday, Sept. 28, for Homecoming against Dilley.
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