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Fall Sports Preview: Tigers see major changes for 2012 season
A Tiger running back loosens up prior to Floresville's Aug. 24 scrimmage with East Central.
FLORESVILLE -- There are big changes for the Floresville football program this season, as the Tigers get a new head coach and a new offensive coordinator, and find themselves playing in a new district.
With John Baker’s departure from Floresville High School, former assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Jeff Luna takes the reins in hopes of guiding the Tigers back to a winning season and a playoff appearance. For Luna, the 2012 season marks the start of his seventh season at Floresville, and the Poth graduate believes this is a special opportunity. He is excited to see this goal and dream of his finally realized.
“I have been preparing for this for 13 years,” Luna said. “I’ve always wanted to be the head coach right here in Floresville.”
In addition to the head coaching change, a new offensive coordinator was brought in to take over the play-calling for the Tigers. Luna said he feels quite fortunate that Floresville was able to hire Coach David Haass, the former offensive coordinator at Wagner High School.
“We are lucky to have him,” Luna said. “He is going to reintroduce a smash-mouth brand of ball-control football. It’s going to be good.”
The other big change for Floresville in 2012 is the move into District 29-4A. The Tigers leave the schools to the south and along the coastline, to once again join schools from San Antonio and the surrounding area. While many will agree the Tigers have an easier district to deal with this year, it’s clear that no one is going to roll over for Floresville. District 29-4A is a large, eight-team district, and the Tigers will need to earn wins over teams like Medina Valley, McCollum, and Uvalde. Floresville will rekindle its rivalry with Southside, and as the team’s final district game, it could have playoff implications. The Tigers will also face Harlandale, Kennedy, and Memorial. The new district will mean less travel for the Tigers, and that is a “big one” for Luna.
While these certainly are big changes for the Tigers, most feel something had to change. Floresville is coming off another disappointing season in which the Tigers finished with an overall record of 4-6, and were just 1-4 in district play.
Amid all the changes, the Tigers also have some constants, though, including several players that return to the starting lineup this season. Floresville has nine returning starters in all, including five on offense and four on defense.
Luna expects a great season from several of his key players, including senior linebacker John Handowski, a four-year letterman who dealt with some injury issues in 2011. Junior running back Hector Villegas got everyone’s attention as a sophomore last season, and Luna said he will be even better this year. Luna also gave praise to Kyle Bippert, P.J. Quinters, Roby Pennartz, and quarterback Colby Shodrock, who did a good job taking over the team right as the season began last year.
Luna said he will continue to call the defense and doesn’t anticipate many changes. The Tigers will work out of a 3-4 scheme most of the time, and he feels confident in his players’ abilities to stop opposing offenses. The offense will definitely have a different look under Haass, and Luna expects there will be some struggles as the team adjusts. He believes Haass is the right man for the job, though, and said his defense will have to shoulder the load while the offense makes early-season adjustments.
Luna believes the Tigers have good strength on the front line, have a lot of speed on defense, and will have an outstanding backfield on the offensive side of things. A lack of experience will be the team’s greatest weakness, but the Tigers will look to fill vacancies as quickly as possible.
As for the program overall, Luna said he wants to get more parent and community involvement. He wants to build a football tradition in Floresville, and wants everyone from the Peewee players to alumni involved and excited about Tiger football.
“There is a lot to be proud of in Floresville,” he said.
“We are going to be exciting to watch,” he added. “We are going to play sound, disciplined football, but it’s definitely time to get the excitement back.”
The Tigers will open their 2012 season on the road against Highlands, and will play their first game at home Friday, Sept. 7, against Brackenridge. After a bye week and a game at Lanier, the Tigers will begin district play on the road against McCollum.
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