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2014 Fall Sports Preview: Hornets continue evolution under Hartman
ROBERT C. MCDONALD —
Players at East Central receive instruction from their coaches. The Hornets are in their second year under Head Coach Clint Hartman, and should compete for a district title this season.
EAST CENTRAL -- When Clint Hartman returned to his alma mater last year as the school’s new head coach and athletic director, he started making changes right away. After a full year, including a strong spring season and summer workout, Hartman knows his team is in a better position to compete for a district title and beyond.
The Hornets went 5-6 last year, and played one round into the playoffs. They were 3-2 in district play, but are looking for improvement this season.
East Central is part of District 28-6A, which is essentially the old 28-5A district, having swapped out Steele for Corpus Christi Ray. Corpus Christi Carroll, Corpus Christi King, South San, and Southwest round out the district.
Hartman said the Hornets had a great spring ball season, and got better in all three phases of the game. He said the team did lose a lineman to injury, but otherwise remained healthy. The team didn’t make any significant changes, but rather just worked to continue their evolution into Hartman’s vision of the up-tempo, aggressive, and exciting football team.
“We are way ahead of where we were last year,” Hartman said.
When it comes to the players to watch, Hornet offensive coordinator Richard Mendoza expects big things from running back and two-year starter Javion Polk, as well as receiver Wanya Ward, who has done good things for the Hornets. Mendoza and Hartman are also expecting good things from quarterback Justin Upshaw-Mendoza, as well as receivers Kyle Lamey and Dallas Polasek. The coaches said that the offensive line has made strong improvements since last season, and players have a better understanding of their roles within the fast-paced system.
“We saw improvement as the year went on,” Hartman said. “I think we got better every week. We just need to keep getting better at what we do.”
On the defensive side of things, Hartman and defensive coordinator Anthony Renfro said they expect strong play on the line from Caesar Soto and Blake Nicholson. Linebacker Dalton Tarr was an all-district selection last season, and Colin Padalecki brings great speed and athleticism to the Hornet secondary, as well.
Renfro said the defense has been simplified a bit this year, and that there is more depth than they have enjoyed in the past.
“There are 15-16 different guys who have a shot at starting,” he said.
When it comes to goals, Hartman was quick to respond.
“Win the district and win state titles,” he said. “Those will never change.”
In the immediate future, Hartman said he isn’t concerned with schedules, other teams, or preseason rankings. He said he remains focused on the Hornets, and on his team getting better every week.
“I’m excited,” Mendoza said of the upcoming season. “We are getting better and will have an opportunity to win the district. I love that process of getting better each week.”
“We just need to play hard -- to play with emotion,” Renfro added.
“I’m happy to be here and my second year will be better,” Hartman said. “Our mantra is that it’s ‘not about me.’ We have worked hard to develop a team chemistry.”
Hartman, Mendoza, Renfro, and the Hornets start their 2014 season this Friday, Aug. 29, as they host San Marcos. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Hornet Stadium.
East Central Football
1 Wanya Ward WR
2 Kyle Tupper WR
3 Javion Polk RB
4 Dallas Polasek LB
5 Jauwan Hall RB
6 Janathan Carter WR
7 Colin Trainer WR
8 Justin Upshaw-Mendoza QB
9 Cesar Lopez QB
10 Kyle Real DB
11 Colin Padalecki DB
12 Joshua Barnes WR
13 Chris Mendoza DB
14 Dalton Zigmond K
15 David Flores WR
16 Manuel Charo DB
18 Daireon Smith DB
20 Tommy Williams WR
21 D’Anthony Carter DB
22 Jarett Moreno LB
25 Mason Jupe LB
28 Marcus Rendon LB
30 Gilbert Guzman LB
32 Devin Lavin DL
33 Amado Salazar DB
34 David Gonzales LB
37 Isaac Mendoza DL
40 Roy Mora DB
43 Aaron Jaramillo LB
44 Dalton Tarr LB
46 Blake Nicholson DL
49 Virgil Rodriguez LB
50 Zach Barrera LB
51 James Bothe DL
54 Brady Simpson OL
55 Adam Rakowicz DL
56 James Rodriguez OL
57 Kaleb Brogdon OL
65 Braden Sekula DL
66 Patrick Davila DL
68 Tyler Cagle OL
70 Jeremiah Gonzalez OL
73 Isidro Diaz OL
74 Juan Trevino OL
75 Reuben Duron OL
77 Hector Sandoval OL
79 Emilio Sanchez OL
80 Nick Mendoza WR
81 Cuatro Ramirez WR
83 Michael Johnson LB
86 Kevin Wiseman RB
88 Kyle Lamey WR
89 Cody Nuckols RB
90 Michael Gutierrez DB
91 Alvin Roundtree DL
98 Nick Whitley DL
99 Caesar Soto DL
East Central Varsity Football Schedule
Aug. 29 San Marcos Home 7:30
Sept. 5 N.B. Canyon N.B. Canyon 7:30
Sept. 12 Smithson Valley Smithson Valley 7:30
Sept. 19 Reagan Home 7:30
Sept. 26 Del Rio Del Rio 7:30
Oct. 3 Open
Oct. 10 CC Carroll* HC Home 7:30
Oct. 17 Southwest* Home 7:30
Oct. 23 CC Ray* Buc Stadium 7:30
Oct. 31 CC King* SN Home 7:30
Nov. 7 South San* South San 7:30
*District Game, HC-Homecoming, SN-Senior Night
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