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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF 2019: Buena Vista Longhorns - Odessa American: Sports

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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF 2019: Buena Vista Longhorns

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Posted: Wednesday, August 7, 2019 3:52 pm

IMPERIAL Being new to the program last year had its share of challenges for Buena Vista’s Dale Pustejovsky.

But now that he’s finally crossed that hurdle, he doesn’t feel like a stranger to his players anymore as he and his players enter the 2019 football season.

“The biggest thing I learned is just about these kids in general,” Pustejovsky said. “Last year, I fell into a situation where I was new and there was no relationship.

“Now that I’ve been here for a year, these kids know me and they understand that I’m going to be mean to them sometimes as far as making them behave and hold them accountable. But at the same time, they come to me when there’s a problem, whether it’s with school or whatever and I’ll do what I can to help them out.”

With that, the coaching staff and players at Buena Vista enter this season with high expectations.

 “My guys are obviously very excited,” Pustejovsky said. “They’re energetic. They’re out here and they know it’s going to be hot but they’re still excited to be here and to play.”

The Longhorns are coming off a 4-6 overall showing from last year that saw them just miss out on the Class 1A state playoffs.

But as far as where the team’s strengths and weaknesses lie, it’s a question that  Pustejovsky is still trying to answer.

“Right now, it’s a little hard to tell what our strengths and weaknesses are because it’s still early in the season right now.”

However, if there is a weak spot with the team, it might be inexperience.

“Right now, our main weakness might be our youth because we have a lot of young players on this team,” Pustejovsky said. “As far as our strengths, right now, our enthusiasm has been strength because our players are really excited to be out here and get after it.”

The Longhorns aren’t without their share of players who saw action last year, including senior lineman Dylan Rodriguez.

“He was a starter for us last year and was a darn good kid,” Pustejovsky said. “He can play both ways. Alex Cortez is a junior and got a little bit banged up last year so he didn’t get to play for us as much as we wanted him to. But he still comes in and is a leader for us.

“As far as the other ones go, there are a bunch of young players out there and they had a lot of learning experience last year. Last year’s group went through a learning experience but now they know what to expect. Another thing too is they know what we’re talking about when we say certain things.”

The schedule will see Buena Vista begin against West Texas Homeschool on Aug. 30 before facing Sterling City and then Rankin, followed by Garden City.

“Our schedule is pretty tough,” Pustejovsky said. “We go through a gauntlet with some good teams early on and my thing about that is that we’re not going to shy away from that. We’re going to go out there and do the best that we can. We have a tough district and it’s always competitive but we can compete with everyone in it.”

The players have hopes that a playoff spot can be achieved.

“We’re really excited,” Cortez said. “We’re ready to put in the work. We may be young but we’re going to try our hardest and work hard in the weight room and get work done.

“We definitely want to win some games. Hopefully, if we put the work in, we’ll make it to the playoffs.”

The Longhorns, like most other schools in the state, began practice Monday

“It feels great,” Cortez said of getting back on the practice field. “I love coming in and working out. It’s just a great feeling, overall.”

Pustejovsky echoed his player’s enthusiasm.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s always exciting to get started and be out there on the field and be with these kids in general. It’s just great.”

>> Follow Michael Bauer on Twitter at @OAMichaelBa

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