• September 22, 2019

COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF 2019: Balmorhea Bears - Odessa American: Football

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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF 2019: Balmorhea Bears

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Posted: Friday, August 9, 2019 10:00 pm

BALMORHEA The Balmorhea Bears enter the 2019 season with a roster filled with experienced players.

The Bears enter the new football season with four starters on offense and five on defense and 17 lettermen from last year’s team that went 10-3 overall and won a district title.

“I like our depth and experience,” Balmorhea head coach Vance Jones said. “People didn’t think we’d win district last year but we ended up winning district and going to the quarterfinals. I feel like our kids are ready to take the next step”

Among the players coming back will include a few linemen and at quarterback.

“We have on offense, our starting center Gary Abraham and our starting guard Marco Ramos,” Jones said. “We have our starting quarterback Kade Weatherman coming back.

“We have a running back coming back, Aaron Mendoza, and then Lane Carasco ,who alternated with Aaron at running back and will be moving to fullback this year. All the players coming back are seasoned. We have a good crew coming back on offense. On defense, we have most of the same guys coming back. We have a good crew coming back on both sides of the ball.

“We have a lot of players that can make an impact. All of these guys are huge to us.”

The Bears returned to the practice field this week with everyone’s excited about the upcoming season.

“The kids came in with a really good attitude, they’re excited and eager to get to play,” Jones said. “They’re fired up and ready to go.”

The players have been eager to return to the field as well.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Carrasco said. “We have the potential to be very good this year. We have a lot of big shoes to fill as well. It’s going to be pretty exciting. Our offseason was pretty good.

“We came out and practiced a lot on agility and conditioning and all of that. We had a lot of people come out but we’ll see how it is this year.”

Like with every team, Balmorhea has its share of weak spots with Jones concerned about his team’s line play and hitting.

“We have to get better in a lot of ways,” Jones said. “Our blocking has to get better and we have to do a better job of tackling.”

Playing in a four-team district that includes Fort Davis, Marfa and Rankin, Jones is fully aware of how tricky district play can get.

“District-wise, we’re in a tough one,” Jones said. “Rankin is right there and they’ve been at our heels every year. Fort Davis is going to be better and Marfa will be better as well. It’ll be a tough battle to win district.”

While the Bears are coming off a season that saw them go to the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs, the players have made it a priority to try and go farther this year.

The playoff run last year ended with a 48-14 loss to Garden City.

“We felt pretty good about last season but we took last year’s playoff loss pretty hard especially since we thought that the seniors last year deserved a ring and we were trying to get it for them,” Carrasco said. “But this year, we’re going to try and have more success.”

With the experience coming back on this year’s team, the players feel like they can go above and beyond in the state playoffs.

“Our biggest goal is to get to Dallas and win state but we’re trying to work on team chemistry and exceeding where we can,” Carrasco said.

>> Follow Michael Bauer on Twitter at @OAMichaelba

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