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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF 2019: Andrews Mustangs - Odessa American: Football

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Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2019 11:45 pm

ANDREWS Coming back with a loaded roster, the Andrews Mustangs look to capitalize on their returning players as they enter the 2019 season.

“The biggest thing strength is going to be our starters,” Andrews head coach Ralph Mason said. “We have a lot of returning players and kids who were on the field last year.”

The Mustangs return 14 total starters from last year with six on offense and eight on defense.

Despite the number of returning players, Mason is anticipating development to be one of the key issues for the Mustangs.

“Of course, we have to find depth and things at other positions and we have to develop some of those kids,” Mason said.

Andrews is coming off an 8-4 overall record from last year which included a 2-1 showing in District 2-4A Division II and a second place finish in the standings behind Seminole.

Mason has been happy with what he’s seen from his players at practice so far.

“It’s like what it is every other year,” Mason said. “The kids come in and have been wanting this day to come ever since the end of last season. The goal now is to maintain that excitement throughout the season.

“Really, after the start of the practice, we’ve been doing pretty well so the main thing is that we have to maintain all of that, day in and day out and keep that excitement going.”

While the Mustangs already have a place in the state playoffs secured, being in a four team district, Andrews knows it has a competitive district ahead of it.

“Us and Seminole are big rivals and that’s always going to be a tough game no matter what,” Mason said. “Us and Big Spring is also a big one. They’ve gone through some big changes in the last couple of years so it’s going to be interesting to see how that develops. Lake View has a good team too so I anticipate that they’ll be better than they have been recently and they’ll be a tough opponent.”

Lake View and Big Spring are both coming off third and fourth place finishes, respectively in the district standings last year.

One of the main players coming back for the Mustangs includes senior quarterback Brett Leach.

The Mustangs will also bring back junior wide receiver Markeese Lawrence and junior outside linebacker Esau Flores.

“Brett leach starts everything for us on offense,” Mason said. “He’s played a lot. He played all 12 games for us last year. I think that helps him coming into this year. He’s going to be so much better. He’s a big leader for us.

“Easu Flores is another player, one on the defensive side, who will be a big leader. These two players bring a lot of leadership and we have kids that I’ve seen a lot over the summer who have done well. They were in the weight room during the summer and that says a lot about them and it will translate into good leadership on the field.”

Mason is hopeful that his returning players can meet the expectations set for them.

“We have some kid who have high expectations and they haven’t disappointed us,” Mason said. “We have players like Brett Leach and Jesus Lopez. We’ve got a lot of kids returning and Jacob Lawson is another one returning. I probably left someone out but these players are motivated and they have really impressed me. We’re looking pretty good.”

The Mustangs are coming off a run to the area round of the playoffs last year, beating San Elizario 57-6 in bi-district before losing to Decatur 41-28 in the next round.

Leach is hopeful that he and his teammates can go further.

“We’re very excited,” Leach said. “We have a lot of returning players that have been a big part of our offense and defense. The main goal is to go further than we did in the playoffs. We’ve been working pretty hard this offseason to try and meet those goals.”

The Mustangs will begin their season at Lubbock-Cooper on Aug. 30. They will start district play at home against Big Spring on Oct. 25.

>>Follow Michael Bauer on Twitter at @OAMichaelba

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