The Uvalde Coyotes ended their 2020 football season on Nov. 12.
They began their preparations for the 2021 season last Monday.
“Right now, we are just evaluating players and looking at our possibilities for next season,” said Uvalde High School head coach R.T. Gonzales.
With the loss of 22 seniors from the 2020 varsity squad, the Coyotes will be in rebuilding mode going into next season.
“We will be young to start next season,” said Gonzales. “Most of our starting players this season were seniors. We had a few underclassmen who saw a lot of action, but for the most part we were a senior team.
“Because we will return so few experienced players from this season, it is important that we have a good off-season of work,” said Gonzales.
“The off-season is when you build your football program up physically, but more so mentally and emotionally,” said Gonzales. “The off-season is where players come together as a team. It is where they learn to play for each other.”
Gonzales said that the focus of this off-season is to become tougher.
“Our toughest transition going from 5A to 4A was the different style of football. In Class 5A, most of our opponents ran the spread offense. But most of the teams we played in Class 4A were running teams. They played smash-mouth football,” said Gonzales. “We struggled all season trying to make that transition. We just never got it done.”
The Coyotes went into the 2020 season with high expectations as they returned a lot of players from a 2019 team that narrowly missed making it to the playoffs.
With a large number of returning players and with Uvalde High School moving down in classification from Class 5A Division II football to Class 4A Division I football, most everyone felt good about the 2020 season.
“We were all pretty excited about the possibilities for a great season in 2020,” said Gonzales.
But then the COVID-19 pandemic came along.
Most of spring football workouts and a bit of the summer workouts were cancelled.
“It was tough because we did not have enough time for our seniors and the younger kids on the team to bond together and to prepare themselves for the 2020 season,” said Gonzales. “The spring and the summer is when the things that bound a team together are formed. That is when players learn about playing selfless and put team goals at the forefront.”
Besides having an effect on off-season work, the pandemic caused scheduling problems.
“The change in the starting date for Class 5A and 6A schools caused us to have to scramble to find games,” said Gonzales. “We wound up having to play a lot of road games and had to travel a long way for some of those games.
“And we played a really tough schedule. With the exception of Somerset, every team we played made it to post-season play,” said Gonzales. “Somerset would have made the playoffs, had we not knocked them out.
“By the luck of the playoff bracket, we would up playing the best team in our region in the first round,”said Gonzales. “we played them tough in the first period, but they went on to handle us after that. But our kids got a glimpse of what playing against the state’s best is all about.”
Next season, the Coyotes hope to get back to some sort of normalcy.
“We don’t know what will happen with the coronavirus. It could wipe out some of our off-season again, but we are hoping to get in the work we need for next season,” said Gonzales.
Schedule-wise, there will be six home games.
Instead of the revised schedule, the Coyotes will revert back to the original schedule of opponents.
Besides the four District 14-4A Division I games, including home games against La Vernia and Pleasanton, and road games against Boerne, and Somerset, the Coyotes will face Carrizo Springs, Eagle Pass Winn, Hondo, and Zapata, while they will play road games against Laredo LBJ, and Medina Valley.
“From what we have seen thus far in off-season workouts, our young kids want to please. Many of them have not experienced success at the lower grades,” said Gonzales. “But they seem to be willing to do whatever is necessary to be successful. And have a good off-season of workouts is a good place to start.”