With just two returning starters on offense, Sharyland High coach Ron Adame could choose to change up his spread offense and try to do something a little less complex.
That’s not how Adame works. That’s also not how he and his staff have developed the Sharyland football program, from varsity to junior high to middle school.
“When these kids get to the varsity level, they’ve been running our scheme, being part of our system since seventh grade,” he said. “Sure, sometimes we may not be as big as another year, a year where we may have bigger kids and want to pound the ball a little more, but we’re not going to re-invent the wheel.”
The plan is to stay in the spread offense. That means junior Benji Valdivia, who Adame said has the inside track on the position following the graduation of three-year starter Edgar Longoria, will get tested immediately. He’s already faced pressure from the blitz-happy Rattlers defense.
“New guys will be filling in nine positions and it takes some time to adjust to the speed of the game,” said Adame, who has been the coach for eight years and compiled a 66-19 record. “But, of course, as always the defense will be ahead of the offense at this time and defensively we have a good nucleus coming back.”
Among those defensively returning that the Rattles will lean on include senior linebacker Santino Pascual, who led the team in tackles last year, and senior defensive back Jonathon Alanis who was named to the all-district first team last year.
Adame said that there’s no need to panic since the program is the same at all levels. Changes are minimal.
“We’ve been working our scheme at junior high. So these kids defensively, who are returning, they understand our scheme completely,” Adame said. “Every year, of course, might be a little different because of personnel.
“We track these kids all year. The ones who are going to be seniors, we’ve seen them grow and develop since seventh grade.”
The Rattlers’ two returning starters are running back Andres Bonilla and center Robert Farias.
Sharyland High won the district with a 6-0 mark, one game ahead of Sharyland Pioneer at 5-1 and two ahead of Mercedes (4-2). Longoria was second in district with 1,400 yards passing and 15 touchdowns. He was also second in rushing yards with 709 and a district-leading 13 touchdowns.
Despite all the new faces in varsity, Adame said he’s been happy with what he’s seeing.
“We are two days from wrapping up and I like what I see on both sides of the ball,” he said. “Now we’re on to our next phase and two things will help. Seven-on-seven will help with timing in our passing game and a good, solid strength and conditioning for our summer.
“Summer can make or break a player or a team. I’ve seen them come back and they’ve grown and I’ve seen them come back and they’ve lost a step. That can determine how you start a season.”