The Tigers, who were moved from Class 3A to 2A in February’s UIL realignment and reclassification, will play their first game under new coach John Mares when they take the field at Tiger Stadium for their 7:30 p.m. season opener against the Victoria St. Joseph Flyers.
“To be honest, this game is not about me,” said Mares, who compiled a 108-48 record in 14 seasons as head coach at St. Joseph. “This is about a bunch of kids playing Friday night football.”
Mares said he doesn’t feel any extra nerves making his debut at his alma mater Goliad.
“When you’ve been at it as long as I have, these kind of things went away a long time ago,” Mares said.
St. Joseph, which competes in the Texas Association of Private Parochial Schools, also has a new head coach this season. Kevin Auten was an assistant coach at Goliad during the 2002-05 seasons and 2010 season.
“They’re going to come at you,” Mares said. “They have a new head coach, too, so they’re learning a new system. They run the veer and they’re going to throw the ball when they have to. We’re looking for it to be a good ball game.”
Top returners for the Tigers are quarterback Dalton Sturm, linebacker-fullback Jeremy Pena, and linemen Austin Speed and Joseph Lujan.
Goliad, which returns 17 starters from last season’s 2-8 team, will be without lineman Denton Ohrt, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during the preseason.
The Tigers scrimmaged against Industrial and Woodsboro and have picked up the new Wing-T offense in rapid fashion, according to Mares.
“We are very pleased with the way the kids have progressed with the new offense and defense,” Mares said.
“Pena is definitely a sparkplug on the offensive side and defensive side for us. We’re expecting good things out of him. He’s been an all-district player the last two years.”
The Tiger offense had Woodsboro guessing during their scrimmage last week. Sturm executed several play fakes that had the Eagles tackling Goliad players who didn’t have the ball.
“He did well last year and is kind of taking off from where he left off,” Mares said of Sturm.
The offensive line will rely heavily on Speed.
“He’ll be our go-to guy,” Mares said. “He’s a big, strong lineman and we’re expecting to get behind him to run the ball and have him turn around and help us on defense, too.”
Aug. 31 - Victoria St. Joseph, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 7 - at Yorktown, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 14 - Edna, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 21 - at Mathis, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28 - *Jourdanton, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 5 - *at Luling, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 - *Marion (homecoming), 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 - *SA Brooks, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 26 - *George West (Senior Parents’ Night), 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 2 - *at SA Cole, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 9 - Open