Gus Cavazos looks to turn things around at Santa Rosa

SANTA ROSA — He just couldn’t stay away.

That’s why Gus Cavazos couldn’t help but take over at Santa Rosa this past offseason.

Cavazos, who spent seven years as the head coach at PSJA Memorial and four years before that as Rio Hondo’s head man before stepping away from coaching last year to become the director of the Safe Schools Initiative for PSJA ISD, simply couldn’t resist the urge to get back on the sidelines.

“I enjoyed my job at PSJA ISD, but I really missed coaching and coaching here (at Santa Rosa) was a great opportunity,” he said. “I live right down the road from the high school here so that’s nice and to come into a system like this… It’s a nice little town where the parents are supportive and the kids are here at practice where they have a great attitude. It was just too much for me to pass up.”

And, so far, Cavazos is pleased with what he has seen from his squad.

However, Cavazos’ job won’t be easy. He inherited a team that went a disappointing 1-8 last year and failed to make the playoffs.

To make matters more difficult, he will be without star quarterback Leo Lara, who decided to stop playing football in order to concentrate on basketball.

Regardless, Cavazos said he likes his team’s chances this season and is focused on returning the Warriors to the postseason.

Alex Ayala is expected to take over under center this season. Ayala was a running back last year but did play a little quarterback behind Lara.

Meanwhile, senior Nathan Bentley is expected to be Ayala’s main target at the wideout position, but Cavazos said he may also see some time at running back and even play quarterback at times.

“We also have a good, young (offensive) line that will help us out a lot,” Cavazos said. “I also think our defense will be solid. We have a handful of seniors, about seven or eight guys, so I think that will play a big part in our success.

“These kids are hungry. They had an off year last season and so they really want to bounce back. They are excited about the new system and so they are ready to go.”

The Warriors’ preseason schedule continues this week as they host Zapata in their final scrimmage of the year before kicking the season off at Hidalgo on Aug. 26.

Their first home game come against La Villa on Sept. 2 and the annual Battle of FM 506 vs. La Feria is set for Sept. 23 at Santa Rosa.

After they face the Lions, the Warriors have a bye week before beginning district action at San Diego on Oct. 7.