LYFORD — After Lyford finished last season at 8-4 (5-0 District 16-3A DI area finalists), expectations are high in Bulldog Country. Something second-year head coach Israel Gonzalez wouldn’t want any other way.
“We hold ourselves to a high standard no matter what season it is or what year it is,” said Gonzalez. “One of the things around here is that we say we are going to do things the easy way, which for us is the hard way. We just come out here every day and work hard.
“Coming close to the end of camp, these kids have been able to come in and give us effort and you can’t coach effort, that’s one of the things that we can’t do. We can put them in the right spots, but they have to bring the energy and this group has done that so far.”
This season Lyford has some pretty big positions to fill on offense. With last year’s star quarterback and top running backs now graduated, the team knows the type of talent they must replace.
“These guys know they have some pretty big shoes to fill with the graduation of quarterback Chase Hinojosa (playing at the colligate level) and running backs Frank Moreno and Javier Gonzalez,” said Coach Gonzalez. “Those are some big time shoes to fill, but this group is aware of the expectations and they have put the effort in this offseason. That’s where it started and we’ve kept the intensity at a level high.”
Defense will be the Bulldogs’ strong side entering the season. With duel-threat players like Joaquin Gonzales, who hauled in 42 catches for 464 yards and six touchdowns in 2017 while also terrorizing opposing offenses with five interceptions.
“We’ve got some defensive starters coming back like Alfonso Garcia at linebacker, Aiden Silva is another big name at defensive end and our secondary is completely coming back,” Gonzalez said. “We are looking for our defense to be strong early and let our young offense catch up.”
Garcia and Silva will anchor the Bulldogs’ defense. Last season, Garcia finished with 75 tackles and seven sacks, while Silva added 59 tackles and 10 sacks from the defensive line position.
The Dogs open up the regular season on Aug. 31 at home against former district foe Santa Rosa, which is now in 16-3A DII.