’Hounds reload, look to continue playoff success

SAN BENITO — During the past two seasons, San Benito has been one of the last football teams standing in the Rio Grande Valley.

In fact, the Greyhounds have reached the third round of the playoffs for two straight seasons, and there is plenty of reason to believe the ’Hounds can keep that momentum going.

While San Benito lost a few key names — including quarterback Jacob Cavazos, linebackers AJ Garcia and Albert Mercado, and defensive back Nick Castaneda — the ’Hounds simply reloaded for 2019.

The Greyhounds will hand the keys of the offense to senior quarterback Smiley Silva, who is similar to Cavazos in style. Silva will be like Cavazos, who also entered his senior year as a first-year starter. Silva will have a firm grasp of the offense under second-year offensive coordinator Steve Marroquin.

“We are getting there, to where we want to be,” San Benito coach Dan Gomez said. “The younger kids don’t have a choice, you either sink or swim in our program, and we push the kids hard and they have a good understanding on what the expectations are.”

One key piece returning is junior running back Kyle Castilleja, who had a breakout season in 2018. Castilleja finished second on the team in rushing with 852 yards on 131 carries, and also finished second with 12 rushing touchdowns.

“The offense is doing well, and, like I said, we put out those expectations and we are going to coach out the details, we won’t take anything for granted,” Gomez said. “We will harp on being perfect and getting to where we want to be. Everyone pushes each other to be better, and the kids had a strong offseason.”

The Greyhounds went 4-1 last season in district play, with their only loss coming against Hanna. The non-district portion of the schedule will be just as tough as last season, with four of the five games being played on the road.

“We are just going to take it one day at a time with ourselves,” Gomez said. “If you look forward and your eyes are not focused on the now, you lose sight and will have some problems and will miss some things that will hurt you in the future. So for us, today’s goal was to have the best practice we could have, and we will worry about tomorrow when it comes.”

San Benito will play host to Corpus Christi Calallen to open the regular season and then go on a four-game road trip that will include trips to Laredo United and Midland Lee.