The Veterans Memorial Eagles enter the 2022 season as the projected winner of District 14 5A-Division I, according to Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine.
Last season the Eagles flew just shy of the district title, falling to Flour Bluff twice. Although the Hornets are out of the picture this year, the Eagles are focused on the task at hand.
"Eli (Elijah) Durrette is coming back. He was our starter (quarterback) last year," said Ben Bitner, Veterans Memorial second-year football head coach. "He was on the varsity as a sophomore and played a bunch behind Carter Senterfitt. He's our starter going into the year, but kind of like everything last year on the offensive line, we ended up starting 14 kids."
Veterans Memorial brings back three starters on offense, but the Eagles do not need to rebuild. They reload.
"We lost some key receivers like Cameron De La Pena, but these young guys have been working hard all off-season and we have about the same line from last season returning," said Alejandro Guerrero, Veterans Memorial senior slot receiver.
Veterans Memorial returns a lot of experienced players on the defensive side of the ball, including four starters on the defensive line.
"Mostly give all of the credit to coach V (James Villarreal) our coach," said Josiah Lewis, Veterans Memorial senior 6-foot-2 defensive lineman. "We come out here and we work. We do pass rush. We just work constantly and we all come together as a D-line away from practice."
"Five or six guys on the D-line and a few linebackers have played a bunch of football," said Bitner. "Feel like that's going to be the strength of our team."
The Eagles are learning from their mistakes last season, and are ready to soar.
"Definitely don't sleep on us because you know we're going to shock you in every way possible," Guerrero said.
"Our expectation here is to win and go hard and that's exactly what we're going to do," said Lewis.
Veterans Memorial kicks off their season against Canyon in New Braunfels on Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m.
The Eagles will have two Thursday games aired live on Game Night South Texas this fall, including their rivalry game against Miller.
The @vmhs_football Eagles' preview airs tonight, Wednesday, on @KRIS6sports. Veterans Memorial athletes are very excited to play @MillerBucNation again in District. @josiahlewis22 @CCISD @VMAthletics pic.twitter.com/vGgVTqlq3r
— Larissa Liska (@LarissaLiska) August 11, 2022