The Gregory-Portland Wildcats enter the 2022 season with confidence after a full year with football head coach Brent Davis.
"Just the culture of mental toughness and physical toughness," said Davis. "That's what we tried to establish when we first got here."
Now G-P is hoping to use that fuel to advance farther than last season as they drop down to District 15 5A-DII.
"In like 3-4 years ago we were really soft. Like we didn't want anything to do with any other team and Coach Davis came in and just turned everything around," said Gregory-Portland's senior quarterback, Brandon Redden.
The Gregory-Portland Wildcats have reignited their winning ways, advancing to the third round of playoffs last season in UIL 5A for the first time since 2015.
Wildcat toughness paves the way with seven returners on offense and six on defense.
"Defense brings a lot of aggression and a lot of enthusiasm. We have Brodie (Mitchell) and Gabriel Juarez coming back returning for us," said Khalid Gholsby, Gregory-Portland senior defensive end. "They're really great linebackers. They bring that power that we need and it's going to be great."
Last year's District 15 5A-DI MVP, running back Dalvin Batts, will continue to distract many defenses.
"Dalvin had almost 1,900 yards (rushing) last year and he's gotten even better," said Davis. "The attitude is so much better on the whole football team."
That positive leadership starts with senior lefty quarterback Redden who likes the depth at receiver.
"We got Colton (Harrison), Ross (DuBose), and Nick (Hartley)," said Davis. "They're all coming back. They're all returners. They're all 500-plus receiving yards."
The Wildcats from last season all remember falling short to Flour Bluff in the playoffs.
Now the Wildcats are hungry for redemption.
"Stay with us," said Gholsby. "We're coming back to the Alamo Dome this year."
G-P kicks off their season with a rivalry game at Calallen in the Battle of the Wildcats on Thursday, Aug. 25 at 7 p.m.
This is KRIS 6's Game Night South Texas for week one.