ROBSTOWN, Texas — Friday was an exciting day for many Texas high school football players, getting one step closer to the start of the 2023 season. Robstown is on a mission this year, and they are eager to test their physicality.
"Tired of losing. I'm tired of losing. This is my senior year. I want to go out with a bang," Randy Velasquez, Robstown senior linebacker said. ""As you know we're not the tallest, we're not the fastest, but we bring that dog mentality."
Robstown returns 10 players on both sides of the ball. The Cotton Pickers remember how last season ended, just shy of a playoff spot in UIL 4A-DII. Now on the first day of pads, there's a different mentality.
"It's always great, and these kids we've already had to pull the reigns back on them already to kind of stop them from being physical, so we haven't really had to question that part of their game," Robstown football Head Coach Gage Perry said. "To see the pads out there, to see the guys kind of start to put the full picture together and see it start to click in their head was definitely exciting."
Robstown brings back starting quarterbacks from the past two seasons, Derek Silva and Gilbert Garza, who battled an injury last year.
"They're tough. They're smart with the ball. They both have that deep ball," Robstown senior wide receiver Joe Luna said. "It's good to have both.
The Cotton Pickers are experienced receivers, have size on the line and balance that with a good backfield.
"Our running back corps is nice. We got Edward Diaz back," Velasquez said. "We also got Isaiah Guttierez a sophomore, he's coming back. Pretty tough running backs."
The focus for Robstown is discipline and dedication with playoffs near the endzone.
"The motto this year is raise the bar, and that's really what we're trying to do. Last year it was obsessed. It was they had to be serious where you buy into it," Perry said. "This year we are keeping the obsession, but now we have to raise the bar and raise those expectations in all that we do."
The Cotton Pickers kick off their season at home against H.M. King on Thursday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m.