956Sports.com 2016 Football Preview
By: JOHN CANNON
(SANTA MARIA) – Ever since their inception in 2004, the Santa Maria Cougars football team has been looking for three things; returning for the playoffs since 2013, trying to put together a winning season for the second time in school history, and a consistent head football coach and athletic director that can help them truly rebuild the program.
Well, the Cougars may have very well found the right man for the job.
Former Santa Rosa head football coach and athletic director Arturo Garcia accepted the same two positions at Santa Maria ISD late in the school year and brings a wealth of experience to the table as he has been involved in the business for 25 years.
Prior to Santa Rosa, Garcia had coaching stints as an assistant coach at PSJA High (DC), Alice (DL), West Oso (OC) and Progreso (DC). Also, Garcia served as head coach at San Diego High School.
Due to his impressive resume, Garcia could very well be the perfect man to turn the Cougars around. Garcia went into Santa Rosa looking to turn the program around and did it in his first year by going 8-3 overall and a perfect 6-0 in district play. Garcia led the Warriors to the district title in his inaugural year and the postseason as well.
For his accomplishments, Garcia was named the RGVSports.com All-Valley Coach of the Year in 2013.
Garcia made the playoffs for two out of the three seasons while at Santa Rosa and compiled a 14-17 overall record as well.
Garcia will have his work cut out for him as the Cougars went 1-7 in 2015 and 0-5 in district play.
However, Santa Maria does bring back a few solid weapons on both sides of the ball and a couple of All-District selections as well.
Offensively, the Cougars are led by Second Team All-District running back Alex Perez who looks to lead the way. Perez will have some solid offensive linemen to run behind as Nick Molina and Brian Garcia return to the squad, as well as tight end Dagoberto Morales who should be able to clear the path.
Defensive back Frankie Gonzalez returns on that side of the ball as the Second Team All-District selection will provide leadership for the youngsters who are up and coming.
Coming into the season, most experts predict Santa Maria to finish last in District 16-2A Division I against the likes of Freer, Ben Bolt, Three Rivers and La Villa.
But if there’s anyone that can prove the doubters due to his proven track record, it would be Garcia.
Santa Maria 2016 Football Schedule:
08/26 at Marine Military Academy, 7:30 p.m.
09/02 vs. Monte Alto, 7:30 p.m.
09/09 at John Paul II, 7:30 p.m.
09/16 vs. Benavides, 7:30 p.m.
09/23 at Pharr Oratory, 7:30 p.m.
10/14 vs. Three Rivers, 7:30 p.m.
10/21 at Ben Bolt, 7:30 p.m.
10/28 vs. La Villa, 7:30 p.m.
11/04 at Freer, 7:30 p.m.