956Sports.com 2016 Football Preview
By: JOHN CANNON
(LA VILLA) – For the third straight year, the La Villa Cardinals will have a new head football coach.
Alex Guerra was named the new head coach and athletic director for La Villa ISD back in late April and definitely has his work cut out for him.
But Guerra will be the first to tell you that he relishes the work and is doing everything possible to get things in place.
“It has definitely been challenging due to the fact that I was hired so late. But one thing about me is I absolutely love a challenge,” said Guerra. “I was able to hire my two coordinators and a few other coaches as well and together we have been working extremely hard to get things ready for August 1st.”
Besides the fact that Guerra and his staff have been working tirelessly to instill their new system and working on putting things into place, they also have to try and rebuild the program after losing a huge number of players to graduation last year.
Lucky for Guerra, rebuilding a program is something he is used to after doing that very same thing at San Antonio Memorial.
“When I was hired at San Antonio Memorial, there was a ton of work to do and the challenge was a very tough one,” said Guerra. “Memorial only had one winning season since its existence and there weren’t a lot of kids that wanted to come out to play football.”
“But over the years, my coaching staff and I built the program up and we started to get a lot more kids to come out and play. We saw some good things happen and started to become a competitive team. Here at La Villa, it will be a challenge since they graduated a lot of kids and don’t have a ton of returning players back. But one thing that I have already noticed about La Villa is the fact that this program has had a ton of success over the years and these kids want to keep the tradition going. So I know they will put in the work and do whatever it takes to get up to speed.”
Guerra is instilling a completely new style of offense that the Cardinals haven’t seen in a while. La Villa is going from the Slot T which they have run over the past two years to the Spread offense in 2016.
And while the change seems to be a big one, Guerra feels that the transition won’t be as difficult as people think it will be. “The transition will be an easy one,” said Guerra. “We are going to simplify things for our offense and the kids will definitely be able to catch on quickly.”
In order to run a successful spread offense, Guerra knows that it can only be done thanks to a strong offensive line which is something that definitely needs to be addressed.
“On the offensive line, we only have one returning starter back,” said Guerra. “Nathan Diaz is out returning center and the rest of the line will be brand spanking new.”
“We do have a couple of kids who played a little bit on the o-line last year which will be beneficial to us. But besides that, we have our work cut out for us while trying to find the guys that will fill those key roles.”
One position that Guerra and his offensive staff won’t have to worry about is the quarterback position as La Villa brings back an impressive duo of Cristian Perez and Rey Felix.
“We like our situation at quarterback,” said Guerra. “Actually, we are going to be able to interchange Cristian and Rey at the quarterback position and the running back position which is a plus.”
Joe Gonzalez will also be an integral part of the offense and Guerra will definitely find a way to get the ball in his hands.
“Joe is a tremendous athlete and runs very well,” said Guerra. “We are not sure where he will line up just yet.”
“However we will definitely get him the ball as much as possible.”
Like on the offensive side of the ball, the defense will work on building their line as well.
“Just as important as an offensive line is, the defensive line is just as important,” said Guerra. “Everything starts upfront on both sides of the ball and we will need to put some major emphasis on the defensive line.”
“The good thing about it though is that our offensive lineman will more than likely be playing on the defensive line as well. So those kids will be getting a lot of work in and our coaches will be spending a lot of time with them. Also, both of my coordinators have experience working with lineman which will help in the developmental process.”
Guerra is thankful for the superintendent and the school board for giving him the opportunity to coach at La Villa and plans on building a foundation with the Cardinals for years to come.
“I can’t thank the superintendent and the board enough for the opportunity to work with the kids here at La Villa,” said Guerra. “Also, I want to thank them for letting me bring in some new coaches and new coordinators as well.”
“The coaching staff and I have plan in place for building this program and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon. We want to be here as long as they will have us and are definitely ready for the challenge.”
La Villa 2016 Football Schedule
08/26 vs. Riviera-Kaufer, 7:30 p.m.
09/02 vs. Santa Rosa, 7:30 p.m.
09/09 at Santa Gertrudis Academy, 7:30 p.m.
09/16 at Bishop, 7:30 p.m.
09/23 vs. Lyford, 7:30 p.m.
09/30 at Benavides, 7:30 p.m.
10/07 at Ben Bolt, 7:30 p.m.
10/21 vs. Freer, 7:30 p.m.
10/28 at Santa Maria, 7:30 p.m.
11/04 vs. Three Rivers, 7:30 p.m.