956Sports.com 2016 High School Football Preview
By: JOHN CANNON
(BROWNSVILLE) – No pun intended, but Brownsville St. Joseph quarterback Kai Money should be Money this coming season.
Money paid huge dividends for the Bloodhounds in the 2015 season as the sophomore came up with some ridiculous total via the air (1,666 yards) and the ground (1,602 yards).
And if those numbers seem eye gouging, Money completed the year with an astounding total of 46 touchdowns which made him the 2015 956Sports.com Offensive Most Valuable Player.
Coming into his junior year, many wonder what the “Money Man” will do for an encore in 2016.
“Kai is the type of young man who lives and breathes football,” said St. Joe head football coach Tino Villarreal. “From the first game he ever played in which he threw for five touchdown passes on 51 attempts and helped us defeat Raymondville, I knew Kai was going to be someone special.”
“Kai fits in perfectly to the type of offense we run which is the Oregon offense. Kai is a dual threat quarterback who can destroy you with his legs or with his arm. We are fortunate to have him back with us and are expecting another big year from him.”
And while Money gets a ton of the attention in Bloodhound land, he just happens to have a very impressive supporting cast behind him.
Running backs Anthony Cantu and Mario Garcia return for St. Joe and Villarreal feels both will join Money as integral parts to their offense.
“Both Anthony and Mario have experience in our backfield and bring unique styles of running to the table,” said Villarreal. “Mario possesses a ton of speed while Anthony is the type of back that is our bruiser and a short yardage runner.”
“We are looking for both guys to share the load this year in the backfield for us and I know Mario and Anthony will have high expectations.”
Joining the party this year for St. Joe on offense is former McAllen High running back Gunnar Henderson. Henderson was supposed to be the heir apparent to Josh McGowan for the Bulldogs in 2016.
However, Henderson transferred to St. Joe to play alongside Money who he has known since they were six years old and Villarreal is thrilled to have him join the team.
“Gunnar is a tremendous athlete and will definitely add a serious punch to our offense,” said Villarreal. “Due to the fact that our offense is very multiple, Gunnar will line up at different positions on the field.”
“However, his strength is running the football and I could see him joining Anthony and Mario in the backfield quite a bit.”
While it seems the offense gets the majority of the exposure, St. Joe’s defense definitely deserves to also be involved in the conversation. Especially since it appears they will be gaining a huge piece of the puzzle on the defensive line.
According to Villarreal, former McAllen Memorial defensive lineman Ricardo Miner has taken the entrance exam at Brownsville St. Joseph Academy and passed it which means he can and may enroll there in the fall.
“Ricardo is looking to enroll at St. Joe so he can be with his family in Brownsville,” said Villarreal. “He has taken the entrance exam and passed it.”
“If he does decide to enroll here, we are gaining a huge piece to the puzzle on the d-line.”
Miner brings some impressive numbers to the Bloodhounds defense as he racked up 127 tackles and seven sacks last year with the Mustangs.
Villarreal could very well inherit a Second Team All-State selection and is excited if Miner should happen to enroll at St. Joe.
“This would be a huge addition to our defensive line,” said Villarreal. “Ricardo possesses some impressive strength and size and can get to the ball.”
“Lining him up with Harrison Justis and Javier Gonzalez will make us very dangerous upfront.”
Besides the defensive line, another strong point on that side of the ball is in the backfield as the Bloodhounds will have quite a few options to work with.
“We had quite a few takeaways last year on defense and a lot of the reason was due to our strength in the backfield,” said Villarreal. “Lucky for us, we are bringing a good amount of our defensive backfield back and they will be led by Emilio De La Garza.”
All in all, St. Joe has 33 returning players coming back and looks to feed off of their 8-3 season.
The Bloodhounds went 4-1 in district play and were bi-district finalists as well.
And while the Bloodhounds were happy with having a successful season and made it to the playoffs, their goal is to try and win a district title.
But Villarreal knows that in order for his team to do that, his Bloodhounds must get past Central Catholic who also brings back a wealth of talent.
“Central Catholic is a very tough team and last year’s game was a heartbreaker for us,” said Villarreal. “We were up by 11 with a little over a minute and a half to play and it appeared the game was ours.”
“However, we had some bad breaks and ended up losing that game. As a result, they won the title and our kids have circled that game for this year. Our kids want revenge and are determined to bring that title home. It should be another great game and hopefully things will work out in our favor.”
Brownsville St. Joseph 2016 Football Schedule
08/26 at Grulla, 7:30 p.m.
09/02 at Lyford, 7:30 p.m.
09/09 vs. Rio Hondo, 7:30 p.m.
09/16 vs. Raymondville, 7:30 p.m.
09/23 at Port Isabel, 7:30 p.m.
09/30 vs. Hidalgo, 7:30 p.m.
10/14 vs. MMA, 7:30 p.m.
10/21 at San Antonio Central Catholic, 7:00 p.m.
10/29 at San Antonio St. Anthony, 2:00 p.m.
11/07 vs. San Antonio Antonian, 7:00 p.m.