Despite losing an incredible 2014 graduating class, the Lancers still have talent returning to help aid in their quest to repeat in 2014. Two returners in particular that played a major role last season and will be relied upon heavily as seniors are Taylor Powell and Justin Holt. Both learned a lot and look to apply what they learned to a new batch of players coming up the ranks for the team.
“We are helping the young guys out and showing the ropes,” explained Powell. “Teaching them how to win here at Salpointe.”
“We had really good chemistry,” stated Holt of his team last year. “That was probably the biggest thing that got us through everything. The year before we had the talent, but didn’t quite have the chemistry that we had last year.”
It’s hard to pinpoint one thing that made them so good last year but if you had to choose one, it was their defense. They allowed just 101 points on the year including the playoffs and had an incredible scoring differential of 596.
Both Powell and Holt spend much of their time on the defensive side of the ball though Powell has expanded his role into the offense as one of the team’s running backs. With those two leading the way, Salpointe’s defense doesn’t plan to skip a beat.
“This defense is hard nosed,” Holt stated. “We hit. We don’t stop hitting. We get after it out there on the field. We don’t like to get scored on and I don’t think we will.”
While that defense looks to be stout yet again, the Lancers offensively could have one of the best rushing attacks in the state. In week one against Buena, they rushed for a combined 544 yards and six touchdowns. New quarterback stepping in for Andy Cota, Sam Muniz, rushed for 222 on 15 carries in his first game as the starter. Premiere backs Ben West and Zach Dorame also gained 222 yards on 20 carries tallying three combined touchdowns and linebacker turned part-time running back Taylor Powell added three more touchdowns.
Powell notes that there is still things that need to be done to have their team ready to be able to compete for another state title. And it starts from within.
“Just intensifying our practices,” Powell mentioned. “Just doing what our coaches tell us to do. Running our routes right and playing assignment alinement.”
Salpointe waited a long time to hoist that state championship trophy and now that they finally have, they know what it takes to do so again. But this with so many new starters on both sides of the ball, it will take a completely different buy-in and commitment led by the few returning starters like Powell and Holt, to bring them back to the promised land.