The United South football program surprised many people last year by winning four games and being extremely competitive even in the games they dropped. Now with a full year under the direction of head coach Sergio Salinas, the Panthers want to take that next step.
The Panthers bring back a number of players from a team that performed above most peoples expectations including eight starters on defense as well as their starting quarterback.
"It's always a plus having guys that have played already that are coming back from your system because they know what to do and we can make more tweaks on it plus those guys teach the younger guys how to do things also." (Sergio Salinas, South Head Coach)
"We are coming back stronger and faster. We are going to go harder on every single play." (Rafel Rivas, South Linebacker)
Don't look for South to change much scheme wise on either side of the ball as they look to build a program from the middle schools on up.
"We don't want to change things in our kids, we want to develop them from the middle school on up, so when they get to the high school level they have a good idea of what they are doing. We try not to change things but get better at what we do"
For the Panthers, taking that next step means no longer just being competitive with teams like United, Alexander and Del Rio but getting wins against those teams. To do that they know one area that haunted them in 2012 will need to be cleaned up.
"We're going to have to cut down on our turnovers and try to score on every drive. We can't have as many turnovers as we did last year. We had too many." (Isaac Cabello, South Quarterback)
As they begin the 2013 season they have one goal on their mind, prove all those doubters wrong and make the postseason.
"It would mean a lot and we'd love to prove everyone wrong."
"A lot of people doubt us and making the playoffs would put them on the ground and put us on top for once."
United South hasn't even played a game and already they will be without one of their main targets on offense as Eric Oliva is out with a broken collarbone. Coach Salinas says he suffered in a non contact drill where he went for a ball and landed awkwardly on his shoulder. Oliva had 202 yards and a touchdown last year but was expected to do big things in his senior year.