The United Longhorns started slow in 2011 but by the end of the year had everything clicking, until running into San Antonio Madison in the 3rd round of the playoffs. This year coach David Sanchez hopes some aggressive scheduling will help them become the first Laredo team to burst through that 3rd round barrier.
"It would mean a great deal for everyone that has been working really hard to get that district title back." (Alec Salas, United QB)
It's about more then just the district championship though and to help prepare his team head coach David Sanchez took advantage of an increased number of non district games to schedule four contests with teams from San Antonio, three of which made the playoffs in 2011.
"We wanted to teach our men that the game is played a little faster and i feel when it comes to the playoffs we won't be intimidated or scared of their speed and size." (David Sanchez, United Coach)
Salas will be a huge key to the Longhorns success. The senior is coming off a prolific season that saw him throw for over 3,600 yards and 44 touchdowns. He didn't just sling the ball, but can get out and run as well tacking on another 400 yards and nine touchdowns rushing to his totals from 2011. Sanchez thinks highly of his QB and while his numbers may dip against better competition, his level of play should be even higher.
"He got a little bit bigger and stronger and is a smart kid. We are expecting big things from him."
Luckily for him and the Longhorn faithful the orange and white have many of their top skill players back on offense to go with Salas.
"It's going to help us out tremendously. We have a lot of receivers that are good after the catch." (Salas)
"Our whole receiving core is one of the best we've ever had at united. It starts with Terry Delhite, and Eric Esparza and Zachary Williams." (Sanchez)
United will not be able to reach their goals on offense alone though, at some point the defense will have to step up and much of that rests on the Martinez brothers.
"We have a good line-backing crew coming back with AC Martinez and his brother Rick Martinez that will play both ways and should be a big asset on the defensive side."
A.C. is coming off a season where he tallied 123 tackles, but he is not satisfied with that number.
"Make as many plays as I can and hopefully make more tackles then I did last year. And I know I can count on everyone else on the same field as I am." (A.C. Martinez, United LB)
Offense or defense it doesn't matter, the longhorns all have the same goals in mind.
"Our goal is to get that district title back and get past the 3rd round."
"It would mean a lot for the school and the city and a lot to my parents and family that comes to game." (Martinez)
United will head to the Valley this Friday for scrimmages with Sharyland and Harlingen before opening their regular season on the 31st in San Antonio against Southwest High.