Gilroy’s workouts intensify as season nears

Coach Jubenal Rodriguez shows how he wants a play run during drill on Monday.

Gilroy is coming off of one of its best seasons in years and the Mustangs are hoping to keep that going as they enter the home stretch of the practice before the Aug. 25 kickoff.
Coach Jubenal Rodriguez said the summer workouts have been great and he sees the boys buying into the program just as hard as they did last year that eventually led the Mustangs to a CCS semifinals berth.
“We had some good lifting, some competitions against other schools in 7-on-7 in camps,” Rodriguez said. “I’m happy that’s over and we put the pads on. I just wish we had some sort of competition against another team this weekend.”
Gilroy will see a lot of consistency from last year to this one, but there are some holes to be filled. And this past summer, Rodriguez said he saw plenty of guys stepping up to take over those roles.
“Summer went real well,” Rodriguez said. “We had a lot of guys step up where we had vacancies in positions. I’m real excited about where the team is at and to have them coming back.”
A year ago, the Mustangs emerged from a 3-7 season to go 8-4 overall, 5-1 in Pacific Division play—in a game decided in the last play—and eventually winning a first round CCS playoff game.
Coming back from that season, Gilroy will have plenty of seasoned veterans both in the skills positions and up front on the line.
“In 2016, they had no choice but to trust me and we ended up having a good season,” Rodriguez said. “Now they took things whole new level in terms of what they brought each day.”
Rodriguez said this summer he’s been most impressed with the size of the linemen coming out, joking that he is no longer the biggest guy in the huddle and that he finally has competition in the weight room.
“It’s nice to get in the huddle looking up to players and not looking down at offense guards,” Rodriguez said.
The line will be led by returning tackle Gabe Santos, who tips the scales at 250 pounds and measuring 6 feet, 1 inch.
Joining him are fellow juniors Jordan Amos and Heber Saucedo who add some solid size to the front line for Gilroy.
“The O-line has been working very hard in the off season. They started lifting the first day they were able to lift. They can’t wait to compete,” Rodriguez said.
The goal in these final weeks before kicking off against Overfelt in San Jose on Aug. 25 is to continue to fine tune the game plan and make sure everyone is ready to go.
Some of that is just getting out there and remembering what got the team to where it is now.
Over the summer, Gilroy has received some attention from other media outlets that cover the CCS, including naming Jon Jon Castro one of the quarterbacks to watch in 2017.
But Rodriguez said the goal is to make sure none of that goes to their heads.
“We haven’t changed anything I since took over program,” Rodriguez said. “All that  success does is changes how teams play us now. We’re not going to surprise people anymore.  Everyone knows we’re a competitive squad. Every week we know we’ll get every team’s best effort.”
Even with the extra hype, Castro will return for his third season on the varsity team, joined by running back Joseph Barnes who took the league by storm a year ago.
The team also added Christian Rodriguez who has stepped up since last year along with Richard Perez and Max Pierce.

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