Rams using spring football to bring players up to speed
To say Del Rio Rams head football coach Rod Taylor is excited about the upcoming season might be an understatement.
Entering his third season as the head coach, Taylor knows that he and his team have a lot to live up to in the 2021 season. The Rams are coming off a season in which they remained in the hunt for a district championship until the final week of the season. And while they got knocked out of the playoffs in the first round, just making it back to the postseason was an accomplishment that Taylor and his coaches feel they can build off of going forward.
In April the team began its spring football practices. This time is more crucial this year than in years past due to the majority of sub-varsity players not having taken a meaningful snap since the fall of 2019 after COVID wiped out their season in 2020.
Taylor is looking to build a new foundation for his team, but that means getting the players to become a family not just on the field, but off it as well.
After one recent practice, Taylor was walking off the field at Walter Levermann Ram Stadium when he saw his son, Zachary, speaking to another player. Taylor asked his son how his arm was feeling, and after learning it was fine he turned his attention to the other young man, a recent arrival to the football program.
The young man was soft-spoken but friendly. In short order, other members of the team began speaking to him and asking for his contact information to ensure he was kept in the loop in regards to activities going on after school. Taylor said seeing that was what he meant by “building a family.”
“That builds unity. They want to include him and make him feel like he belongs here and that’s what we want,” Taylor said.
Taylor won’t be empty-handed as he builds his new team. All-district linemen Joey Huizar and Diego Garcia anchor the offensive line and all-district honorable mentions Jovahn West, Abel Ortiz and Arnulfo Ramirez should help shore up the offense and special teams. Add to that group 2020 contributors like running back Luis Pablo Galaviz and Zachary Taylor, who took some snaps in the playoffs.
On defense, Jesus De Luna leads the unit. He’s the sole first team all-district returner for the defensive side of the ball, but he will be joined by second teamer Diego Piña and experienced returners Nathan Mayes, Fabian Venegas and Lonnie Green.
For now the team is working towards this year’s Spring Game, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, May 28, at Walter Levermann Ram Stadium.