WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Our training camp road trip begins its look at District 5-3A Division II with the City View Mustangs. They finished 5th in the district a year ago, and are looking to climb the ladder, but they'll have a young team.
City View returns just 3 starters on offense, and will have to rely on multiple freshmen on Friday nights. "Just going to be a little bit of a youth movement here. You know, says City View Head coach Rudy Hawkins. "Freshmen, like four freshmen up on varsity. So we're going to be young, but very skilled kids."
"A whole new line. We have a bunch of young kids, young quarterback," says senior wide receiver and defensive back Caleb Henry. "We only had one returning lineman this year."
The Mustangs are an undersized unit. At practice the coaches said they don't have a single player on their roster who tips the scales at over 200 pounds. Which means the Mustangs are going to have to rely on quickness.
"Our new line, we're going to be a lot faster paced than we were last year," says senior wide receiver and defensive back Kyle Reed. "There's a lot better for the blocking-wise. I mean, we don't have size, but we have speed on everyone."
Part of the youth movement is at quarterback. Where freshman Isaiah Marks will take the snaps this year. The mustangs have been grooming him for a while, and see him as a future four-year starter.
"Yeah his football IQ is really good, and we've known that ever since we watched this kid grow up in top of texas," Said Coach Hawkins. "And he has a football IQ that's way beyond his years, so it's really helping him out at the moment."
"He has a great arm, great arm." Says Henry. "And he focuses real good."
"He reads pretty good. He's got a great arm for being as young as he is." Says Reed. "And he just, he knows what he's doing."
His brother, sophomore Jaylin Marks, will be one of his top targets, along with seniors like Caleb Henry and Kyle Reed, who know they'll need to help out their younger teammate.
"Just run our routes right, just get open and block for him." says Reed. "Just as long as the line does what they do and if we do what we're supposed to do, then we'll be good."
"You know, the opportunity to see this kid grow," says Coach Hawkins. "And the potential that he has and the mindset that he has for the game, it's gonna be fun to watch."
He will be paired with a veteran in the backfield, in junior running back Bodie Oliver. He's being counted on to continue the tradition of great mustang running backs. Though Coach Hawkins is the first to admit, he doesn't exactly look the part.
"He's not near the type of back that the other ones were," says Coach Hawkins. "He's a lot smaller, but you know the kid plays 100 miles an hour and is fearless."
The Mustangs think their defense will be a strength after allowing less than 20 points per game a year ago. They did lose some linemen, but the back-seven should be good.
"Our defense really didn't change much." says Reed. "I mean, we lost a couple big players but otherwise we're still all the same. Everyone's got the same skill, so we didn't really lose anyone."
"We're missing some guys up front to plug some holes, says Coach Hawkins. "But I think we have some guys that are going to be a little bit different, little bit quicker up front. But for the most part I think they'll be able to get the job done, and with the linebacking and the secondary, I think we'll be pretty strong defensively."
In all, a young team will certainly cause its share of frustrations for Coach Hawkins and his staff. But they know there's a bright future in northwest Wichita Falls.
"You know we're going to have plenty of grey hair, probably, to pull by the end of the year," says Coach Hawkins. "But they're a great group of kids, you know. And they're going to work hard. They're going to do what you tell them, and they're all very coachable."
City View Mustangs 2017 Schedule
Sept. 1 vs Quanah, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 8 vs Ponder, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Electra, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Paradise, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 29 BYE
Oct. 6 vs Alvord, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 at Millsap, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 20 vs Holliday, 7p.m.*
Oct. 27 at Nocona, 7 p.m.*
Nov. 3 at Jacksboro, 7 p.m.*
Nov. 10 vs Henrietta, 7 p.m.*