WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Spring football practice started Thursday for the Rider Raiders, one of two Texoma teams who will participate. WFHS opens camp on Monday.
Coach Marc Bindel's team is coming off a 5-win season that ended in Bi-District, but he's excited for this coming season.
He said they have a strong group of underclassmen who he hopes to integrate with a solid senior class.
"We have a good group of seniors, let's say about 35 of them, that we've really worked hard the past couple of years, putting them through offseason," Bindel said. "And they've kinda paid the price, and this is their team. And these sophomores, who had a lot of success as freshmen, those groups - the sophomores, juniors, the younger guys - are really going to have to jell with the older guys to get us where we need to be."
Related to that is the battle to replace Jorge Vargas at quarterback.
Senior-to-be Jack Cantrell was the main backup on varsity last year, but Jacob Rodriguez led the freshman team to an undefeated season.
Coach Bindel says either way, leadership at the position will be critical.
"Jack Cantrell is one of the best leaders that we've ever had come through here," Bindel said. "And Jacob Rodriguez who a lot of people know, and Jacob's a phenomenal athlete. Probably could have played varsity as a freshman. And so those guys are kinda competing for it, and we'll see.
"We even talked today with the team about how the quarterbacks have to be the leaders of the team. And if they're not, then you're not going to have a good football team. So as a team, we kinda told them what our expectations are for them, and we'll see how they perform."