'We're built like a family': San Diego Vaqueros look to repeat last year's success

Rey Castillo
Alice Echo News Journal
San Diego head football coach/athletic director Bo Ochoa

San Diego Vaqueros 

Key players returning

OL Asher Gonzalez; OL/DL Jorge Guerra; ATH Hector Gaza; DE Jadon Rodriguez; QB R.J. Valerio; DB Jason Salinas 

District: 16-3A Division I 

2020 Record: 4-2, 3-0

What head coach Bo Ochoa is saying

"There's nothing better than momentum. Last year we had our season cut in half with a late start, but having the opportunity to play for a district title and playing the way we did, helped out the program quite a bit. We're going to try and feed off of that this year."

What QB R.J. Valerio is saying

"We didn't have a lot of games last year so it's good to have 10 games this year. We can get more work in and having a preseason before district will help us a lot. Last year with COVID, we didn't have two-a-days at all so these two-a-days have helped us get in shape and really click. It's going to help us down the road. We did lose some key players last year, but I feel like we have a lot more that came back... We should do pretty good." 

What OL Asher Gonzalez is saying

"What I like about this group is that there's not one player we're depending on. We're built like a family, so we all work together to make the offense and defense roll. It all comes down to being team-oriented... If we work together as a team, we'll do pretty great this district season."

What ATH Hector Gaza is saying

"I feel like this team is going to be one of the best teams to come out of SD. I feel like the bond that we have and all the brotherhood, taking care of each other (is) starting to click on the field. I feel like when we start clicking in district play, it's going to help us in the long run. This offseason was way better than last year."

Outlook

San Diego returns a core group of talent from last season, but parts ways with four-year starters Brandon Ramirez and Sergio Guerra. Head coach Bo Ochoa said he still likes what he sees in this year's group, and a run at the District 16-3A Division I title is in reach. The Vaqueros advanced to the bi-district round after finishing 4-2 in a shortened 2020 season. Quarterback R.J. Valerio, who will return for his second season under center, said the full preseason is only going to benefit the team in its quest for a fifth straight postseason berth. All-state offensive lineman Asher Gonzalez will anchor the line and Hector Gaza will be a threat on both sides of the football. San Diego opens the season Aug. 27 against George West and begins district play Sept. 24 against Santa Gertrudis Academy.