Bloodhounds end QB battle, return stellar defense in 2023

BROWNSVILLE — The Brownsville St. Joseph Bloodhounds had a quarterback battle leading up to this Friday night’s game against Brownsville Lopez.

Sophomore Gavin Cisneros is going to be the guy.

Cisneros is set to lead a Bloodhounds offense that has put up some big numbers in the past because of talented quarterbacks and a team that went 8-3 and 6-1 in TAPPS Division II District 3 in 2022. Brownsville St. Joseph is the No. 3 sub-5A team in the preseason poll.

The Bloodhounds have not had a young quarterback to lead their offense in a few seasons.

“He’s going to have three seasons to master that position,” Brownsville St. Joseph head coach Tino Villarreal said. “That really opens our playbook.”

The Bloodhounds racked up 4,928 total yards of offense in 2022. Preseason All-Valley receiver Claudio Torres returns as junior that had 989 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

“There have been a lot of good quarterbacks and a lot of good offenses here,” Cisneros said. “I am very excited to take over this offense and see what we can do this year because we have a really good team.”

One of Cisneros’ main blockers this season on the offensive line is Diego De La Cruz. The senior is 6-foot-4 and well more than 300 pounds, but looks closer to his listed 285 on MaxPreps.

“I think every player on the team is important,” De La Cruz said. “There are 11 players, and whichever ones are better are going to be out on the field. I think I am important for the team, but as well as many other guys. It is a team effort.”

The Bloodhounds return nine starters on defense and will be using a different formation.

“So far, it has freed up some of our guys to put themselves in better positions,” Villarreal said. “Tadeo Garza, Emile Gonzalez and Alex Garcia have really emerged as hard-hitters and are finding the football early. I am excited about what the 4-3 brings to St. Joe’s.”

One of the keys for the Bloodhounds is to say healthy for a potential playoff run.

The Bloodhounds take on Brownsville Lopez at 7 p.m. Friday at Sams Memorial Stadium in Brownsville.