Family oriented Falcons ready to take on district season

LOS FRESNOS — There’s a family mentality that binds the Los Fresnos Falcons, one they’ve strengthened since Day 1 under the new regime to prepare for the District 32-6A season.

The Falcons have already gone through adversity in this young season, but it’s only made their bond stronger. Senior quarterback Matthew Padilla said Los Fresnos depends on that closeness to help it fight under the Friday night lights.

“We’ve bonded as a team, and us doing that has really helped us on the field. We really fight for each other on the field,” Padilla said. “Me and the rest of the captains, we make sure everybody feels a part of the team and gets along, because if you don’t really know each other, you aren’t going to succeed. We’re a whole big family, and we’re there for one another.”

Senior middle linebacker Greg Jones, another team captain, echoed that sentiment. Jones, the undisputed leader of the unit, said the continuity of Los Fresnos’ defense keeps it competitive.

“Our defense is really tight-knit, we’re all brothers and we have each other’s backs. We all trust each other, and we know the person next to us is going to get the job done,” Jones said. “Our defense is solid, and we feel pretty good about ourselves. We have a great group of guys. They really help me be the leader I am, and I just try to do my best to be a role model for them and help us win games.”

Padilla sets the tone for a Falcons’ offense that is stacked with versatile athletes. Because of the old system, Padilla hasn’t been the quarterback since his freshman year. He’s enjoying being back in the QB1 role and working with an offense that keeps opponents on their toes.

“I love to play the quarterback position, and I love to lead. Being able to throw the ball again is a lot of fun,” Padilla said. “We have a great group of guys, and I’m really excited for (today) to show out with them.”

Los Fresnos (1-1) knows it’ll need all three phases ready to go when it kicks off district play at No. 4 San Benito (3-0) at 7 p.m. today. First-year Falcons coach David Cantu said they’re expecting “an electric atmosphere” and an aggressive, well-rounded Greyhounds team.

Senior athlete Hector Muniz, junior running back Jonus Gonzalez, senior center Gerardo Garcia, junior linebacker RJ Limon and senior safety Ethan Gonzalez are a few noted playmakers who will help the Falcons battle throughout district.

“Defensively, it’s so good to see how everyone runs to the football, the pride they take in being that type of defense. (Jones and Limon) make so many plays for us. They play 100 miles per hour,” Cantu said. “Jonus Gonzalez has shown how tough he is. My goodness, he’s one of the toughest blockers I’ve seen. … It’s a group to be proud of. This game means a lot to them.”

The Falcons said things feel different when the district season rolls around, especially since they respect how deep 32-6A is. Cantu said “there’s no doubt you can sense the couple notches that have gone up” in terms of intensity and focus from his team.

But even though they know the next seven games are extra important, Jones and Padilla are keeping the Falcons concentrated on themselves. They believe they have what it takes to return to the postseason, and they’re ready to show it.

“We’re keeping the same mentality, coming in knowing we’re a good football team,” Jones said. “We’re going to do our jobs, trust each other and hopefully come out with some wins. We know (San Benito is) going to come out and try to hit us, but we’re going to be up for the challenge and shut them down.”

Added Padilla: “We know they’re a great team. They’re going to be chirping a lot through the whole game, so we got to stick to our game plan, do what we do and let our playing do the talking. We’ve dealt with a lot of adversity in the beginning part of the season. I feel like we’ve adjusted and jelled really well, so we’ll be all right.”

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