The Natalia Mustangs will strap on their helmets and workout clothes on Monday, August 6 as the 2018-2019 season arrives. Coming off just their 10th playoff appearance in school history, the boys in blue have goals to make their second straight playoff appearance when all is said and done.
Natalia will have a new Head Coach in the saddle this season, as former Athletic Director/Head Coach Chad Graves left during the 2017-2018 school year to take the same position at Palacios ISD.
Entering his 7th year in Natalia, Coach Ilyan Martinez received a unanimous vote by the Natalia ISD Board of Trustees to take over for Graves. The Floresville native who also played college ball in Abilene, has served as the defensive coordinator for the past six seasons and also turned the Natalia Powerlifting Program into one of the best 3A programs in the state year in and year out.
“We are excited about the upcoming season,” Coach Martinez said. “We will have a new set of challenges as we try to fill the void left by a strong senior class.”
One thing that Martinez has on his side is the fact he will go to war with a group of young men who are used to working hard not only during the season, but during the off-season and summer as well. Natalia averaged over 80 athletes throughout the summer and they were greeted by a coaching staff who were dedicated to making them better one day at a time.
“I am excited about the opportunity to meet these challenges with a great group of young athletes who have been in the process with me for a long time,” Martinez said. “We have championship expectation here and everyone accepts the responsibility that comes with that.”
The Mustangs will return seven starters on defense this season and three on offense from their 9-2 ball club from a year ago.
The Junior Varsity Football team was also very successful losing only two games the entire season as well which will result in plenty of talent moving up through the rank.
Two-a-day workouts will begin on Monday, August 6 with players set to report at 6:45 am and meetings set to begin at 7:00 pm.
Workouts will run Monday, August 6-Thursday, August 16. The first scrimmage is set for Friday, August 17 at home vs the Brackett Tigers.
“We have a ton of young talented players we will be counting on to step up this year and contribute to our success,” Martinez said. “I feel like we have all the pieces to the puzzle to compete for a district championship and that is what we intend to do.”
When it comes to the 2018-2019 Natalia Football schedule, there are a number of new faces on the schedule and those will be previewed in the upcoming Devine News Football Preview.
By Eric Smith