MISSION, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Mission Vets has all the makings to take home the district title in 16-5A DII.

The Patriots finished last season 5-6, reaching the playoffs. Vets, however, was bounced in the first round after a tough matchup with Gregory-Portland.

Vets has plenty of senior leadership on its 2023 roster. Braden Leudeker will run the offense at quarterback, but Vincent Abrego (1,158 yards, 14 TDs passing) will continue to be a force for the Patriots with the ball in his hands.

While the Patriots finished the regular season .500, they believe they can be even better in 2023 with the work they put in in the offseason.

“Our character last year wasn’t that good,” Alexis Anguiano, senior safety, said. “We’ve really worked on it this year, and we’re really together as a team this year, and I think that’s going to help a lot.”

Character was the main point senior leaders on the Vets’ squad emphasized at Upper-Valley Media Day.

“We had a couple issues with that,” Pablo Lopez, senior running back, said. “There would be a lot of people arguing, but we fixed that this offseason. We got closer as a team, and we know what to do now.”

Frank Arellano, linebacker, had a productive 2022 season for the Patriots. Arellano finished with 53 tackles and 3 tackles for loss. Look for him to be a focal point in a young Vets defense.

If they can be a balanced team on both sides of the ball, don’t be surprised if Head Coach David Gilpin and his boys take home the district title.

The Patriots open its season with the Battle of Conway vs. Mission on Friday, August 25.