MISSION, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Mission football team will field a younger squad than last year.

Only four starters on defense and four on offense are returning this year.

“The big deal is solidifying the young ones,” said Mission head coach Danny Longoria. “We’re gonna be young on both sides of the ball.”

He’ll look to senior linebacker Sebastian Balderas to help bring his younger teammates up to speed.

“We have a bunch of people that love the game of football,” said Balderas. “They want to learn and get better.”

One of their new offensive starters will be quarterback Diego Salinas.

“He’s going to have to fill big shoes,” said Longoria. “For us, it’s consistency, that’s what we’re looking for.”

Senior receiver Josiah Guzman says the new starting quarterback has worked hard to build a connection with Eagle receivers.

“We’ve already built chemistry through 7-on-7,” Guzman said. “We always run it up at the park too. So, we have real good chemistry.”

Mission finished in second-place in District 31-6A last year, which had 9 teams.

This year, there will only be six teams.

The Eagles feel like they contend for the title, in spite of having a young squad.

“Feel pretty good and confident in what we can do,’ which is chase a gold ball,” said Guzman.

The Eagles will open their season in the Battle of Conway against rival Mission Veterans on Friday, Aug. 26.