The Brownsville Rivera Raiders are ready for some football. The team held its first practice of the season Monday morning.

The Raiders are thrilled to be at full strength to start out the campaign. The team lost around a dozen players last year because of injuries and went 2 and 9 in 2021.

This year’s crop of seniors is the first that coach Beto Leal and his staff have worked with for four years.

With great leaders on the field, the Raiders are aiming to improve and make a run at the playoffs.

“We got a good leadership role on the D-line. Good leadership role on the O-line , the running back spot, the receiver spot, the secondary spot, the linebackers, so we expect a lot of big things from these kids,” said Rivera.

Matthew Ybarbo is a senior starting at right guard.         

“At every part of the ball, the offensive line, the defensive line, corners, linebackers, we have a leading senior that has been there for one or two years. I’ve been at the O-line for four years starting, so we have very good leaders at each position of the ball to lead their group to playoffs. That’s our goal this year,” Ybarbo said.

Senior Jose Hernandez is a middle linebacker who has used his experience on the team to help teach his teammates.

“I got to get the freshman and the sophomores ready for when they come up, and the juniors, they kind of already know what to do, and they’ll probably mentor the next group coming in, so that’s pretty much what I’m trying to do to help the new guys.”

The Raiders kick off their season on the road at La Joya on Thursday, Aug. 25.