WESLACO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Weslaco senior football player Jeremy Perez always wanted to be a running back.

“It’s fun,” said the running back. “How can you not like running behind your blocks and getting hard yards?”

Perez is getting a chance this year to showcase his skills as the team’s starting running back.

He joined the varsity team as a sophomore, but not as a running back. He was a wide receiver.

“Most of my high school career, being on the side or getting half-reps and stuff like that,” Perez said. “It’s really good to be first man up and they can trust me.”

Perez received his first start at running back for Weslaco in the Panthers’ season-opener against Mercedes.

He ran for 187 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown.

“The best game of my life,” Perez said.

Weslaco head football coach Roy Stroman enjoyed all aspects of Perez’s performance.

“The way he blocked, the way he carried out his fakes,” Stroman said. “The little things we’ve been working on and little things we’ve been working on. Little things that take unselfish acts. He did awesome.”

Perez gained 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason to prepare for his new role on the team.

He recognizes that his teammates on the offensive line also played a big role in his memorable night.

“Really good having big guys that are aggressive and that type of mentality,” Perez said. “They do it all for me. It’s fun when you have people doing work for you.”

Perez’s goal is to help Weslaco make the playoffs after the team missed out last year.

Weslaco’s next game is on Friday night against Harlingen South at Boggus Stadium.