RIO HONDO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Rio Hondo Bobcats are back on the football field, gearing up for the team’s first football season since 2019.
As concerns related to COVID 19 continued to increase, Bobcat Head Coach Rocky James decided to call it quits on a potential 2020 season due to a lack of numbers and too many health-related concerns. The decision was far from easy, but, looking back, Coach James felt he made the right call.
“It was tough. It was a tough call, but I really didn’t think I was going to have kids out anyway,” said James. “It was tough this last year on all the kids, the seniors, and all the parents. It was a very tough time.”
The Bobcats welcomed nearly 60 athletes to the practice field ahead of the 2021 season. Though the numbers are low, Coach feels his team is well prepared to compete in this upcoming campaign.
“We’re usually at 130 or 140, so the numbers are low, but the kids out here are doing a tremendous job,” Coach James said. “It really doesn’t look like we’ve missed a step.”
Senior Quarterback Zechariah Rios is among those 60 athletes ready to compete this year. Despite feeling for the seniors that missed out on their final season last year, he can’t wait to feel the rush of competing again.
“I know how much those guys loved to play and wanted to play, but all we could do was get ready for the next year,” Rios said. “Just blessed to be out here and have the opportunity to play [under the] Friday Night Lights.”
The Bobcats will look to improve on a 2019 season that saw the black and gold finish 6-5 (2-1 district), including a second-round playoff loss to Navarro, 42-13.
Coach James, Rios, and the rest of the Rio Hondo Bobcats will return to play on Thursday, Aug. 26, when the team heads to Pack Stadium in La Joya for a week one matchup against the Juarez-Lincoln Huskies.