Robert Lee Steers Look To Bounce Back After Rough 2016
ROBERT LEE, TX-- Following a 4-5 2016 season that saw the Steers of Robert Lee get bit by the injury bug, ninth year Head Coach Shay Avants is optimistic heading into 2017.
"These kids are working hard," Avants said. "They're really buying in to this season."
As mentioned before, the Steers saw a number of players go down injured in 2016. "They weren't minor injuries. They were season ending injuries," Avants noted. "Last year's record is misleading to what these kids did. The injuries changed the whole complexion of the team."
However, the injury bug that plagued Robert Lee a year ago may have left the Steers with a tremendous upside. "We had a lot of guys get significant playing time last year because of the injuries," Avants stated joyfully. "We have some great talent returning and I'm excited."
The biggest upside, as long as the Steers can stay healthy, is the fact they return all of their skill position players from 2016. Heading up the returning group will be Daniel Mendoza and Isaiah Smith. "Both played big minutes for us last year," Avants said. "They were big players." In 2016, Mendoza produced 1,751 yards of total offense and 17 touchdowns. The Steers' offense will hinge on his performance this season.
Coach Avants also feels that Jorge Mendoza playing on the offensive and defensive line will make a solid front for the Steers' this season.
Robert Lee also got a big boost when former Water Valley Head Coach John York decided to take the job as the Steers' offensive coordinator. "Coach York is a great offensive mind," Avants added. "I'm a defensive minded coach, so that frees me up to direct the defense."
Defense, however, was a struggle last year for the Steers and Coach Avants hopes his defense can "turn that corner" in 2017. "We're going to play more 'in your face'," Avants said. "We're going to play more one-on-one defense and mix up coverages."
The slight changes in the defense and the offensive direction of John York point to good things on the horizon for the Robert Lee Steers. If they can stay healthy, Robert Lee could challenge for a playoff spot in 2017. Robert Lee goes 6-4 overall, but narrowly misses out on the playoffs with a 1-2 record in district 6-1A D1.