Under head coach Pete Gareri, the Houston Austin Mustangs made strides in 2006, finishing with a 4-6 record. With 15 returning lettermen, the ‘Stangs look to make further inroads toward gaining a District 20-4A playoff spot.
The offense will be fueled by the running of Joseph Cole (6-0, 190). Cole ran for 1,354 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, earning all-district honors. Austin's attack could get a further boost if QB Stephen Taylor is able to make progress. With his 4.5 speed, Taylor could really make the Mustangs' ground attack explode. Jorge Hernandez had three starts last season, throwing for 293 yards and two touchdowns, providing experience should Taylor falter. Michael Teel is also in the mix for playing time under center. WR Julian Madise will be the featured player in the passing game.
Austin will have to retool its offensive line, as Corado Hernandez is the only returning starter up front. The Mustangs are counting on sophomore Benito Guerrero to help make an impact.
Gareri is high on sophomore LB Robert Estrada, who will join a unit that has six starters returning. Estrada will be joined with senior Luis Lara in the middle of the defense; Lara will be the leader of the group. DE Marcus Jenkins had 53 stops last season and will be counted on to help continue the progress made from a team that gained three wins from a 1-9 campaign in its first year of existence in 2005.
K Armando Pineda is an added weapon for the Mustangs.
Entering just its third season of varsity play, the Mustangs have put themselves in position to make noise for a playoff spot in a district that lacks a clear-cut contender. The confidence gained last season could pay off in a trip to the postseason this fall.