Hoping to continue the success of last year’s team, the Central Catholic Buttons come into 2016 aiming to repeat as district champions. Realignment has the Buttons playing in a 4-team district again with the departure of St. Michaels and San Antonio Christian back to Division II. That leaves familiar foes Antonian, St. Joseph, and St. Anthony on the schedule as district opponents. Just before opening district play, the Buttons will face Houston-area powerhouse St. Thomas after six straight games against public schools Kennedy, McCollum, Harlandale, Devine, Winn, and Navarro. If all goes well for third year head coach L.D. Green, Sr. and the Buttons, Central could face St. Thomas again in the state playoffs.
Coach Green has compiled a 14-8 record as the Buttons’ coach and finished 2015 with a perfect 5-0 district mark. Repeating the undefeated district run will be tougher in 2016 as the Buttons lost their team MVP, team defensive MVP, and starting quarterback to graduation. That also means the Buttons have to replace their leading tackler (Tyler Acosta, 123 tackles, 1st team all-state) and pass defender (Jeremy Medina, 11 INT, 1st team all-state). Green says “2016 (will) bring new leadership, chemistry, and motivations to be the best we can be. We are excited for the opportunity.” The Buttons do return defensively all-state award winner Mark Castillo, who record 72 tackles and 3 interceptions last season, and the experienced Jeffrey Flores in the secondary. Senior Coco Aguilar anchors the defensive line and returns after receiving all-district and all-state recognition a year ago.
On offense, the quarterback position was undecided at time of this writing. Whoever wins the QB competition will have some experienced and talented weapons to work with as all-district running back Caleb Salinas returns as does all-state receiver Thomas Palomera. Salinas averaged 5+ yards a carry last season and scored 10 touchdowns. Palomera, a deep ball threat with 4.4 speed, scored 9 times and racked up 671 receiving yards (21 YPC) on his way to being named the team Offensive MVP. Austin Vargas, a junior, will see plenty of touches out of the backfield as well. Vargas scored 4 touchdowns in 2015 and started two games for the Buttons. The receiving crew is fairly deep and Central will get plenty of action from senior Julian Oviedo and juniors Jack Perkins and Ty Williamson.
The Buttons should not see a drop off in production and expect the offense to be even better than the 2015 squad. Most of the offensive line returns to lead the way and includes seniors Troy Gonzalez, “the rock of the o-line”, and Eric Oyervides, who didnt allow a sack last season. The duo combined for 103 pancakes a year ago.
With much experience returning for the 2016 Buttons squad, expect Central Catholic to be a playoff team again. Central kicks off their season on August 26 at homes versus JFK.
|2016 Central Catholic Schedule|
|9/23||@Eagle Pass Winn|
|10/21||Brownsville St. Joseph (district)|
|11/4||St. Anthony (district)|
Written by David Fuller; photo by Texas High School Helmet Project