Shared from the 8/24/2016 Southside Reporter eEdition

Highlands hopes strong turn-around continues

Marvin Pfeiffer / San Antonio Express-News

Highlands coach Juan Morales pulled his team from an 0-10 season to a playoff spot a year later. The Owls have lost experience, but Morales sees a lot of talent.

Highlands Owls

Coach: Juan Morales

2015 record: 7-4 overall, 6-2 district

Returning starters: 4 offense, 3 defense

Top returners: DL Malik Thomas, LB Rene Lopez Jr., DT Antonio Hernandez

Top newcomers: QB Dylan Camacho, RB Matthew Castillo

The skinny: The Owls graduated a ton of talent that helped them rebound from an 0-10 season two years ago. Although Highlands is thin with varsity experience, Morales is confident he has enough to compete for a playoff spot.

Highlands coach Juan Morales engineered a remarkable bounce-back season in 2015 by helping the Owls earn a playoff spot one year after they went winless.

The turnaround pushed the Owls into the playoffs for the first time since 2012. As a result, the Express-News named him its Coach of the Year.

What does he do for an encore?

Earning another playoff spot is not out of the question, despite the fact the Owls lost a lot talent that enabled them to turn it around. While many of the Owls lack starting varsity experience, Morales likes the team’s talent level as a whole and he believes that will help the Owls contend for a playoff spot.

Highlands returns three starters on defense, including senior defensive lineman Malik Thomas, who is moving from linebacker. Senior middle linebacker Rene Lopez Jr. will be the team’s main defensive play caller. Senior Antonio Hernandez will help Thomas fortify the Owls defensive front.

Senior Dylan Camacho is expected to move from receiver to quarterback. Morales likes the potential of newcomers Matthew Castillo at running back and Dre’Chan Moody at receiver/running back.

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