This season has a deja vu feel to it for the Snook Bluejays.
Two years after undergoing a coaching change, the Bluejays are doing it again. Dylan Conway is taking over for Boone Patterson, who left to be head coach at Caldwell when Matt Langley resigned in May. Conway was an offensive coordinator at Ingleside and is taking over a solid Snook squad that has 11 returning starters and Texas Football’s District 13-2A Division II preseason offensive MVP Garrett Lero under center.
But unlike Patterson who was hired in February 2019, Conway is facing a quicker turnaround with little more than the summer to adjust to the new team and school. Conway inherited one coach from the previous staff, offensive line and special teams coach Cameron Besetsny, while his father, John Conway, will serve as Snook’s new offensive coordinator after leaving Ingleside as well.
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“It’s a blessing and a curse all in the same,” Conway said. “You come into a program that’s doing great, and then the time constraint of when I was hired makes that part difficult, but I’m definitely excited. The opportunity for success is there, and I told them each day we’re going to try to get 1% better, and if we do that, great things will happen.”
Conway said having summer workouts has helped him bond with players, and he’s excited by the progress from the underclassman.
“We’re going good,” receiver and defensive back Jose Garcia said. “New coaches, we’re creating new bonds with them, and they’re teaching us how to communicate with each other. The change in coaches doesn’t affect us at all. We just want to ball.”
Snook’s young program made history under Patterson, who led the Bluejays to their first district title and first appearance in the regional quarterfinals while also coaching them in their first football stadium. Patterson inherited an experienced roster from Chad Lechler, who led Snook to a record-setting 9-3 season in 2018.
Like his predecessor, Conway is inheriting a solid team with high expectations. The Bluejays are projected by Texas Football to repeat as 13-2A-II champions after going 5-1 in league play and 7-5 overall last year. Lero is a driving force behind the lofty projection. The 5-foot-9, dual-threat quarterback threw for 1,446 yards and rushed for 890 yards with 26 total touchdowns in 2020.
Lero will have a reliable target in Garcia along with the majority of his offensive line returning in Richard Santillan, David Toler and center Jonathan Quevedo. Defensive lineman Cody Noriega and Gabriel Martinez also will contribute on the offensive line.
Snook also has to find replacements for several key players who have graduated, including running back David Davila and wide receivers Jermaine Kearney and Justin Supak. But having Lero captain the ship should keep the offense moving.
“It’ll be crucial, especially the leadership role,” Conway said of Lero’s many duties on the team. “He’s a quiet kid and does everything the right way, so formulating around what we like to do offensively as a staff with his skill set is going to be huge but [also] getting him to play both ways when he can.”
Garcia also will be key at linebacker, along with running back/linebacker Garrett Hyvl and Quevedo, who will come in to help the backfield.
“Garcia is also a dynamic athlete,” Conway said. “He could line up at some slot as well in the backfield and be able to give us a run dynamic and not just a deep threat. He’ll be one of those that we look to turn to when we need a big play.”
While Snook will count on a few new faces, Conway and Garcia said they have hopes of returning to the playoffs and have the roster to make it there.
“Our hope is to get further and live up to the expectation that they’re putting on us this year,” Garcia said.
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