When the Raymondville Bearkats take the field on Friday for the 2017 season opener, Daniel Gutierrez III will be at the helm for the third straight year. It’s been a long time since he was thrown into the fire due to injury to the then starter Jacob Perez in the preseason of the 2015 season. There have been many ups and downs for the team in the last two years, but the team has put all of that behind them and is ready to begin the 2017 season with a clean slate.
I had a chance to talk with Gutierrez III recently about the upcoming season and what he has been up to in preparation for this year.
Two years ago you were sort of thrown into the starting position with Jacob Perez going down to injury in the preseason. What have you learned in the two seasons you have started since that very first varsity game?
You actually learn a lot from the first game and as the season goes on. One thing that I took and learned from was when you don’t have your best game of the season, don’t let it affect you. Pick up off your teammates and still lead them in the right direction. You can’t just quit if it’s not your game.
Last year the team was young, for the most part, sophomores took the field as starters, again somewhat due to injury. This year your team is bringing back a lot of experienced guys. What has been the mindset during this offseason and up until this point of the year so far?
The mindset hasn’t changed in the years I have been playing. It’s always to win the district title and to make that great run in the playoffs. The slogan we use a lot is “Change the culture”, and “1-0”. We want to take every game one by one and play to the best of our team’s abilities.
Last season was a bit of a rough year for the Bearkats finishing 3-8 overall. How has this motivated you to come in this year and redeem yourselves?
We actually aren’t going to use the 2016 season for anything. As a team, we discussed that we are cleaning off the slate and making a new one. Starting off fresh and not comparing the team to last years.
What are some of your goals, besides winning state, for the 2017 season?
The goals for the 2017 season are to win each and every game we have on our schedule. Take one game at a time, and to chase that district title.
I know you attended some camps this offseason, what was it like attending those and did you feel like you learned a lot?
Those camps were a great experience to me, it showed me a lot. Most of the things that I picked up were mentality stand points. The game of football isn’t all about the physical game. A lot of it is mentally, especially at the Quarterback position.
What have you worked on to improve from last year to this year?
I’ve worked on more of the team chemistry during 7on7. We all were determined to become one team.
Your family has a long list of players that have played for the Bearkats. Do you lean on them a bit or pick their brains when you have some football related questions?
Oh yeah, I pick up a lot from the experience my family has. It’s actually hard not to when you have cousins that had the winning legacy as a Bearkat.
The Bearkat fans are eager to get some football back in their lives. What would you like to say to those fans and to your family for the support throughout the years?
All I have to say to the fan base is to trust the process and to stick by our side. It’s going to be a great ride, and you don’t want to miss it.
What do you want to your legacy to be at Raymondville?
I really can’t determine that I will let the coaches, fans, and other to determine that after those Friday night games.
The Bearkats season starts Friday September 1 at home against the La Féria Lions at 7:30 pm.