Meet the Bulldogs: Running Backs
By Brady Keane BCC Contributor
Landon Ventura - RB, Senior
Running back is one position that the Bulldogs are loaded at for this season, and 5'10 180 lb Landon Ventura leads the way for the Bulldogs in his third season on the varsity level. Coming off of last season in which he ran for 577 yards on 120 carries for eight touchdowns, Ventura will need to replicate last season's success for the Bulldogs to reach the "Next Level" this year.
"I just have to keep getting better each and every day to be the best player I can be this season," Ventura said.
However, Ventura's impact is felt in both the passing game and the special team's aspect of the game as well. After racking up almost 200 yards receiving and earning Second Team All-State Kick Returner honors, Ventura can impact the game anytime the ball is in his hands. His play on special teams often times changes field position, and his energetic, high tempo play is contagious on the field for the Bulldogs offense.
"Special teams can often times be the difference between winning and losing games," Ventura said.
Alex Willoughby-Gonzalez - RB, Senior
The two headed monster that the Bulldogs boast in the backfield wouldn't be complete without the explosive speed of 5'7 160 lb Alex Willoughby-Gonzales, who is coming off an impressive offensive season of his own. Willoughby-Gonzalez carried the ball 87 times last year for 493 yards, and should expect an even bigger load this year in the Bulldogs new Slot T offense.
"The offensive system that we've put in place really plays to the strength of our team," Willoughby-Gonzales said. "We've worked hard to get it down."
Like Ventura, fans can expect to see Willoughby-Gonzales impacting the game all over the field, as the dynamic athlete serves as both the kicker and the punt returner for the Bulldogs in addition to his time at running back. With game changing speed, Willoughby-Gonzales provides the Bulldogs with a dynamic weapon anytime the ball is in his hands.
"Alex is one of the most explosive players on the team," Quarterback Joe Rodriguez said. "Not only does he break through tackles when the ball is in his hand, he also makes tackles on the defensive side of the ball, which is a major plus for the Bulldogs."
Calvin Starnes - RB, Junior
Calvin Starnes is the youngest varsity running back on the Bulldogs roster, and he enters his second season at the varsity level for the Bulldogs. Getting experience on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball last season, Starnes has developed into a nice option for the Bulldogs at running back.
"It's good to have multiple running backs that can run hard because it enables everyone to stay fresh and preform at their best," Rodriguez said. "It's crucial to have a lot of depth in the backfield in a run balanced offense."
Starnes has had an impressive pre-season thus far for the Bulldogs, breaking off a 73 yard TD run in the opening scrimmage against the Carrizo Springs Wildcats. Playing behind two of the best running backs in the district this year should certainly help develop Starnes, who could emerge as the feature back for next season's varsity squad.