New-look TLCA preparing for battle-tested season in tougher classification

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SAN ANGELO, Texas — The TLCA Eagles have a mountain to climb in 2020.

Not only are they under new leadership with head coach Matt Jones, but the team is also adjusting to a new classification and are now members of District 3-3A Division I, which was considered one of the toughest last season.

However, TLCA is playing with a chip on its shoulder this year and junior running back Daunte Sykes said the team can pick up some big wins.

“It would be big for us,” Sykes said. “Nobody expects us to beat them. Nobody expects us to be even close with them. This season TLCA Football will be way better than last year.”

Jones was the offensive coordinator at Miles last season where he helped the Bulldogs compile 3,853 total yards. Prior to Miles, Jones coached at Ballinger for three years and spent one year at Glen Middle School.

“I think TLCA is a good spot to be,” Jones told CVHP in an interview back in May. “It’s a step up for me to get my first head coaching job and with it being in San Angelo, its good for my family and I’m pretty excited about it.”

The Eagles are 5-25 the past three seasons and haven’t finished with a winning record since 2015. Jones said he has to establish confidence before his team starts winning.

“Trying to get these kids mindsets changed from a mentality where they’re not expected to win, and using that to build confidence to build the ability to step on the field and know that they can compete with anyone,” Jones said. “That’s my goal. Wins will come when that gets taken care of.”

Jones has spent his entire 8-year coaching career in the Concho Valley and is a graduate from Angelo State University.

“The big 3A’s in the area I know really well from the time I started playing in high school,” Jones said. “We’re not going to be the same team we are now by the time we get to district so it’s just building that team one day at a time.”

And that team will be built around speed, which according to Jones TLCA can surprise people this season with its ability to get off the ball and run downfield.

“We have a lot of speed,” Jones said. “A lot more speed than I’ve had on my previous teams and I don’t think people from the outside really understand that. We’re undersized, but I like that in my system. That speed and that tempo is a big advantage.”

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football predicted the Eagles to finish last in District 3-3A Division I.

  1. #5 Wall
  2. Jim Ned
  3. Clyde
  4. Breckenridge
  5. Early
  6. TLCA

“We’re just basically the underdogs,” senior running back Eddie Carranco said. Everyone expects us to lose and by proving them wrong we can show people we can win.”

TLCA is set to open the football season on the road against Brady on Aug. 28.

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