EL PASO, Texas - Americas High School is blessed and cursed this upcoming football season.
On the bright side, they have talented players and a plethora of returning starters - enough to make them one of the early favorites in 1-6A.
On the downside, all that talent means other teams will be circling them on their calendars.
"We went into the offseason knowing there was gonna be added pressure this year because we were going to have a target on our backs," said head coach Patrick Melton. "We have so many people returning and we had a successful year last year, so we knew everybody was gonna be kind of gunning for us."
Americas returns ten starters on the defensive side of the ball and 31 total lettermen from last year's team that only lost two games in district play.
Their line is led by offensive tackle Cameron Chisolm, who knows his Trail Blazers have the chops to be successful this year.
"I expect for us to dominate on the line of scrimmage, get some movement, keep pushing the ball down field, and score a lot of touchdowns," he said.
Chisolm will try to lead the way for running back Joshua Fields again. Fields rushed for more than 1,600 yards and tallied 14 touchdowns a season ago.
The Trail Blazers managed one win in the postseason last year. It was quite an accomplishment for a program that had never won a bidistrict title.
This year, however, one victory in the postseason won't be seen as enough.
But before the team starts dreaming of playoff glory, they'll first have to get by a tough Del Valle team in week one.
"Oh, man, Del Valle is coached by an outstanding coaching staff. Those kids play really tough, and they're one of the perennial powerhouses in 5-A in town," said Melton.
They've got the talent. But event the most talented know they need a bit of luck as well to make a great season something truly special.
"You know, I tell everybody a few plays will change the outcome of the season," said Melton. "And hopefully we come out on top when those plays happen."