SHINER - When Gil Hodges last walked off a field wearing a Shiner St. Paul uniform he was celebrating a state championship.
Shiner St. Paul sophomore Devin Pesek scoops up a ball during a drill on Monday. photos by T.C. Baker, Advocate Staff Photographer
That was on a baseball diamond in the spring, but now the St. Paul running back is looking to help the Cardinals claim gold on the gridiron.
"We all have a good attitude and know how to win," said Hodges who was the catcher for St. Paul. "We hope to take it all the way and take the step to make it to state this year in football. We have a whole new system and are starting out fresh."
St. Paul is coming off a 5-6 season, but advanced to the semifinals in the TAPPS Division IV playoffs. The Cardinals football team has nine players on its roster who played on the varsity baseball team last season.
The reason Hodges and his teammates are getting used to a new system is because of another new coach at St. Paul. Hodges, a senior, played for Gilbert Price as a freshman and sophomore and for Gary Harvey last year as a junior. Now in his last year of football at St. Paul, Hodges is under the direction of Jake Wachsmuth.
"Weíre doing a lot of new things with the kids," said Wachsmuth who was the defensive coordinator at Ingleside last year. "Itís new for me and itís new for them. Weíre all coming in with a good attitude and are looking for success on the football field this season."
Shiner St. Paul head football coach Jake Wachsmuth works with quarterbacks during the first day of practice in Shiner on Monday morning.
Despite only seeing the Cardinals practice twice so far this season, the first- year head coach is pleased to be walking into a situation where his players made it to the semifinals in football and won the state championship in baseball.
"When kids win, whether itís football, baseball, basketball it all carries over," he said. "Winning is something that if youíve never had itís hard to get and when they are used to it they want more of it. We look to build on their football and baseball success from last year."
Josh Soto was the starting short stop and is in the running for the starting quarterback position this season.
"We didnít lose many games in baseball and weíre hoping to carry it over into football," Soto said. "I just want to do what I can to help the team out. Weíre all excited."