EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Usually, it’s the eccentric offense that sells tickets to Eastlake football games. That may not be the calling card in 2022, though.

While head coach Ruben Rodriguez always has something up his sleeve as an offensive play caller, only one main offensive contributor returns for the Falcons this fall. It’s on the defensive side of the field where Eastlake hopes to win football games.

With defensive lineman Caleb Emery; linebacker Hector Hinojos and defensive back Esaui Uribe all returning, the Falcons could have one of the most potent defenses in District 1-6A. They’re three of the six starters back on the defensive side of the ball.

Offensively, the Falcons always have weapons that come up through the pipeline, but they’ll need a quarterback to step up in fall camp. Luke Lomeli and Seth Franco are battling it out for the starting job and if they can develop quickly, Eastlake will be up to its old offensive tricks.

“The question is for us is who’s going to play quarterback? It might change our approach offensively early on just to break in the youth, but we’re ready to go,” said Rodriguez.

A strong defense can plug a lot of holes and that’s exactly what the Falcons hope happens in 2022. With a potential Division 1 prospect in Julian Melucci back as the placekicker, Eastlake is in a good position there as well.

“We’re capable of a lot because we’re defensive heavy and our young guys on offense are coming up right now,” said Hinojos.

Eastlake will open the season on Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the SAC vs. Andress.