It was a madcap atmosphere Friday at Vela, the auditorium packed with students and student-athletes, coaches too. Coach John Campbell summed it up well when he suggested that the school has been very active as of late.

“Not sure, is this six or seven?” he asked the crowd as he prepared to discourse on the excellence of Luis Gutierrez, headed to Texas Lutheran University in the fall. “Running out of words, we have had so many kids sign, and that’s a good thing for the program.”

A good thing indeed as Gutierrez, the crunching linebacker, was later joined on stage by teammates Daniel Enriquez – also bound for Seguin – and Sergio Carrizales. Ol’ Sace is going up north to Nebraska, after his incredible long-snapping caught the eye of the coaches at Chadron State. There, he hopes to be a force on special teams right off the bat and eventually earn time as a speed rusher off the edge.

“I ain’t worried at all, you throw me into the jungle and I come out with tigers,” said the eminently quotable Carrizales, on the trials that await.

Also in the mix was Kobe Gipson, the superb physical specimen who supercharged the Vela defense this season in just a handful of outstanding games. He’s going to ink Feb. 20 with Hutchison Junior College in Kansas, long known as a JUCO powerhouse producing Division I signees by the huddle-load. Gipson: Real Deal.

The three-year starter Gutierrez gave a lengthy and heartfelt address, during which he lauded the talents of LB mate Ian Ochoa, who will be at Mary Hardin-Baylor come next fall.

“Nobody had ever talked about the defense at Vela before Coach Campbell and his coaches came,” he said. “It was always about how many points does Vela score, this and that. But I think we proved that we had a great defense, it was there all along, and last year it came of age.”

It was a memorable day with so many great football players on the house, and Enriquez, the Electric One, got a chance to take a few pictures with his mother, Miki McCarthy, one of the greatest girls to ever participate in athletics, back at P-SJ-A.

Gutierrez, whose vision and force guided the defense for three campaigns, was a perfect complement to Ochoa and his burst of athleticism and force on contact. Carrizales made life miserable for offensive lineman with his quickness, and made life a joy for the program with his cocksure attitude and penchant for big talk followed by big plays.

And Enriquez, well Daniel is Daniel, and there will not be many like him coming down the town pike in the coming seasons.

Campbell, who has gone 24-2 in two fantastic years, was excited about the rush of signings and yet he knows that with all these graduations, the team will have to reload and start again, developing the kids who remain, and particularly, those from the lower levels who show considerable promise.

There’s always a tendency to believe that things will never be better, or as good as they have been. But generally, with a great staff and administration and great kids, history has a shot to repeat itself, in spades.