2013 Season Preview

Entering his twenty-fifth season, Westlake head coach Jim Benkert is already riding the emotional roller coaster as he analyzes his team from both an offensive and defensive perspective. “We have some young but experienced players on both sides of the ball, the challenge is to be one year better.” He went on to say, “The entire coaching staff is eagerly awaiting this season. We feel confident in the potential of this team to again compete for a championship!” When you play in the Marmonte League, you play in one of the toughest leagues in the CIF Southern Section where championships are hard to come by. However, the 2013 Warriors have their sights set to return to the title game!

The 2013 Warriors again have the numbers, and the talent to challenge for the Marmonte League and CIF Championship. With 25 returning letterman, 22 juniors moving up from the sophomore team, a couple first time players and a few quality sophomores, this team looks to put the Warriors back into Championship form.

The Offense

One thing for sure is that the typically high-octane passing attack that became Westlake’s trademark throughout the last two decades is sure to be spectacular! Tommy Gonzales enters his senior season after starting two games last season. He has shown the ability to throw the ball down the field and has a good grasp of the offense. Sophomore, Malik Henry has all the tools to be a great one. The abilities of these players have shown throughout the spring and give the position more depth than any team in the county!

Making the life of the Warrior quarterback easier is a very talented receiver corps led by returning 2nd Team ALL-Marmonte League, senior Alex Egurbide and Marmonte League Honorable Mention, senior Cole Hair.  Four other seniors, Tyler Sauvegeau, Justin Fabiculanan, Andrew Sherwood and Lexi Isham will be joined by juniors Sean Carter, Ronald Smith, Cade Schmitz, Nick Rodriguez (ALL-Marmonte League, ALL-Ventura County at St. Bonaventure last year) Jesse Cuccia, Klayton Wood, Trenton Padilla, and Caine Spiwak. Add ALL-Marmonte League Honorable Mention, junior Andre Baccellia to this group and the ball will be flying high!

Junior Tight End, Hunter Mattox promises to be a force to contend with this season. Bigger, faster, stronger, Hunter figures to catch a lot of balls from the tight end position. Sophomores, Brandon Hall and Jake Montoya have been showing promise at the tight end position. Don’t be surprised if junior Reno Dubreuil lines up in the tight end position occasionally.

Sophomore, Chase Jasmin and juniors Tanner Gee, Reno Dubreuil and Quincy Bennett look to fill the running back positions. Senior Zach Morris has shown flashes of talent throughout the spring after not playing his junior year. Juniors, John Charles and Alex Aguilar and senior, Parker Ellman are learning the position. The coaching staff has been pleasantly surprised by the depth at this position!

Two starters return on the offensive line and the group is very young, but Coach Romano is very optimistic about the potential of this group. ALL-Marmonte League Honorable Mention, junior Fred Wise (6’5” 310) looks to anchor the front with fellow junior Patrick Mekari (6’4” 275) at Center. Juniors, Justin Martinez, Zach Olsin, Zak Kaplan, Jaryd Ramos, Luis Figueroa, John Wise, Zach Updike and Cooper Weiss have all looked good in practice. Senior Lopeti Vaka is ready to be battle tested. Sophomore, Nolan Dellibovi is also in the mix.

The kicking duties seem to be in good hands (or feet!) with All-State and ALL-CIF place kicker junior, Kevin Robledo and ALL-Marmonte League Honorable Mention punter senior, Chasen Brown.

The Defense

Change isn’t always a good thing. For instance, Defensive Coordinator Richard Fong is a firm believer in the status quo. For good reason, the Warrior defense is the most feared unit in the county!

Returning starting inside linebacker Joe Garcia anchors an impressive unit that includes Reno Dubreuil, who enters his junior year with more experience, strength and speed. If those two are not enough, senior Tony Fahamokioa has become an impact player on defense. Adding experience and toughness to the linebacker position will be seniors, Donald Schmitz and Darius Pago. Juniors, Noah Karras, Matt Arnold, Quincy Bennett, and Tyler Millan have had plenty of opportunities to learn and should be ready to shine. Sophomore, Jake Montoya is also in the mix.

Anchoring the defensive line will be returning starter, junior Hunter Mattox . At 6’4” and 255 pounds of explosive power, Hunter will be a major force coming off the edge! There is a fierce battle going on for the other starting positions. Seniors, Zach Miller, Chris Klifman, Lopeti Vaka and Alex Lux and juniors, John Rios, John Wise, Cooper Weiss, Ivan Vega, Justin Martinez, Zak Kaplan, Jaryd Ramos, Zach Olsin and sophomore Brandon Hall will compete throughout the summer.

The secondary looks to be in good shape as returning starters juniors, Jalyn Harrison and Jesse Cuccia both look one year better. Competing for starting positions are seniors, Tyler Sauvageau, Lexi Isham, Parker Ellman, Cole Hair and Justin Fabiculanan. All have the experience and talent to win a position. Juniors, Tanner Gee, Nick Rodriguez, Trenton Padilla, and Cade Schmitz have been impressive during the spring and look to play somewhere and fellow sophomore, Chase Jasmin can flat play! Junior, John Charles has shown ability in limited action.

Summary

The 2013 Warriors look to again Challenge for a Championship. With renewed confidence and team unity this team looks to have all the ingredients necessary to take the steps to the top! The players have dedicated to “make the right choices” and “stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone.” They have chosen to stand together as a “Band of Brothers” to strive and achieve success, on the field, in school, and in the community.