2014 Season Preview
Although the final outcome of last season’s playoff run was not what was hoped for… there were several thrills and chills that characterized the team. Who could forget the way the Warriors battled Oaks Christian in the Marmonte League Championship game winning with 22 seconds left on a blocked punt returned for a touchdown! That game showed overwhelming optimism within the program that the final product-a return to the championship game-is in sight. “Our goal on the field is always to win the Marmonte League Championship and make a run at the CIF Title,” said head coach Jim Benkert. “That’s our goal this year, and every year. In 2014, we must pick up where we left off last year, continue to develop a winning attitude and style of play. If we proved anything last year, it’s that we have something very special here. The players may change, but the system continues to evolve.” The momentum from that playoff run last year could continue in 2014 with the help of eight returning offensive starters and five defensive returners. In all, 29 squadmen return from last year’s team and 25 juniors are up from the sophomore team. Add a player who did not play football last year and a couple of sophomores and you have the makings of a fine team.
The Warrior’s very potent offense will be difficult for opposing defenses to figure out how to stop returning All-State, All-Ventura County & All-Marmonte League junior quarterback, Malik Henry. He is a multi-talented player who improved steadily last year and is ready to lead the offense. “He is an outstanding talent who can make every throw” Coach Benkert said. Fellow junior, Grant Bunker has had a great spring and looks to be an outstanding signal caller. “We really don’t lose anything with Grant behind the center.” Coach Benkert said, “He gives a different look to opposing defenses and keeps them of balance.”
The Warriors have arguably the best two junior quarterbacks in the county. What a luxury!
The receiver corp is lead by returning All-Marmonte League and All-Ventura County selection, Andre Baccellia. The sure handed receiver is just off the track where he went undefeated in the 100 meter dash (10.82). “We will be looking for an outstanding season from Andre, he has the ability to dominate,” said Coach Benkert. Several others will be competing for playing time including seniors, Sean Carter, Ronald Smith, Jesse Cuccia, Klayton Wood, Caine Spiwak and juniors, Vinny Corso, Ryan Osborne, Hayden Galvin, George Weisfuss, Shane Ho, Daniel Fox, Shayan Bayri and Cooper Richman. Sophomore, Marques Evans has all of the tools of a gifted athlete.
All five starters return on the offensive line led by two-time All-Marmonte League selection, senior Patrick Mekari. “Patrick has the size and strength to dominate from his center position, he is one of the best to ever play the position,” said Coach Benkert. Returning at the right Guard position is two year starter and All-Ventura County and All-Marmonte League selection, Fred Wise (6’5″ 315) “He has the size and strength to dominate,” said Coach Benkert. Returning at the right tackle position is 2nd Team All-Marmonte League selection, junior Nolan Dellibovi (6’5″ 280) “Nolan has worked extremely hard during the off-season to develop his strength and has shown he is capable of being an impact player,” Coach Benkert said. Senior, Zach Updike and Sophomore, Max Moore both were Marmonte League Honorable Mention last year and are the other returning full time starters. Both are big and aggressive. Senior, Zach Kaplan has concentrated on defense during the spring and that looks to be the move. Looking to break into the starting lineup are seniors, Luis Figueroa and Zach Olsin, and juniors, Frank Ozello, Jackson Weiss, Cruz Gallegos, Damien Ramos, Spencer Wood, and Spencer Afshari. This offensive line may be one of the best in the history of the program. Last season, opposing defenses tried to slow down tailback, Chase Jasmin. Many times it seemed like they were trying to tackle a ghost as the sophomore ran for big yardage. Bigger and faster in 2014, Chase looks to have a great season. But wait, there is more! Seniors, Quincy Bennett and Reno Dubreuil both have the ability to move the chains as does senior Alex Aguilar and sophomore Javon Mitchell. Senior, Tanner Gee is healthy and hungry for a big year. Fullback David Cisi and looks to handle the “tough guy role.”
The kicking game appears to be in good hands (feet) with returning All-Everything Kicker, Kevin Robledo and junior kicker Crawford Pierson.
“The defense is on a mission this year,” said Coach Fong. “Our philosophy on defense is to capture the ball. Turnover ratio is a very important statistic for us and we took a huge jump in the right direction last year. That needs to remain one of the markers of our success.” While only five starters return, they are all tremendous leaders and we expect them to be coaches on the field.
Although all but one of last year’s 4-man defensive front graduated, the coaching staff feels there is enough talent to match last years effort. Junior Jake Montoya looks to anchor the unit from his defensive end spot and at 6’2″ 235 pounds he will be a load for any offensive lineman. Fellow junior Brandon Shook 6’1″ 215 pounds has had a great spring after a slow start adjusting to the speed of the varsity. Senior, Cooper Weiss has been hampered by injury but the coaching staff has great confidence in his abilities. Super Sophomore, Max Moore will add strength and power up front as will Senior, Zak Kaplan. Seniors, John Wise and Zach Olsin along with juniors, Brandon Hall, Hunter Schmidt, Jonathan Cruz, Garrett Tingus and Jackson Weiss are all competing for playing time and starting spots.
The linebacking corps is another bright spot for the Warriors as many experienced and talented players return. Two-year starter and All-CIF linebacker, Reno Dubreuil rooms the middle and knows how to “bring the wood.” Seniors, Quincy Bennett, Cade Schmitz and Trenton Padilla have shown the ability to dominate. Junior Alex Dowling has a lot of talent and has been impressive during the spring. Juniors David Cisi, James Sullivan, Ryan Osborne and Tyler Shapiro are making progress everyday and look to push for a starting spot. Sedrick Blount has shown the ability to get on the field.
The secondary looks to be in good shape as returning All-CIF and two-year starter Jalyn Harrison and All-Marmonte League and two-year starter Jesse Cuccia are one year better. Senior transfer, Daniel Collins (All-Serra League last year) looks extremely active. Also competing for a starting position is sophomore, Javon Mitchell. Senior, Clayton Wood has game time experience and gained confidence as the season went along last year. Juniors, Drew Cahalan, Grant Bunker, Shane Ho and Daniel Fox have been impressive during the spring and look to play somewhere.
The 2014 Warriors look to again Challenge for a Championship. With renewed confidence and 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.