Whew! Could you believe last season? The Warriors blasting to their eighth Marmonte League title in the last 12 years, entered the CIF playoffs as the #4 seed (Two Marmonte League teams were seeded ahead of the Warriors by virtue of a coin flip). The Warriors beat a path through the playoffs eventually meeting Oaks Christian in the title game rematch. There would be no repeat of the 2010 CIF title; however, as the Lions turned back the Warriors in a thrilling 29-28 victory as time expired.
The 2011 Warriors will take the field this year in defense of their 12th Marmonte League title. They have the numbers and the talent to again challenge for the CIF Championship. Of the 73 players, 31 are returning varsity letterman; the juniors are comprised of eleven players who were elevated for last season’s playoff run and four who are returning starters. When you play in the Marmonte League, you play in one of the toughest divisions in the state where championships are hard to come by. However, the 2011 Warriors have their sights set on a championship!
With the position of quarterback set with junior Justin Moore (All-Marmonte League Honorable Mention) ready to take the reins, two players will compete for the #2 spot. Sophomore, Tommy Gonzales (started for the sophomore team as a freshman last year) and junior Neil Uskali (started for Montclair Prep’s varsity team after playing quarterback at Westlake as a freshman) have looked very impressive during the spring. Both have the ability to lead and outstanding throwing ability. In fact, Coach Benkert believes that the quarterback depth might be the strongest in the history of the program.
Making the life of the Warrior quarterback easier is a very talented receiver corps led by senior, Cody Tuttle (All-Marmonte League Honorable Mention). Five other seniors, Bradley Wellman, Tyler McGhee, John Hagy, Garrett Hardy, and Diego Medina will be joined by juniors, Gianarro Capri, Jake Rothschiller, Kyle Rothschiller, Eli Ashton, Jachwa Dolne, Devin Jury, Christian Bernal, Brennan Rourke, Bryan Baldwin, Tohtahun Menseitov, Donovan Aldridge and Efren Phillips; making this an inexperienced but talented group. Add three promising sophomores, Cole Hair, Alex Egurbide and Justin Fabiculanan and you have the makings of a tremendous group.
The tight end position is in the capable hands of senior, Johnny Stuart, who saw significant playing time the last two seasons and junior Kyle Rothschiller is becoming a force.
The throw game will not be the only threat opposing coaches will be fretting over! A group of fast, exciting running backs will be competing for playing time led by returning letterman, Adam Augustyn (an injured back has hampered his progress over the spring). Junior, Dashon Hunt (All-CIF, All-Ventura County, All-Marmonte League Defensive Back) will also see action in the offensive backfield. Junior, Jarrius Bishop showed a combination of power and speed last year on the sophomore team and senior, Zach Mumford had a great spring; both are ready to contribute. Seniors, Akin Wilson, Matt Baynard (missed spring practice due to baseball) and Jose Muguerza as well as junior, Dylan Ray may also see time in the offensive backfield. Senior, Vincent Goldberg has made the switch to running back. The coaching staff has been pleasantly surprised by the depth at this position!
Protecting the quarterback and opening the running lanes will be the offensive line. Returning starters, seniors Keith Ramljak (All-Ventura County and All-Marmonte League 1st Team selection), Jordie Hannel (All-Marmonte League 2nd Team selection), Anthony Davanzo (Daily News 2nd Team All-Area Selection), Javier Aguilera (All-League Honorable Mention) and junior, Tony Mekari (All-League Honorable Selection) will lead an experienced group into the trenches. Junior, Brennan Ray has been battle tested by playing on the varsity line last year. Seniors, Brandon Grady and David Nunez have worked hard for an opportunity. Juniors, Jefferson Hagan, Shayne Henley, Beau Hunsicker, Joey Rosinski, Robert Flores, and Adam Arnaout all are knocking at the door, looking for playing time.
The kicking duties seem to be in good hands (or feet!) with two time All-CiF, All-Ventura County & All-Marmonte League place kicker/ punter senior, Alex Ball. Snappers, Sodie Orr and Randy Sue both return.
Coach Richard Fong begins his fifth year of his second stint as Defensive Coordinator for the Warriors. He will continue the great tradition of an aggressive swarming defense led by returning junior cornerback, Dashon Hunt (All-State, All-CiF, 1st Team All-Ventura County and 1st Team All-Marmonte League) roaming the secondary.
Westlake has produced some of the best middle linebackers to come out of the area. Senior David Ortiz promises to be another one! At 6’1”, 220 pounds he looks to have the size and speed to be the next in a long line of great players. Senior, Jose Muguerza (All-Marmonte League 2ndTeam selection) has been impressive at the Rock position with junior, Dylan Ray (All-Marmonte League Honorable Mention) returning at the outside Bandit position. Seniors, Zack Mumford, Cody Martin, Tanner Mix, and Garrett Hardy along with juniors, Kyle Rothschiller, Devin Ray, Clayton Johnson, and Andrew DeMello will compete for starting spots. Gino Arnaout is new to the position and working hard.
The Defensive Line will be anchored by Justin Solis (All-State, All-CiF, Ventura County and Marmonte League Defensive Lineman of the Year) and Kenneth Ah-Ching (1st Team All-Marmonte League) the outside end positions are in the capable hands of Johnny Stuart (1stTeam All-Marmonte League) and Shayne Henley (All-Marmonte Honorable Mention). Junior, Tony Mekari looks to break into a starting spot by the first game and juniors, Brennan Ray, Beau Hunsicker and Robert Flores have been very impressive. There is plenty of competition at all four defensive line positions with seniors, Sam Asghari, David Nunez, Jose Aldana, Aaron Gottlieb, Jake Knapp and juniors, Irvin Diaz, Isaac Taylor and Kyle Erickson.
The defensive secondary has been a constant force over the last few years, and this year is no exception. Senior Rami Saifan is healthy and ready for action at the safety spot and fellow seniors Bradley Wellman, Tyler McGhee, Nathan Fan, Matt Baynard, Ray Rangel, Vincent Goldberg and Akin Wilson appear ready for action. Juniors, Justin Moore, Jake Rothschiller, Chris Hayes, Bryan Baldwin and sophomore, Cole Hair will be competing for a starting position. And, don’t forget Dashon Hunt is only going to be a junior!
With tremendous competition at virtually every position and the knowledge of what it takes to win a championship, the 2011 Warriors look to again be a title contender. Athletes want to be a part of a winning tradition. We have established this tradition by quality coaching, a strong booster organization, community and school support. We’ve played on Fox Sports West 12 times over the last 10 years, achieved the # 1 state ranking, won three CIF and competed against the top teams in California. 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.