The Warriors began last season with huge questions, and ended the season with all of the answers as the Warriors captured their fourth CiF and 13th League Championship. Last season’s pre-season polls listed the Warriors anywhere from second to fourth in the ultra competitive Marmonte League. But the young Warriors grew up in a hurry and made believers of every team in the division and finished the regular year with the programs third undefeated season. Yes…the Warriors did lose their last game, a humbling defeat at the hands of De La Salle High School in the State Open Bowl Game. But, that defeat did not dampen the joy and pride that this group of players achieved throughout the year. Hard work, dedicated coaches, commitment and discipline combined to power the “band of brothers” to another CiF Championship. “Our goal 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 2012, we will not sneak up on anybody; in fact, the Warriors will be circled on every team’s calendar. if we proved anything last year, it is that we have something very special here”. The momentum from that playoff run last year could continue in 2012 with the help of four returning offensive starters and four defensive returners. in all, 31 squadmen return from last year’s team, 23 juniors are up from the sophomore team and a few players have made the jump from the freshman squad. “The entire coaching staff is eagerly awaiting this season. We feel confident in the potential of this team to again compete for a Championship”.
One thing for sure is that the typically high-octane passing attack is sure to continue. Two returning players have been working hard to earn the starting spot. Senior, Neil Uskali has shown the knowledge and ability to become the starter after a year of back up duty. Junior, Tommy Gonzales challenges with a strong arm and determination. Both players, along with junior transfer, Chase Gardella have had a productive spring and look to compete throughout the summer.
To say the group of receivers is talented is an understatement. Coach Benkert said, “this group of receivers is as talented as any to set foot on the field.” Speed, hands and depth…what more could you ask for? Led by All-Marmonte League Honorable Mention, senior Jake Rothschiller, this group has the potential to be exceptional.“Jake showed last year that he has the ability to be a dominant player,” said Coach Benkert. Junior Alex Egurbide has picked up where he left off last season as a big time prospect. Seniors Eli Ashton and James Rodriguez have shown throughout the spring that size is secondary to desire. Both have tremendous catching ability.
Juniors, Justin Fabiculanan, Tyler Sauvageau and Cole Hair have solidified themselves into the rotation with their spring performances. Seniors, Kyle Rothschiller, Donovan Aldridge and junior, Lexi Isham have been impressive at times. Several others will be competing for playing time including seniors Chris Hayes and Devin Jury as well as juniors Colton Sper, Travis Harper and Andrew Sherwood. Sophomores Ronald Carter, Jesse Cuccia, Klayton Wood and Andre Baccellia (injured all spring) will get a good look throughout the summer. Senior Tight Ends Nick Caldwell and Kyle Erickson will compete for playing time and sophomore Hunter Mattox looks to be a real talent!
Graduation hit the offensive line hard as only one returning starter remains. However, several players earned valuable playing time and look to be ready to step in. Returning All-Marmonte League 2nd Team selection, senior Tony Mekari is the lone returner. He has worked hard in the off- season developing strength and adding 10 pounds to his 6’3” frame. The coaches are very high on senior Jefferson Hagen (6’4” 290) who had two starts last year and gained experience each day in practice. Senior Brennan Ray looks to be a year stronger and ready to play both sides of the ball. Seniors Devin Ray, Joey Rosinski and Adam Arnaout together with junior Alex Lux have shown tremendous improvement and look to be positioned for significant playing time. Seniors Shayne Henley and Beau Hunsicker look to add needed depth at the position as they will both start on defense. Sophomore Fred Wise (6’5” 300) has been impressive during spring drills. Senior Kevin Barati is new to the game and Sophomores Patrick Mekari and Zach Updike have the size and athletic ability to compete.
With Marmonte League Co-Player of the Year, All-CiF and All-Ventura County tailback Dashon Hunt in the backfield the running game is in very capable hands. Dashon has the ability to score every time he touches the ball. Senior Jarrius Bishop has increased his effort over the spring and senior Dylan Ray returns to the offensive backfield. Junior, Dakota Lasley, has shown tremendous improvement and a knack of catching the ball. Super sophomores Quincy Bennett, Reno Dubreuil, Ramon Harper, Nick Sapienza and Jayln Harrison are all capable of carrying the rock and are explosive backs.
The Warriors will continue the great tradition of an aggressive swarming defense led by four returning starters; many receiving high accolades and honors. The mission is to be one year better than last year and if the off-season work ethic is any indication, this group looks to be as good as any team to wear the blue and orange.
Anchoring the defensive line will be seniors, Shayne Henley 6’3” 245 (2nd Team All-Marmonte League) and Tony Mekari 6’3” 255 (2nd Team All-Marmonte League) both have the ability to dominate. But wait, there is more! Seniors, Beau Hunsicker (All-Marmonte League Honorable Mention), Kyle Erickson and Brennan Ray all emerged into defensive line specialists last year. Senior Irvin Diaz along with juniors Alex Lux, Chris Klifman, Zach Miller, Christian Zavala & Isaac Taylor are all capable of competing for a starting spot and the coaches are waiting for sophomore Hunter Mattox to recover from injury.
Although both starting inside linebackers have graduated, don’t think for an instant that this position is depleted. Senior Devin Ray and junior Austin Goslin have the speed and ability to play at a high level. Returning 2nd Team All- Marmonte League Outside Linebacker Dylan Ray will bring leadership and aggressiveness to the position. Fellow Outside Linebacker senior Kyle Rothschiller (All-Marmonte League Honorable Mention) had a great junior season. Senior Clayton Johnson and junior Kameron Butler have shown tremendous leadership and improvement. Sophomores Quincy Bennett and Reno Dubreuil have the ability to dominate. Junior Joe Garcia continues to improve after off-season shoulder surgery. Juniors Donald Schmitz and Jaughvan Dixon are starting to develop. Junior Darius Pago and sophomore Noah Karras have both had a good spring.
The secondary looks to be another strong position for the Warriors with Air Force All-American, All- CiF, All-Ventura County and Co-Marmonte League Player of the Year, senior Dashon Hunt leading the way. Senior cornerback Chris Hayes has waited patiently for his opportunity and looked good during spring ball. Seniors Eli Ashton, Jake Rothschiller and James Rodriguez continue to impress. Juniors Tyler Sauvageau, Lexi Isham, Cole Hair and Dakota Lasley can flat play!
The kicking game appears to be improving as junior Jonathan Weilbacher looks to be ready to step into the shoes of All-Everything graduate, Alex Ball.