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Prep football: Hart JV not set back by varsity call-ups

Posted: August 28, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 28, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Given last year’s success at the freshman level, Hart High junior varsity football was supposed to be set up for a dominant season in the Foothill League this year.

What JV head coach Dan Cota didn’t anticipate was losing six sophomores to the varsity team.
Fortunately, that’s turned out to be a minor setback.

Based on summer passing camps, Hart is looking just fine.

“This is a very competitive league,” Cota said. “I can’t speak for the line, but in the 7-on-7, we’re always in a battle with Canyon, we’re always in a battle with Valencia.”

Even better, the numbers are on the rise this year.

Thanks to injuries and eligibility issues, Hart struggled to keep the roster size up later in the season.

Cota recalls one game where he took the field with just 23 players.

The result was a 5-5 record and a 2-3 finish in league play that included three close losses.

“This is actually a little heavier than last year, but still not as much as years prior,” Cota said. “I see the numbers coming back in the next few years.”

This year, the JV team looks to break camp with 37 players.

Among those players is Joey Bilbo, the team’s only freshman, who will be starting at outside linebacker.

The linebacking corps will be rounded out by two-way starters Cody Shumaker and Garrett Updegraft. Shumaker will also help out at wide receiver and Updegraft will get some carries as running back.

He’ll be running behind an offensive line that has stepped in nicely in place of three losses to the varsity offense.

Mason Cruz and Tristen Zahreddine will anchor the line on both the offense and defense.

The offense will also receive contributions from running back Jonathan Choi and quarterback Chase White.

Jessie Longsinger and Andrew MacArthur are slated to play significant time at wide receiver.

For the promising group of athletes, Cota said the focus will be playing from start to finish.

“Going into halftime, we were close and up with three league games,” Cota said. “You could just kind of see it. As the game went on, you could see it was just tough for us to keep up.”

That’s where conditioning comes in, Cota said, and that’s been a big part of preseason camp this season.

Every little bit counts.


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