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Prep football: The journey finally begins

SCCS football prepares for its first taste of 11-man football

Posted: September 8, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 8, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Santa Clarita Christian School senior wide receiver Chris Fechtelkotter will be featured heavily in his team’s offense.

It’s time to see how far the Cardinals have come.

After spending more than a decade in 8-man football, which saw Santa Clarita Christian win back-to-back CIF championships in 2008 and 2009, the Cardinals will be on the road at Lucerne Valley at 7 p.m. Friday in their first contest as an 11-man football squad.

The nearly two-hour trek may be a long way to travel for a high school football team, but head coach Garrick Moss is happy to do it.

“You always worry about how the guys will travel, but they’re excited. They can’t wait for Friday,” Moss said. “It will be a long trip. … You’d love to start with a home game, but we’re thankful we’ve got them on our schedule.”

Also making its debut for SCCS Friday night will be the Cardinals’ new-look offense, designed to spread the ball out and augment a passing game that has largely played second fiddle to SCCS’s run-first mentality during 8-man competition.

Quarterback Connor Harvey is charged with leading the new offense. Moss said Harvey looked good during the Cardinals’ scrimmage last week and during this week’s practices.

Harvey will look to get the ball in the hands of wide receivers Chris Fechtelkotter, Ethan Vernon and Jacob Nogel. Moss said all three have shown a knack for both catching the ball and blocking for running backs Trevor Lopez and Derek Lewis.

Against Lucerne Valley, both running backs will get carries as Moss works both of the sophomores into the offensive scheme.

“Offensively, we want to be balanced,” Moss said. “Mix it up with pass and throw, keep them off guard. We want to definitely be wise with our game plan and playcalling.”

The biggest weakness for the Cardinals might be their offensive and defensive lines, which will enter the game at a size disadvantage.

“(Lucerne Valley is) a lot bigger than us on the line,” Moss said. “Their offensive line and defensive lines outweigh us for sure, so that’s going to be a challenge to move around.”

Nonetheless, Moss thinks his squad is ready for the challenge.

“I think our guys are capable of doing the job to get us a push, to open up some lanes to run,” Moss said. “But a lot of the time on that offensive and defensive line, it’s more heart than size. I’ll take a small, athletic line if they get after it.”

Lucerne Valley is coming off a 41-20 loss to Webb High on Sept. 3 and will be looking for a win in its home matchup with the Cardinals.

As is often the case, Moss thinks the turnover battle could prove key Friday night.

“The biggest thing is going to be the turnover ratio, taking care of the ball,” Moss said. “We’ve got to have great ball control and not give them momentum. The team that turns the ball over more will probably lose.”

The Cardinals have come a long way since their first 11-man practices. Now, it’s time to see if they’ve come far enough to win.

“If we can come out and get our first win, that would be a big confidence boost going into next week,” Moss said. “We’re doing everything we can do to prepare for Lucerne. This is the game we’ve had marked on our schedule for a long time.”


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