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Looking ahead to Foothill ‘09

A forward glance at the potential football landscape next season

Posted: December 28, 2008 8:41 p.m.
Updated: December 29, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Valencia wide receiver Zach Tartabull (80) breaks a would-be Lancer tackle from Joe Navarro (85) on Sept. 12 in Thousand Oaks. Tartabull will be a senior next year, potentially bringing his league-leading 1,118 receiving yards back for the Vikings.

 
Two vacant head coaching positions.

Graduating seniors.

Teams looking to return to former glory.

We are less than one month removed from the final game of the 2008 football season, but one cannot help but look at what lies ahead next year in the Foothill League.

Saugus ended the season as the league's most decorated team, claiming the Foothill title, their first in school history, and taking home three of the top four primary All-League awards.

Senior quarterback Desi Rodriguez was named the Player of the Year, senior running back Ryan Zirbel was the Offensive Player of the Year and senior lineman Robert Donathan won the Lineman of the Year honor.

There are two themes among the three players - superior play and final year of eligibility.

The Centurions will lose 19 seniors including Rodriguez, Zirbel, Donathan, Kollin Depew, Joe Rojales, Mario Lara, and Nick Patterson.

Aside from the aforementioned playmakers on offense and defense, there is potentially an even more problematic loss for Saugus.

With graduation, the Centurions will have to say goodbye to one of the most dominant lines in the league.

Justin Peacock, Justin Wells, Daniel Cordova, Tyler Steen and Jonathan Harris will all be gone next season.

Current junior, Zach Gauthier will likely take the helm of the offense.

Gauthier only attempted 10 passes this season, but will have the luxury of throwing to wide receiver Manny Padron, who will be in his senior season.

Other top returners from the varsity roster could include Adam Torres who will be a senior and Adrian Cruz who will be a junior, both listed as running back/linebackers. Defensive back Jon Aguirre a current junior and lineman Melqui Lemus, currently a junior could also be back.

Head coach Jason Bornn will have a lot of new faces in the starting lineup next season.

In contrast, Valencia will return many familiar names.

Juniors, wide receiver Zach Tartabull, Rocky Maldonado, Brock Vereen, Trevor Smyth and Kevin Rush as well as sophomore quarterback Alex Bishop could all be back.

Bishop was 38-of-62 for 684 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions, most of which came against Birmingham, Palmdale and Hueneme on Sept. 19, 26, and Oct. 3, respectfully, when he filled in for the injured Dominick Solley.

Solley will be one player missing from the lineup next year, along with running back Jordan Thompson, receiver Adam Gutierrez, kicker Greg Drake, lineman Cody Letz and Defensive Player of the Year, Drew Lavoise.

The Vikings finished second in league this year, but Valencia may already be favored to win the Foothill in 2009 once infused with some of the talent in the junior varsity ranks.

Valencia's JV team lost only one game this season - by two points to league champion, Canyon
Look for head coach Larry Muir's team to continue their stellar play in 2009.

Two teams looking for a return to prominence are Hart and Canyon.

Shaking off early-season struggles, head coach Mike Herrington got Hart back on track and made the playoffs for the 20th time in his 20-year tenure.

Although the team will lose such competitors as Spenser Souza, Demitri Diamond, Matt Barrera, Michael Aguilar, Ted Glasnow, Brandon Cox, Nick Ovendale and Adam Bouyer, Hart has a lot to be positive about in the coming year.

Junior running back Jake Stephens powered his way onto the scene this season and will look to build upon his 893 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

Also likely returning are juniors, running back Nate Allmond, defensive back Ty MacArthur and receiver Blake Borland, as the Indians prepare to usher in the possibility of the C.J. Reyes era at quarterback.

On the flip side of the Hart and Canyon rivalry, the Cowboys will be forced to replace two of the league top three leaders in receiving yards and the leader in passing yards.

Quarterback Jordan Adamczyk's 2,622 yards and 27 touchdowns will not be easy to replicate. Canyon may look to Jonathan Jerozal for answers.

Jerozal was the only other Cowboy to take a snap this season and led the freshman team to a share of the league title.

He will be a sophomore next season.

Wide receivers Chris Rivas and Kevin Voogt finished the season ranked No. 2 and 3, respectively in the league in yards receiving. They, along with Charlie Cusumano leave the receiving corps thin for 2009.

Also graduating are running back Geffen Camp, linebacker Nate Marroquin and lineman Japheth Gordon.

With all the changes among these four Foothill League mainstays, Canyon, Hart, Saugus and Valencia all look to be in good shape in comparison to the changes taking place at Golden Valley and West Ranch.

Both programs are in need of head coaches and some sort of jolt that will get them over the hump in league play.

Neither the Grizzlies nor the Wildcats have beaten a Foothill League opponent.

Golden Valley will be graduating the league's No. 2 tackler with 126 in Jon Schlegel, running back Richard Sarabia, wide receiver Bino Horne and lineman Michael Marshall, among others.

Good news is that the Grizzlies will have junior Joseph Figueroa next season, the league's leader in tackles with 129 and junior quarterback James Hughes, who will be in his second year starting under center.

For West Ranch, the turnover will be far more dramatic.

Quarterback Jake Bernards will be gone, as will running backs Trent Yokofich and Ross Bacon, linebackers Spencer Ortega and Geoffrey Ernst, the league's No. 4 receiver Frankie Madero, and first team all-League lineman Robert Waterman.

Whoever takes over these two programs will have a lot of work to do.

With so much still up in the air, the questions remaining are proof-positive that it is never too early to look towards next season.


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