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2012 Manzanita League football preview

08/25/2012, 1:14pm PDT
By Rick Davis, Special to the U-T

Beefy offensive line paves way for Holtville

MUST-SEE LIST

Offense: Calipatria QB Evan Franklin, with nearly 1,000 yards in total offense in 2011, was solid in summer passing league.

Defense: Holtville tackle Jose Sandoval is a first-team all-leaguer who led the Vikings in tackles and sacks the last two seasons.

Game: Calipatria at Holtville, Nov. 1, 7 p.m.

•?Teams in predicted order of finish.

HOLTVILLE

Last year: 9-3

Coach: Keith Smith Jr., 4th year

Key players: Jose Sandoval (OT-DT), Steven Drye (QB-LB), Clay Bowler (RB-DB), Alfredo Mendoza (RB-DB), David Lucero (TE-DB), Lance Angulo (OL-DE), Dakota Whalen (C-DT), Joe Lizarraga (OL-DT), Ben Abatti (TE-LB), David Torres (OL-DT).

Scouting report: The offensive line returns all but one 2011 starter, including 300-plus-pounders Lizarraga and Torres. That’s a bonus for Bowler, who — as a sophomore — rushed for more than 900 yards and was first-team all-league despite missing the last 4½ games with an injury. Smith likes the overall quality of his starters but said if injuries hit he will be scrambling for backups ready for varsity duty.

CALIPATRIA

Last year: 7-4

Coach: David Shaw, 5th year

Key players: Evan Franklin (QB), Mike Medina (RB-DB), Jacob Whannel (RB), Eric Chavez (RB), David Manglallan (WR), Aaron Chabolla (OL), Jorge Gutierrez (OL), Tony Gonzalez (DL), Chris Flores (LB), Alvaro Baltierra (DB).

Scouting report: Medina figures for a stellar senior season after being named the league’s defensive MVP last fall despite being undersized at 5-feet-5 and 140 pounds. He also rushed for a team-high 860 yards. A year ago, the Hornets started 6-1 before losing three of their last four games, including a 50-11 playoff meltdown to Horizon. The 2011 backfield (Medina, Whannel, Franklin and Chavez) returns, plus eight defensive starters.

MOUNTAIN EMPIRE

Last year: 9-2

Coach: Bill Dobson, 2nd year

Key players: Darice Aguayo (RB-DB), Troy Clark (OL-DL), Larry Hollingsworth (TD-DL), Alex Curiel (OL-DL), James McIntyre (OL-DL), Andrew Pittman (OL-DL), Joe Silva (OL-DL), Rhagheem Wells (QB-LB), Jake White (OL-DL), William Wilson (RB-DB).

Scouting report: The Redhawks graduated six two-way starters, including QB Matt Dessel, who completed only seven of 14 passes in a run-oriented offense, but six completions went for TDs. Wells or Aguayo will fill his shoes, each having completed one pass in 2011, but it was a TD strike. Aguayo also averaged 17.6 yards on 23 rushes. Two of last season’s top three rushers return, led by No. 2 Wilson (944 yards, 8 TDs, 7.4-yard average). Defense? The line is experienced, but the secondary has three new starters.

FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN

Last year: 4-6

Coach: Thom Lubic, 3rd year

Key players: Kyle Moberg (QB), Spencer George (RB), De’andre Brown (RB), Trevor Tinney (WR), Andrew Hedgecock (WR-DB), Cody Garboni (OL-DL), Zack Tomlin (WR-DB), Aaron Roedell (OL-DL).

Scouting report: A year ago, the Knights surged to a 3-0 start, then were 4-1, before careening to five straight losses. Moberg returns after throwing for 607 yards and rushing for 168 (No. 3 on the team) in an offense that averaged only 12.8 points per game. Top rusher George (528 yards, 7.3 average) is back, as well as No. 4 Brown (133), plus Tinney, whose 14 receptions were second among receivers.

VINCENT MEMORIAL

Last year: 5-4

Coach: Daniel Acuna Galvez, 2nd year

Key players: Jose Bustamante (RB), Daniel Acuna (QB), Richardo Mercado (RB-SS), Jose Vildosola (LB-TE), Juan Soberanes (MLB-OG), Raul Flores (OL-DL), Andres Sanchez (OL-DL), Daniel Palma (QB), Juan Carlos Cueva (WR-S), Jeronimo Aldrete (LB-TE).

Scouting report: The Scots graduated their top three rushers, leaving Bustamante (35 carries, 185 yards) and Palma (16.6 average on 11 attempts) as top returnees. Acuna figures to improve off a sophomore campaign (22 completions and 311 yards in 67 attempts). Last fall, Vincent won its final two games, shedding the doldrums of a three-game losing streak that preceded it and finishing in a tie for third at 2-2 in the Manzanita standings, behind co-champions Calipatria and Holtville (3-1) — the latter being toppled by the Scots in a 19-16 upset.

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