Fri, Sep 02 2011 12:45 AM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The Chula Vista Spartans were in an admittedly rebuilding mode last season. The result was a 2-8 season finish behind sophomore quarterback Ricky Estevez. The Spartans expect to be improved in 2011, according to head coach Judd Rachow.
“This is a lot different team than last year,” the CVHS coach said. “These kids have been working their tails off since January. They’re very close knit. Win, lose or draw, they want to compete and give it their best shot.”
Rachow certainly has to be encouraged by the results over the summer. The Spartans went 3-0 in round-robin play at July’s South County Passing Tournament at Southwestern College and capped play with a quarterfinal round appearance in the championship playoff bracket.
The Spartans defeated Santa Fe Christian (31-18), Bonita Vista (40-30) and the Rock Academy (35-27) in round-robin play, then upended Cathedral Catholic, 29-27, to meet Valhalla in the quarterfinals. The Norsemen captured a hotly contested match-up that went down to the final seconds to enable them to eventually record a runner-up finish to Helix in the championship game.
CVHS finished 5-1 over the course of the two-day event.
The Spartans finished 1-1-1 at their own passing tournament later in the month. They opened the day with a 23-23 tie against eventual tournament champion La Jolla while defeating Montgomery, 36-21, and dropping a 28-20 contest to Bonita Vista.
Estevez, who passed for 1,182 yards and seven touchdowns last season, looks much more confident and comfortable in passing formations this year.
Key targets include junior receiver Ray Holden, senior slot-back Isaac Martinez, junior receiver Richard Walker, senior fullback/linebacker Rudy Jaimes and senior running back/linebacker Donovan Mendez.
Holden made several sensation catches at the South County passing tourney. He grabbed 34 balls for 476 receiving yards and three touchdowns last season while also rushing 21 times for 103 yards.
Mendez rushed for 380 yards and scored two touchdowns while Walker had 17 catches for 276 yards and one score. Jaimes had 18 carries for 65 yards and a pair of touchdowns while making four receptions for 33 yards.
Bigger numbers are expected from these returners this season.
Other impact players include sophomore middle linebacker Hui Wolfgramm, senior defensive tackle/defensive end Michael Molina and junior lineman David Zavala.
The Spartans will get a measure of their playoff mettle with a key non-league game at Granite Hills to kick off the 2011 regular season. The Eagles qualified for last year’s playoffs and, with both teams in Division I, the outcome of the season opener could very well end up determining which team advances to post-season play.
Chula Vista hosts Sweetwater in the teams’ annual Legacy of Pride game on Sept. 9 and hosts Hilltop the following week in the teams’ annual Kiwanis Bowl match-up.
Chula Vista is on the road for a marquee non-league match-up against Division I runner-up Mira Mesa on Sept. 30 and hosts Brawley on Oct. 7 before traveling to Eastlake on Oct. 14 for its Mesa League opener.
The Spartans host Bonita Vista in a key league game on Oct. 21 and play at Olympian on Oct. 28 before hosting Otay Ranch on Nov. 4.
Chula Vista closes out regular season play with a Nov. 10 non-league game at Aliso Viejo.
Optimism reigns in the Spartan camp.
“We had a great summer,” Rachow underscored. “In the passing leagues, I just wanted us to compete and play well. We played well as a team, and our offense played well. I’m very happy with how things have gone so far.”
Chula Vista Spartans 2011 Schedule
2: Chula Vista at Granite Hills
9: Sweetwater at Chula Vista
16: Hilltop at Chula Vista
30: Chula Vista at Mira Mesa
7: Brawley at Chula Vista
14: Chula Vista at Eastlake
21: Bonita Vista at Chula Vista
28: Chula Vista at Olympian
4: Otay Ranch at Chula Vista
10: Chula Vista at Aliso Viejo
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