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Hilltop Lancers looking to pass championship test Phillip Brents | Fri, Sep 02 2011 12:33 AM

The Hilltop Lancers tasted a measure of success last season by recording a runner-up finish in the Metro Conference’s reformatted South Bay League standings while also earning a trip to the first-round game of the San Diego Section Division II playoffs.

The Lancers ended their season 5-6 with a 35-13 loss to the La Costa Canyon Mavericks after finishing their modest league schedule with a 2-1 record.

Hilltop recorded victories last season against University City, Mission Bay, Chula Vista (35-14 in the Kiwanis Bowl), Southwest and San Ysidro. Of the Lancers’ six losses, two came by fewer than four points.

Hilltop will be looking to climb up the league standings under second-year head coach Jon Cody Roelof.

“We finished second in league and we made the playoffs,” Roelof said. “We are looking to build on last year’s success. We graduated 31 seniors last year, so we will be looking to fill a lot of starting roles this year. If our younger players are able to step up to the challenge, then we should have a successful season.”

The team’s top returners are led by senior quarterback Omar Hernandez, a first team all-league pick in 2010.

Hernandez has established himself as one of the section’s elite passers. He threw for 1,626 yards and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore and racked up 1,418 passing yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior. Besides his strong arm, Hernandez can also run the ball. He rushed for 547 yards and scored eight touchdowns in 2009 and scampered for 662 yards and nine TDs last year.

Senior receiver Paul “P.J.” Greene earned second team all-league recognition last season after hauling in nine aerials for 125 yards and two touchdowns.

Senior tight end/linebacker Angelo Garcia returns as do three experienced senior offensive linemen: Claudio Narez-Ortiz, Samuel Aleman and Christian Leonor.

Impact newcomers include junior offensive lineman Andrew Baynes, senior offensive lineman Jonatan Velezquez, junior running back Dustin Downs, senior tight end/linebacker Abraham Gonzalez, senior defensive back Dylan Griffin, junior wide receiver Sergio Martinez, junior linebacker Alex Tamayo, junior defensive lineman Jovan Vera, senior receiver/defensive back Ian Moses and senior receiver Jonathan Ruiz.

Baynes, Velezquez, Downs and Gonzalez are all transfers while Griffin, Martinez, Tamayo and Vera are all making the jump from the junior varsity level.

Hilltop kicks off its season with a Sept. 2 game against visiting University City (OK, Hooligans, get excited!), followed by another home game on Sept. 9 against Patrick Henry.

The Lancers defend their Kiwanis Bowl championship Sept. 16 in a cross-town match-up at Chula Vista. Hilltop hosts defending Grossmont Valley League co-champion El Capitan on Sept. 30 and tackles Bonita Vista in another non-league home contest on Oct. 7 before traveling to Castle Park on Oct. 14.

The Lancers host Montgomery on Oct. 21, then kick off league play with an Oct. 28 home game against Southwest. Hilltop plays at Mar Vista on Nov. 4 in a rematch of last year’s championship game. The Lancers close out regular season play at San Ysidro on Nov. 10.

Hilltop Lancers 2011 Schedule
2: University City at Hilltop
9: Patrick Henry at Hilltop
16: Hilltop at Chula Vista
23: Bye
30: El Capitan at Hilltop
7: Bonita Vista at Hilltop
14: Hilltop at Castle Park
21: Montgomery at Hilltop
28: Southwest at Hilltop
4: Hilltop at Mar Vista
10: Hilltop at San Ysidro

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