Castle Park Trojans hope to seize championship in revamped league
Will this finally be the year the Castle Park Trojans hang a league championship banner in their gym? Just maybe.
CPHS head coach Hans Graham remains the eternal optimist — and his team’s biggest cheer leader.
“We have 15 starters coming back,” Graham noted. “It’s the same bunch of individuals we had last year — they’ve just figured some things out.”
The Trojans will continue to run their vaunted wing-T offense, though with senior Jordan Danielson as the starting quarterback this year.
The multi-talented Danielson passed for 529 yards and one touchdown in 2013 while making strides with 420 rushing yards and seven scores. He also had six catches for 70 yards and a touchdown.
Graham did say the offense will include a few new twists this season.
Other top returners include junior running back/ wide receiver Luq Barcoo, senior wide receiver Adrian Tolbert, senior slot Mylik Steen and senior receiver/running back Angel Sales.
Steen rushed for 407 yards and six touchdowns last season while snaring 19 catches for 131 yards and one score. He finished 2013 with 1,310 all-purpose yards, including punt returns and interception returns. He led the team with 10 touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, Steen had five picks and one fumble recovery to go with 49 tackles.
Barcoo led the team last season with 83 tackles while making four interceptions and recovering one fumble, He also had one TD reception on offense.
Tolbert, at 6-4 one of the conference’s taller players, had one pick and caught two touchdown passes while Sales had one rushing score.
The team’s depth is further buttressed by senior linemen Angel Juarez (6-6, 230) and Alessandro Torres (250), junior linebacker Alonso Pereyda (250) and junior defensive back Angelo Trujillo.
Castle Park is taking some momentum into this season after a notably successful summer season during which the team advanced as far as the winners bracket semifinals of July’s eighth annual South County Passing Tournament.
“When you win, it’s infectious,” the CPHS coach said.
The Trojans will boast solid offensive and defensive lines this season, led by eight juniors.
“We’ll have three or four guys going both ways,” noted Graham, whose team dropped a 20-0 decision to University City in the opening round of last year’s Division IV playoffs to finish 5-6 in the win/loss ledger. “We’re looking to be successful. I think we’re strong on both sides of the football.”
Graham said his team will be looking to make its own luck this year.
“We have always had bad luck and a lot last year,” he explained. “I think we had some good teams in the past but never got the lucky bounce. I think luck always plays into it.”
As for winning a league title? Those odds appear to have improved with the revamped lineup this season in the Metro-Pacific League. San Ysidro and Southwest replace former league champions Sweetwater and Mater Dei Catholic, both of which have departed to play in the rival Metro-South Bay League.
“We want to win league,” Graham said. “We want to be league champs and play in the playoffs. The goals have come back like in the old days: the kids want to rekindle the tradition and play like CIF champions. They want rings.”
Montgomery Aztecs looking once again to contend for league title
otball team earned a trip to the San Diego Section playoffs last season, finishing 4-7 with a narrow 10-7 setback to Southwest El Centro in post-season action.
Montgomery coach Ted Jarumayan is hoping for improved fortunes in 2014, possibly including a league title as the Otay Mesa squad competes in a more user-friendly Metro-Pacific League.
“We’re hoping to compete and make every game count,” he said. “We’ve set our schedule to play Division IV teams (seven of the team’s 10 games). We had four wins in Division IV last year — we’re looking to do the same thing this year.”
This year’s Aztec squad benefits from veteran experience in senior quarterback Nate Aragon, a third-year varsity player. Aragon (5-10, 185) averaged 74.8 passing yards per game last season.
Montgomery’s entire offensive line returns — always a plus when rushing the football.
Back on the line are seniors Alfredo Gutierrez (6-9, 330), Ernesto Sanchez (6-3, 250), Brendan Guerra (5-10, 255), Miguel Ballesteros (5-10, 245) and Cesar Jocobo (6-3, 270).
Gutierrez has already generated interest from collegiate programs; Ballesteros is a returning Metro Conference wrestling champion.
Returning seniors include strong safety/wide receiver Alex Moore (6-2, 190) and tight end/middle linebacker Jordan Trombly (6-2, 215).
Jarumayan said returning cornerback Jason Simmons is capable of being a “hard hitter with anybody.”
Other returners include senior fullback/linebacker Christian Robles (5-10, 225) and senior offensive-defensive lineman Rolando Sanchez (6-2, 275).
Junior receiver/defensive back Jacob Lippman (5-10, 175) leads the team’s newcomers along with sophomore receivers Tony Parra (5-10, 175) and Jermaine Murray (6-1, 170).
Jarumayan said his team’s strength is obviously its offensive line.
“We’re returning our running back, senior Charles Crawford, who played as a 10th grader,” the Aztec coach added.
Joining Crawford (5-9, 175) in the backfield will be junior Diego Ruiz.
Other impact newcomers include junior receiver/defensive back Richard Parker (5-10, 165), junior running back/defensive back Giancarlo Sanchez (5-9, 155) and senior fullback/linebacker Jorge Ortiz (5-10, 220).
Jarumayan said team goals include to “play solid football and win the Pacific League title.”
In order to accomplish that, he said the Aztecs will need to “play team football.”
Division IV opponents in 2014 include El Cajon Valley, Clairemont, Calexico, Mater Dei Catholic, San Ysidro, Southwest and Castle Park.
Castle Park, Southwest and San Ysidro are all league opponents this season.
Montgomery topped Castle Park, 28-22, last year to win the team’s Warrior Bowl rivalry game.
Home-fed Cougars look to show well in Metro-Pacific League, Division IV playoff standings
rs definitely have a monopoly on the home field advantage this season. Whether that successfully translates into a winning season and trip to the San Diego Section playoffs, of course, remains to be seen.
But the Cougars are committed to improving and chasing their dreams, including winning the 2014 Metro-Pacific League championship.
“With 16 starters returning from last year, we look to compete for our first-ever league title and be one of the top teams in Division IV,” SYHS head coach Terry Tucker said.
The Cougars finished the 2013 season with a 3-7 record, placing last in the Metro-South Bay League. The team averaged 25 points on offense but allowed an average of 38 points per game.
San Ysidro makes the move, along with Southwest, to the Metro-Pacific League this season where they will join holdovers Castle Park and Montgomery.
The new-look league appears very competitive on paper; the Cougars, buttressed by an influx of new assistant coaches, are eager to prove it on the gridiron as well.
San Ysidro is led by all-state frosh running back Corey Maddox, who rushed for more than 600 yards and scored five touchdowns as a 14-year-old in 2013. Senior Oscar Fausto moves from the fullback position, at which he rushed for more than 300 yards last season, to take over starting duties at quarterback.
All-league senior defensive back Anthony Jenkins will look to anchor a strong defense along with senior linebackers Yael Pina and Mohammad Surkhi and Alexis Quinonez, a 6-foot-2, 280-pound junior defensive tackle.
Balance on both sides of the football appears to be the team’s strength.
Other top returning players include Fernando Gonzalez, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound senior receiver; Miguel Lara, a 6-foot junior defensive back; Angus Campos, a sophomore running back; Issac Munguia, a 5-foot-10, 270-pound junior defensive tackle; Jose Elizalde, a 5-foot-11, 250-pound junior defensive end; and Dorian Perez, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound senior offensive lineman.
Franklin Forbes, a 5-foot-9 freshman quarterback, ranks as the team’s top newcomer.
Tucker tabs both Maddox and Quinones as potential college recruits.
The Cougars kick off the season with six consecutive home games: Aug. 29 against Escondido Charter, Sept. 5 against Southwest El Centro, Sept. 12 against Orange Glen, Sept. 19 against University City, Sept. 26 against Palos Verdes Chadwick and Oct. 3 against Crawford.
Road games follow at Mar Vista (Oct. 17) and Montgomery (Oct. 24), before San Ysidro returns home to host Castle Park (Oct. 31) and Southwest (Nov. 7) in a pair of key league match-ups.
Castle Park, University City, Southwest, Montgomery, Southwest El Centro and Orange Glen are all divisional foes, which will make winning those contests even more important for the Cougars as they strive to qualify for post-season play.
Raiders set goal to have continuity in 2014
shed 1-9 in 2013. The Raiders started the season 0-9 before winning their final game of the season. Head coach Frank Paredes is seeking improved fortunes for his team in 2014.
“For us, numbers always are a challenge,” he said. “Southwest is not a football school.”
Still, the Raiders look to be more competitive in a new league after moving from the Metro-South Bay League to the Metro-Pacific League.
Southwest’s league opponents will now include Castle Park, Montgomery and San Ysidro (which also made the move between leagues).
“The league should be a little better fit for us,” Paredes noted.
Top returners include senior wide receiver/defensive back Brandon Molina and senior quarterback Christian Silva along with junior wide receiver/defensive back Ruben Solis, senior running back/linebacker Moses Robles, junior running back/wide receiver/defensive back Alejandro Del Toro and senior Chris Cruz.
Molina caught 26 passes for 623 yards and six touchdowns to lead the team in scoring in 2013 while Silva had four touchdown receptions as a receiver to rank in a tie for second in team scoring.
Top newcomers include junior receiver/defensive back Adrian Samano and junior defensive end/offensive lineman Ricardo Mayou.
Paredes said the key to success for his team “is to have continuity.”
“We have some good players but what we need is team play — hard work, to compete and finish,” he noted. “Players must be fully committed to the sport and the team for the entire season. We need hard work on a consistent basis without excuses — day in an day out, If that happens, then we will be successful regardless of the win/loss column.”
Metro Conference Football Rankings
(CalPreps Preseason Power Ratings)
1. Eastlake Titans 46.9
2. Sweetwater Red Devils 25.7
3. Olympian Eagles 23.7
4. Hilltop Lancers 21.5
5. Chula Vista Spartans 19.8
6. Bonita Vista Barons 13
7. Otay Ranch Mustangs 6.7
8. Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders -1
9. Castle Park Trojans -3.3
10. Mar Vista Mariners -4.2
11. Montgomery Aztecs -17.7
12. San Ysidro Cougars -31.6
13. Southwest Raiders -39.7
1. Eastlake Titans, 2. Olympian Eagles, 3. Chula Vista Spartans, 4. Bonita Vista Barons, 5. Otay Ranch Mustangs
Metro-South Bay League
1. Sweetwater Red Devils, 2. Hilltop Lancers, 3. Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders, 4. Mar Vista Mariners
1. Castle Park Trojans, 2. Montgomery Aztecs, 3. San Ysidro Cougars, 4. Southwest Raiders
San Diego Section Football Rankings
(CalPreps Preseason Power Ratings)
1. Cathedral Catholic 55.4
1. Mission Hills 55.4
3. St. Augustine 53.5
4. Oceanside 52.5
5. Helix 49.8
6. Eastlake 46.9
7. San Pasqual 45.0
8. Ramona 43.9
9. El Capitan 40.3
10. Carlsbad 38.3
11. Rancho Buena Vista 37.6
12. Torrey Pines 34.8
13. Grossmont 34.5
14. La Costa Canyon 32.7
15. Mission Bay 31.8