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New coaching staff, new attitude for Southwest Raiders Phillip Brents | Thu, Aug 30 2012 02:33 PM

Incoming head coach Frank Paredes Jr. calls it a new beginning for the Southwest High School football team. And new it is — starting with a new but what Paredes refers to as a very experienced coaching staff that he said is “committed to making a change for the better.”

“Our first goal is to be stable — Southwest has had five coaches in the last six years,” said Paredes, who previously coached at Olympian High School. “We’ve come in with a full staff. We’re hoping to show that with teamwork, leadership and hard work.”

New direction
While the Southwest football program has had its share of challenges recently, Paredes believes the addition of the new coaching staff has already had an impact in changing the culture for the student-athletes at the south San Diego school.

“The hard work over the spring and summer has prepared our team for the season,” Paredes said. “One of our objectives on the field is to work hard, take one practice at a time, minimize mistakes and improve our team play week-to-week.”

The new Southwest sideline boss said the Raiders will feature what he terms “a new elusive” offense and “an aggressive but versatile” defense that will help prepare them for the upcoming season.

With the support of the school, Paredes and Co. have established a tutoring program prior to practice which all athletes are required to attend to assure that student-athletes maintain a high grade-point average during the academic year. 

“With time we believe that the tutoring program will help our athletes and will increase their GPAs so that our students can, in fact, have an opportunity to attend any college of their choice,” Paredes said. “Our athletes are committed in playing at the next level and, as a staff, we are committed in preparing our athletes so they can have success in a college program.”

On the field
The Raiders finished 2-8 last season, 0-3 in Metro-South Bay League play, after seemingly making positive progress with a 5-5 finish in 2010 following a 1-9 showing in 2009 and a 0-10 campaign in 2008.

Those are numbers Paredes hopes to reverse.

Key retuning players this season include senior inside linebacker/offensive lineman Oscar Lezcano, senior cornerback/wide receiver Chris Martinez and senior middle linebacker/offensive lineman Omar Felix.

Other players being counted on include seniors Christian Corpus and Jose Magana. Both linebackers/offensive linemen; Mark Daniels, Jesus Gallegos, B.J. Martinez and R.J. Rodriguez, all wide receivers/defensive backs; Exon Harris, Bobby Rodriguez and Jay Samuel, all offensive/defensive linemen; and juniors Mace Harris (running back/defensive back) and Fernando Iniguez (offensive/defensive line).

Impact newcomers include senior Alec Romero (quarterback/linebacker) and juniors Abraham Valdez (running back/linebacker) and Dominic Villamor (quarterback/defensive back).

In order to strengthen the team for the future, Paredes said Southwest will not field a junior varsity team in 2012,  only varsity and freshman units.

“We are moving all returning players to varsity this year to make our team stronger for the following years,” Paredes said.

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