The San Ysidro Cougars finished 1-9 last season at the varsity level, including an 0-6 mark in South Bay League play, and 0-10 at the junior varsity level. New coach Greg Davis is optimistic about this season, however. His enthusiasm is certainly worth an undefeated season. Hopefully, it will rub off on his team.
“It is my first year as the head coach at San Ysidro, and the athletes have been committed to the weight room and the common goal of improving daily as football players and young men,” Davis said. “We have more than 100 players out for football this year, which is much more than in the past, so that is a step toward creating a quality program.”
Having quality players to build a quality program helps, and Davis believes he has found several to answer the call to duty.
The team’s top returners are led by senior defensive back Christian Zambrano, senior linebacker Jonathan Garcia, senior defensive linemen Omar Rios, Kevin Barber, Oliver Leon and Filipe Rodriguez, junior linebacker Ivan Corona, junior running back Danny Cruz and junior offensive lineman Jonathan Bastien.
Watson earned second team all-league honors in 2009 after passing for 554 yards and rushing for 206 yards.
Garcia is the president of the school’s football club. “He’s a big-time leader on and off the field,” Davis said.
Davis calls Zambrano “a hard worker who will play mainly defense, but some slot receiver as well.”
Rios also has earned the “hard worker” label from Davis, who expects him to be one of the team’s top defensive players.
The SYHS coach said Leon is the “heart and soul of the offensive line,” while Corona had an impressive showing in summer passing leagues.
Davis labels Cruz as a very good all-around athlete. “His work ethic is unreal,” the Cougar coach said.
Davis calls Bastien a “fast learner” and a “silent leader” on the team and calls Rodriguez a “a positive force on the line, someone who is willing to do whatever we need.”
Barber was the most improved player last season on the San Ysidro squad.
Those returners are braced by three impact newcomers: senior quarterback Eloy Reynaga, junior tight end Sammy Quinones and junior offensive lineman Ruben Gutierrez.
Davis calls Reynaga “the leader of our offense.”
“He’s a very positive role model and will surprise many,” the SYHS coach said.
Davis also had good things to say about Quinones, calling him likely the best perspective tight end that Davis has ever coached.
Gutierrez, meanwhile, has great footwork, according to the Cougar sideline boss, and is an honors student.
What does it all add up to? Potentially the beginning of a new foundation on which to build future success.
“Our team goal is simple: finish,” Davis said. “Whatever we do, we will finish what we started. Also, a high priority to me as a head coach is to make sure that we start with three levels and we end with three levels, which has never been done in school history.
“I have truly seen a difference in these student-athletes. They are much more committed to improving as students in the classroom and there is a huge difference in the culture at our school. We are all excited for what this season holds for us, as players and coaches.”
San Ysidro kicks off 2010 regular season play by hosting Granite Hills on Sept. 3.
San Ysidro Cougars
2010 Varsity Schedule
3: Granite Hills at San Ysidro, 7 p.m.
10: San Ysidro vs. Hoover, TBA
17: El Cajon Valley at San Ysidro, 7 p.m.
24: San Ysidro at Castle Park, 7 p.m.
1: Santana at San Ysidro, 7 p.m.
15: San Ysidro at Olympian, 7 p.m.
22: Montgomery at San Ysidro, 7 p.m.
29: San Ysidro at Mar Vista, 7 p.m.
5: Southwest at San Ysidro, 7 p.m.
12: San Ysidro at Hilltop, 7 p.m.