FOOTBALL: Fresh starts blossom as local high school camps open

Gilroy's head coach Greg Garcia works on a defensive exercise at

News and notes from around town as GHS, CHS and Anchorpoint
finish Week 1 of fall camp
The Christopher High School football team couldn’t wait any longer to officially begin its inaugural varsity campaign.

At 12:01 a.m. last Friday, the state-wide day to open fall prep sports camps, the Cougars took the field, wasting little time in launching into the 2010 season.

After a pad-less, hour-plus practice, the team spent the night on campus and were back on the dew-soaked grass at 8 a.m. It’s been all business since.

“We wanted to do something different that no one else in the state was doing,” Cougars head coach Tim Pierleoni said at practice Tuesday.

Joining the Monterey Bay League this season poses a few challenges for the second-year program, prompting Pierleoni and staff to raise the intensity level up a notch or two.

“We want them to understand the difference between JV and varsity,” he said. “We are teaching them to play at the tempo needed. They give 100 percent all the time.”

— Junior quarterback Brandon Pickens will lead the Cougars’ offense this season. Pickens took the majority of the snaps last year and has reported to camp bigger and stronger, Pierleoni said.

— Topping the list of priorities during the initial week of fall camp is shoring up the offensive line and finding the most cohesive unit of players to fill the roles.

“Solidifying the offensive line has been the emphasis since day one,” Pierleoni said. “We want to find kids to step up and get it done.”

— The varsity squad, with 23 players currently on the roster, and junior varsity, which has 27, will practice together the entire season.

Gilroy High

It is all about believing.

For head coach Greg Garcia and his staff, the objective is to ignite a new sense of pride and passion in the players, preaching cohesion, commitment and a work ethic unsurpassed by none.

“So far, so good,” Garcia said at practice Wednesday. “We have had good buy-in from the players. We are trying to develop an attitude and persona and trying to build based on that. At least that’s the hypothesis.”

The coaches feel the talent pool is deep, from the starters to the role players, it is just about putting everything together.

“We are focusing on the team speed that we have,” Garcia said. “The athletes we have are phenomenal.”

— The Mustangs defense surrendered 2,877 yards of rushing offense a year ago, according to statistics on As a result, Garcia has taken it upon himself to fix that issue. The Mustangs will feature a 3-5-3 defense, utilizing a more attacking and aggressive approach.

— At the outset of camp, Niko Fortino is taking the majority of the snaps with the first-string offense. Garcia did not specify if Niko would start Game 1.

— Depth at the skill positions have coaches raving.

“We have a lot more skill players than we’ve had in the past,” assistant coach Craig Martin said. “We are deep.”

Anchorpoint Christian

It’s a numbers game for the Anchorpoint Christian Warriors 8-man football team. And this season, the numbers are adding up.

Twenty-two players reported to the opening day of camp, nearly double the amount who suited up last season, giving head coach KC Adams a bit more leeway in how he runs his practices.

With the team’s reputation for winning and Adams’ coaching prowess becoming more recognizable, the Warriors are ranked No. 2 in the state in preseason polls, Adams said.

“Teams down in L.A. want to play us now, whereas before they wouldn’t call,” Adams said.

With just seven seniors on the roster, three of which saw significant playing time last season, the youthful Warriors potential is, “scary.”

“We didn’t rebuild, we reloaded,” Adams said.

— Extra focus has been paid to the defensive side of the ball. Wanting to avoid high-scoring, back-and-forth contests, Adams and assistant coach Marlowe Brinson have been diligent in establishing a strong starting eight.

“If we really do what I think we can do, this defense is nasty,” Adams boasted.

— The departure of two-year starting quarterback Josh Ignagni, the signal calling duties have been handed over to senior Samuel Apolinar.

“He has great concentration and knows the offense,” Adams said.

— Junior Matt Garay will serve as the team’s backup QB and will most likely see time under center during ball games.

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