It took longer than anyone wanted, but football will finally be
played at Anzar High in the 2011 season, and it’s a dream come true
for the 27 members of the Hawks’ 8-man football team.
It took longer than anyone wanted, but football will finally be played at Anzar High in the 2011 season, and it’s a dream come true for the 27 members of the Hawks’ 8-man football team.
Approved by school district last December, the 2011 season will be landmark year for the school and its students, but coach Luis Espinoza hopes expectations are reasonable.
“I’m going to go in small steps,” he said, holding up his hands. “Last week we were down here. Today we are here, and at the end of the season we want to be up here.”
It’s a simple metaphor for the coach who taught San Benito’s junior varsity squad two years ago, but it’s important because of the region’s other football team.
“We are not them, and people shouldn’t expect that,” he said.
A majority of the 27 Hawks never put on pads before fall practices, and if they did play the sport, it’s been a few years.
“We aren’t going to win every game,” Espinoza said.
Instead the coach has small goals – get a first down, a turnover, a touchdown and eventually a win.
“Right now I want to get that touchdown,” he said.
The Hawks’ first chance will be Sept. 9, when the team hosts the first-ever game at Anzar High. The team will face Trinity Christian, who is coming off a 1-4 season, and in four seasons has two wins.
For Espinoza that first game will be a steppingstone for the season.
“I’m looking forward to finding out just where we are,” he said.
What the Hawks will be is a young squad led by a group of nine seniors. And with eight freshmen, the team will need all the leadership it can get.
Team captain, and starting center, Daniel Modic will be the main guy pushing his teammates on the practice field and gameday.
Modic, one of the few players with playing experience, has taken on the role of leader with passion. At every practice, Modic is always right in the middle – as he should be.
“He has been exactly what I wanted,” Espinoza said.
Other players who will make an immediate impact this year include linebacker/receiver Brian Frederickson, defensive back/receiver Sam Jimenez and linebacker Michael Yarbrough.
The three made immediate noise during summer workouts and practice, Espinoza said.
“I think they are going to do some good things for us.”
The team will run an offense based out on the V-option, so it will heavily rely on an inexperienced offensive line, a plethora of running backs and quarterback Jeremy Cedeno.
“We are going to run a full spread,” Espinoza said.
So far during practice, the team is getting better and better – albeit slowly.
“We have gotten better each day,” he said. “It’s been a little slower than I wanted, but we are getting better.”
Don’t expect many wins this year. Wins will come but maybe not for some time.
With a season that could have a lot of growing pains, Espinoza will try to give a positive outlook during the season, he said.
“I try to have fun out there,” he said. “If I’m having fun, they’ll have fun.”
Hopefully, the fun stays with team.
“We have to keep morale up,” he said. “It will be the most important thing for us. We want the kids to enjoy this and have fun. Morale is the key.”
Who to watch
Daniel Modic: The starting center and backup nose tackle, Modic is the team’s captain.The towering senior is one of the only players with high school football experience. Where he goes, the Hawks will follow.
Michael Yarbrough: The starting middle linebacker is one of few Hawks to make bone-crunching hits during practice. He will be center of the defense.
Jeremy Cedeno: The starting quarterback is the key to the Hawks’ V-option offense. The wiry junior will need to use his speed to get around the edge and force opposing defenses to attack the line of scrimmage.
Brian Frederickson: The senior linebacker/receiver will serve as an extension of the coach on the field. Espinoza calls him the team’s smartest player. The coach will rely on Frederickson to read the offense and make necessary changes.
Sam Jimenez: Listed at 5’3″ with a weight of only 90 pounds, Jimenez will serve as the team’s utility player and jack-of-all trades. Despite his size, the sophomore throws his body around like a 250 pound fullback. Jimenez will be an important piece for the offense during the teams first season.
*Sept. 9: Trinity, 6
*Sept. 23: Anchorpoint, 6
Sept. 31: At Cornerstone, 6
Oct. 7: Priory, 6
*Oct. 15: At Pinewood, 4
Oct. 21: Crystal Springs, 6
*Oct. 29: At Alma Heights, 1
Home games in bold
* League game