Pacific Point back in the 8-man game

Julius Salinas and Gabe Smart are expected to play key roles for the Lions. Photo by Robert Eliason.

The smallest school in the Central Coast Section—and it’s not even close—is fielding a football team again, and this time everyone at Pacific Point School hopes it sticks. To that end, coach Kyle Venegas has made building a strong foundation as the No. 1 priority for the Lions this season. “I’m really looking to set this program up to succeed in the future,” he said. “My biggest goal is setting a good foundation and good base for future success.” This is the first time the Christian school has fielded a football team since 2012, when it was known then as Anchor Point. Despite having a thin roster of 11 players—Venegas is hopeful of adding one or two more players by the season-opener—Pacific Point will compete in the Pacific Coast League 8-man division. Venegas said about half the roster has played organized football before, so it’s not like he is having to build from ground zero. “These guys are learning quick and soaking up information like sponges,” he said. The Lions roster includes Julius Salinas, Kenny Mahler, Artavious Martin, Ethan Fry, Charlie Rigutto, Deandre Jordon, Trent Mason, Gabe Smart, A.J. Floyd, Steven Lunceford and freshman Tanner McNabb, who has earned praise from the coach for wanting to improve and learn and doing it with a great attitude. McNabb, Floyd and Mahler comprise a line that intends to give junior quarterbacks Martin and Smart time to make plays. Venegas said Smart has an amazing arm, while Martin has the potential to hurt teams on the ground or through the air. Salinas, Fry, Rigutto, Mason and Lunceford make up the running back and receiver core, two groups that Venegas expects to produce and make plays. “We have a really athletic team and a bunch of skill players,” Venegas said. “We have some speed and quickness, and I think that’s going to show up and make a real impact. … I don’t think they’re just here to come run around; I think these guys are coming to play, which is exciting to see.”