By Michael YEGHIAYAN
Although the start of the season does not officially get underway until Sept. 10 against Verdugo Hills, the Crescenta Valley Falcons varsity football team is well under way to build on last season’s performance.
Paul Schilling, in his first year as head coach for the Falcons, does not anticipate major changes in the overall philosophies on the offensive or defensive side of the football. The former defensive coordinator stressed fundamentals as the key to the Falcons’ success in the upcoming season.
“We are going to focus on a lot of the same strategies from last season,” said Schilling. “The important thing is to remain aggressive, especially on defense.”
The Falcons will travel to St. Francis High School on Friday, July 9 to compete in the fifth of the seven scheduled passing tournaments this summer.
“These really help us fine-tune our approach to passing, both offensively and defensively,” said Schilling. “We are able to focus specifically on the
timing between our quarterbacks and receivers as well as work on any holes in our pass coverage.”
With a large percentage of the varsity team having graduated in June, the Falcons will be calling on a relatively young team to improve on its 8-4 record in 2009-10. Gone are captains Tanner Hamilton, Kyle Cota, and Harry Pessy, as well as a number of key starters on both offense and defense. However, the Falcons will turn to a core of young talent to lead the way this season.
Among the players to watch are wide receivers Nikko Domingo, Kevin Fernandez and Nick Ruiz, all three of whom are entering their senior
year. Also projected to make an impact on defense is senior Bryan Luna, who is expected
to make a position switch from defensive end to inside linebacker. Junior varsity’s most valuable player, Marro Lee, is also expected to start this season as the Falcons’ running back.
The passing tournaments will also help the coaching staff settle the competition for the starting job as quarterback. Seniors Zac Wilkerson and Paul Perugini are both looking to lead the huddle this fall.
“We feel we have two excellent choices at quarterback,” said Schilling. “We will evaluate things closer to the start of the season and make a decision then.”
Last year, mobility at the quarterback position was a big part of the Falcons’ offensive arsenal. Coach Schilling expects to see more of the same out of the Crescenta Valley offense this season.
“Running with the quarterback is definitely going to be a key part of our system. If we have a quarterback who is able to make plays for us on the ground, it will be a big part of our strategy on offense.”