The Foothill League's Football Round Up
October, 2008 - Issue #48
Prior to this decade, it was a two-team show in Santa Clarita Valley high school football, with Hart and Canyon battling for valley supremacy. In the '90s, Hart put a stranglehold on the rest of the valley.

But this decade has been unique. Three different schools have won Foothill League titles - Hart, Canyon and Valencia.

It now goes to show that it's anybody's guess from year to year as to who will be perched atop the league's standings at season's end.

Here's your Inside SCV guide to 2008 Foothill League football with last season's stats.

(12-1-1 overall; 4-0-1 league; 1st place)
Head Coach: Mike Herrington, 20th Season

The Indians must once again adjust to a wave of departures. Not only are Hart's three best players from last year gone - Northern Division Player of the Year running back Delano Howell, linebacker Patrick Larimore and quarterback BR Holbrook - but two of its coordinators have also left.

Defensive coordinator Rick Herrington left one brother to join another, as he now has the same post at Alemany with brother Dean Herrington. Rick's fiery nature and brilliant scheming leaves a huge hole.

"We've just got to take it in stride," said Mike Herrington. "We've had it happen before. We've just got to plug things in."

Herrington has possibly been the best coach in this valley's history in adapting to change, but in order for Hart to challenge for a playoff spot, let alone a league title, question marks at the skill positions on the offense will have to be answered.

For the first time in Herrington's tenure, a starting quarterback was not named going into the season. Spenser Souza and Darren Sholes could both see time at the position in league play.

The team does have one solid playmaker on the offense in returner Demitri Diamond and the Indians are debuting a split-back set in the offense this season. The question on defense is, who will step up as a leader and can the Indians overcome a lack of experience?

Key Losses: Delano Howell, Patrick Larimore, BR Holbrook
Top Returners: Demitri Diamond, Brendan Cox, Jon Boscarino, Ricky Aversano, Chris Anderson
Top Newcomer: Ty MacArthur

(10-3 overall, 4-1 league, 2nd place)
Head Coach: Jason Bornn, 6th Season

Saugus had likely its best football season ever, coming within three points of winning its first-ever football Foothill League title.

The Centurions return the most electric tandem in the valley in running back and 2,281-yard-runner Ryan Zirbel and quarterback Desi Rodriguez.

At issue, though, is the defense. Saugus started 11 seniors on defense in 2007. "We have kids who are trying to fill holes as a result of graduation. Lack of experience on the defensive side of the ball concerns me," Bornn said.

But the Centurions' offense could make them very tough.

They added track runner and soccer player Josh Coefield as a wide receiver and return another dynamic player in slot receiver Kollin Depew.

Best of all, Zirbel and Rodriguez are better. "They're the thoroughbreds they were last year and then some," Bornn said. "But instead of running in the Santa Anita, they're ready for the Kentucky Derby."

Key Losses: Mario Wright, Shane Watterson, Justin McKillop, Ryan McKillop, Nick Green
Top Returners: Ryan Zirbel, Desi Rodriguez, Justin Peacock, Justin Wells
Top Newcomers: Josh Coefield, Melqui Lemus, Tony Divis, Brian Faussett

(7-4-1 overall; 3-1-1 league; 3rd place)
Head Coach: Larry Muir, 4th Season

The Vikings have gained a lot of early notoriety because of a strong junior class that last year helped Valencia win a JV Foothill title. It's now been four seasons since the Vikings have won a varsity Foothill title, but many are calling them a favorite.

Valencia has strength on both sides of the ball.

Jordan Thompson emerged as a force at running back and is expected to progress this season. Quarterback Dominick Solley is cut from the same cloth as Saugus' Rodriguez. Valencia has a pair of other gamebreakers in receivers/running backs Rocky Maldonado and Brock Vereen.

Add to that receiver Zack Tartabull, who Muir said may be the best receiver the school has ever had, and Valencia sets up to be an explosive offensive team. The defense is also young and gifted.
Muir said his biggest challenge might be creating cohesiveness. "Putting the work in, making the commitment - the chemistry works through sweat," he said. "You've got to have the chemistry."

Key Losses: Graham Wilbert, Stephen London, Mike Lien
Top Returners: Zack Tartabull, Jordan Thompson, Cody Letz
Top Newcomers: Rocky Maldonado, Trevor Smyth, Brock Vereen

(4-6 overall, 2-3 league; 4th place)
Head Coach: Chris Varner, 2nd Season

Things are different at Canyon this season. The uniforms are different. Even the decals on the helmets are different.

Head coach Chris Varner is trying to put his stamp on the program in his second season.

"We celebrate the past, but I've got to do my own thing as far as the design of program," he said.

Canyon lost players at key positions on the offense, but experience at the receiver position could be the Cowboys' greatest strength. Kevin Voogt and Charlie Cusumano should help out inexperienced quarterback Jordan Adamczyk.

Canyon also has holes on the defensive side of the ball. The Cowboys will have to find an identity quick in order to compete for a playoff spot.

Key Losses: Stephen Wirthlin, AJ Wallerstein, Mike Spagnola
Top Returners: Kevin Voogt, Charlie Cusumano, Japheth Gordon, Chris Rivas
Top Newcomer: Jordan Adamczyk

West Ranch
(4-6 overall; 1-4 league; 5th place)
Head Coach: Mike Kane, 5th Season

West Ranch took a giant leap forward in 2007 by winning three non-league contests. But the Wildcats' season fell apart once they reached Foothill play. Now more experienced, the Wildcats should be a threat in 2008.

Running back Ross Bacon should be one of the best players in the league and quarterback Jake Bernards will take the helm at quarterback as a starter for the third straight season.
Kane said one bright spot is this team can catch the ball with more efficiency than last season's squad. "I was excited about our summer because we caught the ball with more consistency," he said. "We are further along right now than we were last year."

The defensive line is completely
inexperienced and will have to respond early.

Add to that, West Ranch lost Mick Chenault to graduation, the best kicker in the league in years.

Key Losses: Mick Chenault, LJ McGee, Scott Bemiller
Top Returners: Ross Bacon, Jake Bernards, Ryan Gee
Top Newcomers: Zack Snell, Frankie Medaro, Cody Cox

Golden Valley
(2-8 overall; 0-5 league, 6th place)
Head Coach: Steve Pinkston, 3rd Season

Working on Golden Valley's side is experience. The Grizzlies have eight players who have started on the varsity since they were sophomores.

Their confidence is building, too. Whereas some Grizzlies admitted to being intimidated before, things have changed. What that should equate to is a much more competitive season.
"When we line up to play Canyon, Hart, Saugus, Valencia, we don't have to beat 20 years of tradition," Pinkston said. "I tell the players to beat the guy in front of you."

Golden Valley will have to replace efficient quarterback Najee Coleman, though. That could be a challenge. The defense will have to improve from last season, as well.

Key Losses: Najee Coleman, Joe Spears
Top Returners: Mike Marshall, Jon Schlegel, Beano Horne, Chris Jose
Top Newcomers: Richard Sarabia, Dario Park, Dylan Olson
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