Don Lugo throwing caution to the wind

Following a three-win season, Don Lugo wouldn’t figure to generate an abundance of conversation entering 2011. Without being prompted, all but one Mt. Baldy League coach readily aknowledged the Conquistadores as a league title contender.

The most obvious explination for the talk of resurgence is the lack of kindness shown Don Lugo by the football gods last season when it lost five starters to injury in one preseason scrimmage alone. The healthy roster is headlined by the receiving duo of 6-foot-4 Josh Thompson and 6-3 Michael Carr, who each have multiple Division I offers. Though coach Rick Martin gravitates to the ground game, he admittedly will be quick to pull the trigger if teams are playing the run.

“If you’re going to load the box on me, that means you have to play one-on-one with 6-3 and 6-4,” Martin said. “Both those kids can run and both can climb the ladder.”

Delivering passes to the towering duo will be either senior Brandon Campos or junior Mark Wiseman, who are competing for the starting job. Campos is larger and more physical while Wiseman is more fleet of foot. Another player Martin was noticeably excited about is senior running back Jordan Bell, an injury victim last season who missed all but the final two games of the year.

“(Bell) is not afraid to stick his nose in there but he’s probably more comfortable running outside,” Martin said. “You’ll see him break some ankles this season.”

While there is plenty to be excited about on offense, Martin expects a defense returning eight starters to carry the team. Led by middle linebacker Milton Williams, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior who has multiple Division I scholarship offers, Don Lugo expects tremendous improvement on last year’s allowance of 27 points per game in league play.

“We’ve got a goal in mind and we’re going after that league title,” Martin said. “Now that we’ve got our own on campus stadium, we want to play the first home playoff game in the history of the school.”