Upland football team looks to challenge with young cast

Upland Football

The Upland football team fared well last year in what was largely considered a rebuilding season. They were second in the Baseline to Chino Hills and made it to the CIF quarterfinal before losing a heart-breaker to Vista Murrieta.

The Highlanders (8-4 in 2015) are rebuilding again, not because of players who graduated but because of players who transferred. Coach Tim Salter saw 10 or so athletes, most of them starters, jump to other schools. But he isn’t dwelling on what he lost, he’s focused instead on those that remain.

“I’m sure all those kids had their reasons,” he said. “We have good kids here that want to play Upland football and they have worked hard. We have some kids with great potential, they’re just young.”

Sophomore quarterback David Baldwin will lead the charge. He took the reigns of the team midway through the Baseline League game against Chino Hills and never looked back. His stock continued to rise over the summer.

Other weapons in the offensive arsenal include senior running back Artis Seymore and junior running back Kyle Jones. Baldwin will also have some solid receivers in Gary Theard, Bryce Parker and Tyler Sweet, with Sweet a transfer from Bishop Amat.

“Those kids are all good. They just have not had the chance yet because of the players who were in front of them. I really like our potential.”

The effort up front will be led by senior tackle Hugo Esqueda and senior guard Kris Montano.

Top players on the other side of the ball include junior linebackers Leonard Leau, Corey Thomas and Nick Zamora, junior lineman Fou Hoching and junior free safety Malik Goss.

Salter is also looking forward to the return of senior Montez Evans, who was out injured last season.

The new version of the Highlanders takes the field at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday against Mountain Pointe (Ariz.) at Norco High School in the Brother in Arms Classic.

The young Highlanders will need to mature in a hurry though. The Baseline League is tough enough but Upland’s non-league schedule also includes perennial title contenders in Mater Dei and Redlands East Valley as well as much-improved Claremont.

“We play a lot of tough teams,” Salter said. “We’re going to find out how good we’re going to be right away. There really isn;t an easy team on our schedule.”



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  • Eric

    Went and saw Upland High at Norco, this team is going to be a playoff contender as soon as they start gelling. The sophomore QB just needs to develop his relationships with his receivers. Sweet must have had close to 100 yards receiving.

  • Coach Z

    I agree! This was an absolutely great performance from a
    local IE team! Not perfect, but #Upland_Football shows a lot of potential and should definitely take league; contrary to what others have projected. The Defensive is young but strong! They have played together since Frosh. They are both fast & skilled and the secondary has some of the league’s best Line Backers, especially because they are only Jr.’s! Surely they will make some adjustments and fix what needs fixin. I saw Nick Zamora #40 (ILB) tenaciously break through the offense and cause so many problems for the Arizona all star offense, shutting down gap after gap, caused a fumble on his own in the backfield, which turned into a change of possession for Upland, giving #5 Young QB David Baldwin the momentum he needed to lead the
    offense from around the 50 yard line. Defensively, #8 Cory Thomas has speed and compliments the threat with his skill & eye for the ball, #50 Andre Barnes came out with a rampage destroying plays, #57 D-linemen Paul Munoz is an unstoppable bull, watch out for him, #60 Fou HoChing proved to be yet another beast, quite a talented formidable opponent not to ever be taken lightly on both ends of the ball, #22 Malik Goss and #24 David Chandler watch out for these guys, they are a Flash-like duel holding up their end with speed and skill, shutting down both outside runs and pass options, #3 Montez Evans is just a super beast in the backfield, #42 Christian Brooks is yet another force to the LB arsenal, #1 Gary Theard, well rounded athlete that enough can’t be said about his great skill and talent, just amazing. Offensively #7 Angel Rojas a running bull making great catches/runs, yet another strong force on both sides of the ball. #2 Potts, #4 Bryce Parker, both Jr.’s WR, amazing speed and strength to compliment Baldwin’s skill. Bottom line, I could surely go on about all of the athlete’s and this teams potential, just know they have the speed, strength, & skill to take it to Finals for sure! >>>>>> #Coach_Salter has a real special group of players and some of the best & dedicated staff to support him, I know they will have a successful season. #Claremont_Wolfpack is their next non-conference game on
    9/2/16 @ 7pm at Claremont H.S., What’s quite interesting about this match is that both #40 Nick Zamora & #3 Montez Evans have some history with the Varsity players on the Wolfpack team. They played together in 2012 with Junior All American F.C. under coach Dean Ratliff making them that seasons 1st ever league
    champs. It should be an interesting story as they have years of history together. See you there!