The Bonita High School football team goes into the new season not that much different than several of its Palomares League counterparts.
Not only did the Bearcats lose a majority of their starters, they had a coaching change as well with Ibis Aguilar taking over for Adrian Medrano, who moved over to El Rancho.
So yes this is shaping up to be a rebuilding year. But that doesn’t mean Bonita can’t be competitive.
“A lot of teams are in the same boat,” said Aguilar, who served as wide receivers coach and assistant head coach under Medrano before being elevated to the head job. We’ll see how fast the younger players come along. We’re hoping to be right there in the mix.”
The Bearcats, 8-3 with a first round playoff loss to Don Lugo in 2015, will be relying on several newcomers in the skill positions, most notably at quarterback where three are vying for the starting job. That trio consists of senior Andrew Harrison, a transfer from Upland, junior Jason Schiller and sophomore Joe LaFountain, up from the junior varsity, and sophomore John Andrade, up from a freshman team that went 10-0.
If one has taken the lead in the battle for that spot, Aguilar isn’t saying.
Among the veterans who will be called up on on returning lineman Miles Blount and Abel Montoya – both seniors.
But perhaps the team’s best player is senior tight end-defensive end Logan Zylstra, a first-team All-Inland Valley selection last year who has landed an offer from Air Force.
Others to look for are returning standouts in wide receiver Dylan Flores, who will also be in the secondary, and senior kicker Garrette Dean as well as newcomers senior wide receiver corner Adrian Bejarano and seniopr tailback Andrew Pasowicz.
About the only veterans on the defensive side of the ball are Zylstra, lineman Andrew Quintero and linebacker Chase Lopez.
Aguilera is also high on inside linebacker Ethan Lancaster, sophomore defensive back Kevin Bullock and sophomore lineman Donnell Osguera.
“I think we’re going to be competitive,” Aguilera said. “It’s hard to say what we’re capable of win-wise just because we have so many younger players. But there is a lot of potential and they’re working hard.”
First up for Bonita, the annual Smudge Pot game on Aug. 26 vs. local rival San Dimas, a game over which the Bearcats have had bragging rights the last few years.