It was a tough start in the Bonita football tenure of Ibis Aguilar.
The Bearcats were 3-7 overall and 0-5 in Palomares League play in his first year in 2017. It wasn’t just one thing, it was sort of a perfect storm.
He got the job a little late in the game so he found himself trying to play catch up when it came to the off-season rituals. The athlete who transferred in and was penciled in as the starter at quarterback got ruled ineligible by the CIF. And the top returning player suffered a season-ending injury over the summer.
Aguilar and his squad are looking forward to a new season with fewer obstacles.
“The biggest thing was not having the day to day contact with the kids in the spring when you’re able to get everyone on the same page early and establish that connection as a team,” he said. “That’s really when you want the work to start, not in August.”
The Bearcats were senior-heavy in 2015 so that meant last year was one transition too and Aguilar said last year’s team was dominated by underclassmen, The good news is that means most of those players are back – a year older and more experienced which should translate to a better showing on the field.
For starters, Bonita returns junior quarterback J.P. Andrade who threw for 2,072 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore. Among the other offensive weapons – senior back Ivan Wilson-bey.
The Bearcats will have some of their top players competing on both side of the ball as numbers are down slightly. Aguilar said there are 130 players in the program, down from 130 or so. There is a large freshman class however.
Other top returning players are senior wide receiver-linebacker Matthew Sanchez, senior safety-slot Joey Reynolds, junior lineman Diego Jimenez and junior slot-safety Nathan Otto.
Top newcomers include sophomore slot-linebacker Kenny Colson, who comes up from a freshman team that was 9-1 last year. Another to look for is free safety-receiver Aalias Williams.
Aguilar singles out defending champion Ayala as team to beat in the Palomares League with always-tough Glendora the other top competitor.
“But we think we have the potential to be in the mix too,” he said.
Aug. 26 – Vs. San Dimas (At Citrus College)
Sept. 1 – Vs. Sante Fe (At Pioneer)
Sept. 8 – Riverside Poly
Sept. 15 – Beuna
Sept. 22 – At Diamond Ranch
Oct. 6 – At Diamond Bar
Oct. 13 – Ayala
Oct. 20 – Claremont
Oct. 27 – Glendora
Nov. 2 – South Hills (At Covina District Field)