Senior Duy Tran-Sampson has been one of the area’s top rushers the last two seasons and is expected to shoulder the load again this season.
The Claremont football team did alright in the win column last year at 7-3. But the Wolfpack were 5-0 in non-league play so their collapse late in Palomares League play cost them a playoff spot.
They’ll be looking to make up for that misstep when the new season gets underway on Aug. 26. Coach Coco Jarin has a hard time containing his excitement when discussing the coming season.
“We’re going to put a good product on the field,” he said. “People are are going to be impressed. I can’t wait for the first game.”
“We were very disappointed at not making the playoffs last season and it was our own fault,” he said. “The kids haven’t forgotten that and they have been working hard.”
Of course Claremont returns its top weapon on each side of the ball and that will be a bit help. Junior running back Duy Tran-Sampson will ignite the offense. He ran for 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns last year and built on that with a strong showing in track season.
On defense junior linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu heads the effort, after recording 140 tackles as sophomore.
“Those guys are the leaders but we have good players around them too,” Jarin added.
Tran-Sampson will have a solid line to run behind. That group features senior guard Ricky Sandoval, who will start on both sides of the ball, senior tight end Caesar Arranga, senior center Noah Garcia, junior tackles Ricky Martin and Ryan Bush and junior guard Noah Gonzalez.
In the skill positions Claremont has the potential to throw the ball it they choose with a standout receiver in senior Laquamie Bond and solid fullback in senior Gabriel Gonzales.
The quarterback spot is up for grabs, the candidates being sophomore Reggie Retzlaff, a transfer from Webb, and senior Jacob Grajales, the backup last year.
Standouts on defense will also include Bond at free safety and Sandoval at linebacker as well as linebacker Jacob Gentry, senior safety Jordan Cardosa and senior cornerback Cameron Winfrey.
Jarin is also high on varsity newcomer Cammeron Thomas.
The biggest question mark is the defensive line which lacks returning player with experience. Junior Jason Hall, up from the junior varsity, is expected to be an impact player.
A tougher and more compelling schedule starts on Aug. 26 with Riverside Norte Vista.
“Our schedule will definitely have us more prepared,” Jarin said.