The Chaffey High School football team settled for second place in the Mt. Baldy League last year behind eventual CIF Central Division champion Colony. The Tigers battled the Titans head to head but the Titans eventually wore them down and won the game.
Can Chaffey get over the hump this year? Veteran head coach Chris Brown says his team has the potential to do so.
“We have more depth than we have had before and that is really important against a quality team like Colony that likes to play up-tempo,” he said.
The Tigers, 8-3 last year, do have one of the top players in the area returning in senior running back Michael Dean, a first team All-Inland Valley and All-CIF selection who rushed for 1,373 yards and 16 touchdowns on 194 tries last year.
His partner in the backfield, James Oxier (912 yards), has graduated.
Brown says he has a lot of options there and will see how that plays out in the next couple of months. There is the definite possibility that Dean, who also plays in the secondary on defense, could see more carries, bad news for upcoming foes.
“If we need to spell him it will be on defense,” Brown said. “He has really worked hard, put on some muscle and he’s a lot stronger.”
The biggest question mark will be the offensive line, an area with which Brown wasn’t happy last year. A bunch of those players are back so improvement is expected. Among the key players there will be senior tackle Alexander Kraskowsky.
Other key players on offense are sophomore quarterback Dequan Futrell, a transfer from Upland and freshman lineman Ryan Soliafu,
Among those leading the defensive charge will be senior linebacker Jiovanni Sanchez, senior defensive end Ray Maldanado, senior outside linebacker Frank Venegas, senior outside linebacker Brian Ramirez and junior defensive tackle Jacob Chavira.
Another player that could factor on both sides of the ball is junior RB-DB Larry Hammett-Love, the second-fastest player on the team behind Dean.
“He’s going to be on the field somewhere,” Brown added.
The Tigers open the new season Aug. 28 at Lake Elsinore-Lakeside, a team they defeated 30-7 in last year’s season opener. The Tigers are also on the road the second week with the first home game being on Sept. 11 against Grand Terrace.