The San Dimas football program was one of the San Gabriel Valley’s best in the decade-long tenure of Bill Zernickow. But Zernickow departed for a job in Oregon and his long-time assistant Mark Holman was handed the reigns.
So will things change? Probably not.
Expect the Saints to go with that same vaunted physical running game. The offensive and defensive lines are the team’s strong suit, according to Holman, so why not keep pushing the ball.
“This might be the best line we have had since I have been here so we’d be stupid to not take advantage of that,” said Holman, who will call the offense. “We have always had success on the ground and we’re going to stick to that but that doesn’t mean we won’t throw it when we want to.”
The Saints, who went 8-4 and were bounded from the playoffs in the second round by eventual Mid-Valley League champion Pomona, return three starters up front – seniors Youseff Hanna and Nathan Reep and sophomore Nathen Aceves, who started on varsity last year as a freshman.
A fourth, Charles Santisteban, also saw considerable playing time.
Just who will be the quarterback over center has yet to be determined. The graduation of the starter as left a vacancy and juniors Ernie Guerrero and Joey Tamayo, both on the junior varsity last season are fighting for the spot.
Other key performers on offense will be senior running back Edward Siapno and junior running back Jarell Sykes. Wide receivers will include juniors Ryan Berry, who did not play last year, and Anthony Bernal, a starter at linebacker last year.
Senior defensive lineman Joey Erickson is the most notable veteran on defense. He already has offers from Sacramento State, Montana and Montana State and Holman expects mroe to follow.
Other key players on defense are junior safety Kai Rodriguez, senior senior linebacker Steven Ojeda and senior end Mbanefo Akpom.
Last year the Saints were knocked off the Valle Vista League thrown by Northview, which again looms as the stiffest challenge. It was bit of a rude awakening.
“It was definitely a wake-up call,” Holman said. “Our guys are coming back a bit hungrier. Sometimes you do take it for granted.”
The new season gets underway Sept. 4 with the Saints hosting Maranatha. The opening league game will be on Oct. 9 against Hacienda Heights Wilson.