How do you make for the loss of a running back that ran for 1,724 yards and 24 touchdowns? By committee. That is the plan for the Webb football team moving forward.
The Gauls are coming off a 6-5 season, highlighted by the school’s first playoff berth in 12 years. Coach Amahl Thomas returns practically his entire squad but one of the lone departures is that of running back Ricky Gonzales who moved on to the University of Redlands.
“We really don’t have that one guy that is that electric,” says Thomas, entering his third year. “But we have a lot of good players and we have our offensive line back.”
Those involved in that “running back by committee” will be seniors Chaz Salazar and Johnny Vitale, both returners on varsity, as well as Adrian Alvarez, who is up from the junior varsity.
Returning offensive line starters are seniors Tylor Bell-Rogers, Shey Newton, Daniel Heidari and Raj Sandhu. A fifth player, sophomore center Aiden Halvey started two games.
The biggest question mark will be what happens at the quarterback position. Senior Andrew Vidales, the starter much of last year, factors into that battle, as does junior Wyatt Albert who is the fastest player and will be utilized at several positions.
Sophomore Ryan Place is contending for that job too but how much he is needed on defense at linebacker may determine his role on offense.
Heading the receiving core are juniors Nick Jung and Apollo Thomas.
Many of the same players will be counted on defensively, with Bell-Rogers, Newton and Sandhu on the defensive front. The head coach is also looking for a breakout season from junior linebacker Andrew Christensen.
“We’ll have a lot of guys going both ways but I will try and get more guys playing time,” Thomas says. “We got worn down at times last year and that was a definite factor.”
The team was 1-9 the year before Thomas arrived. It improved to 3-7 his first year, then the 6-5 in 2014. He is pleased with the improvement.
“The first year we let a couple of games get away but we’re going in the right direction.”
Webb opens the season on Aug. 28 at Hamilton.
Last year it played home games on Saturday afternoons but this year there will be three Friday night games at Damien.