It was too early to call it the Nick Bueno Show after Bueno rushed for 230 yards on 16 carries and scored two touchdowns in Monrovia’s 27-13 win over Arcadia in the season opener last year. This year there’s no holding back. You and I both expect big things out of Bueno, who added some serious muscle to his 5-foot-9 frame.
The bicep curls have done Bueno good, but it’s his unparalleled speed that separates him from the pack. He was in midseason form during Monrovia’s first week of practice. His passes were crisp and on target. But what we didn’t see was him lining up at slot receiver. That’s right, receiver.
Don’t get it twisted. Bueno still will be the exciting quarterback we saw last year. But the offense will add a new weapon to its arsenal thanks to some depth in the pocket.
Monrovia’s in the process of grooming the next starting quarterback, and all signs point to sophomore George Frazier, who stands a solid 6-foot-2, to take over the reigns next season. He took all snaps with the second unit. Frazier’s not as agile or elusive as Bueno, but he does gives the Wildcats some serious pocket presence because of his size.
He’s a hard hitter and doesn’t appear shy from contact. Because he’s caught on so quickly, the chance to move Bueno around a bit was too hard to pass up.
“George has great knowledge of the game,” Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said. “He leads by example, and he does it not just with his play, but also verbally. He’s a sophomore and can communicate and lead verbally, and seniors will follow.
“That’s something very few people have. He’ll most likely start somewhere on the field, whether on defense or possibly offense. And then we’ll get him at quarterback, put Nick in the slot. We’re going to move him around a little bit.”
Bueno spent dead period practice with teammates, working on patterns, timing and execution. Expect Monrovia’s aerial assault to make a bigger impact this season.
Still, it begs the question: Why move Bueno around?
“He’s a phenomenal weapon with his legs and arms,” Maddox said. “I don’t want to say he plays with an attitude, but he’s a warrior, and that’s evident by how he plays.
“He’s really impressed people. We used him all over the field (during summer). At defensive back, receiver and he impressed a lot of people with his versatility. We can definitely use him wherever we put him. he’s one of our best receivers. best runners and he’s great at defensive back. Really, we can use him wherever and he can excel. He’s clearly one of the premiere football players in the San Gabriel Valley.”
So get ready folks, because Monrovia’s looks more than ready to unleash its wrath on Glendora and San Dimas.
The offense hasn’t skipped a beat, it seems, and if it’s possible has gotten even better. Jay Henderson looked good in practice as well. He’ll be a top receiver to keep your eye out on. Don’t let his subtle numbers from last year tell you otherwise.
Charlie Cimmarusti, the Wildcats’ top safety the last two seasons, also lined up at receiver with the first unit. He was part of the receiving rotation last year, but saw limited time. He’s expected to contribute more on offense this season.