It’s hard enough going into a new season when you have to replace a player as dominant as Stephen Carr. But Summit coach Nick Matheny is really behind the eight-ball this season because he has had a handful of players, all significant starters, jump ship for other schools.
“We’re basically having to re-invent everything we do,” Matheny said. “The hardest part was that these kids left pretty late in the game so we’re really having to scramble.”
Numbers are down too, something that has been the case at other schools as well. Matheny has just 55 or so between the varsity and junior varsity teams. But the veteran coach is trying to look at the “silver lining.” Other kids who may not have had the opportunity to contribute are getting that chance now and embracing it.
“I can’t say enough about the guys we have here,” he said. “They have worked hard and not complained. I couldn’t be prouder. We have had to do some things a little different because of the situation so there might be some rough waters ahead but we’ll work through them.”
The defending Sunkist League champion SkyHawks (10-2 in 2016) should not be written off quite yet thought, Among the players they do have back is senior quarterback Troy Temmink, who threw for 2,019 yards and 12 touchdowns with only four interceptions last season.
Also returning is one of his favorite targets in senior wide receiver Kavan Johnson who had 21 receptions for 406 yards and five touchdowns.
Matheny also singled out senior tight end-middle linebacker P.J. Ortiz and senior outside linebacker Antonio Coleman.
Summit will be young with just a handful of seniors so Matheny is looking at the experience his underclassmen will get as a huge benefit in the long run.
“We play a tough preseason so that should get us ready for league play,” he said. “We think we can still make a run at the league title. We just have to see how far we come over these first five games.”
The SkyHawks preseason includes reigning Palomares League champ Ayala and San Andreas power San Gorgonio as well as Etiwanda which is a rival and always in the thick of the Baseline League race.
Aug. 25 – Vs. Etiwanda (At Miller)
Aug. 31 – Hesperia (At Miller)
Sept. 8 – At San Gorgonio
Sept. 15 – At Ayala
Sept. 22 – At Sultana
Oct. 6 – Kaiser
Oct. 12 – Fontana (At Miller)
Oct. 20 – At Grand Terrace
Oct. 27 – Bloomington (At Miller)
Nov. 3 – At Colton