Pacific looking to take the next step

On the surface, Pacific High School’s 24-19 victory over San Bernardino Oct. 24 doesn’t look to be a big deal, as one struggling high school program defeated another. However, that victory was huge for the Pirates, as it broke a 26-game losing streak that dated back to 2005 and gave some legitimacy to first-year coach Oscar Torres’ program.

As Pacific prepares for 2009, Torres is well aware of how important the victory over the Cardinals was to the landscape of his program.

“That one win really helped the entire program,” Torres said. “From freshmen, sophomores and juniors, that win really pushed everyone this summer. We want to be better than a 1-9 program and know we can do it.”

In talking about preseason expectations, Torres mentioned that he thought that Pacific was capable of reaching the .500 mark this year, something it hasn’t done this decade – although the Pirates were 5-6 in 2002 after losing a playoff game. The optimism is based on increasing numbers – the Pirates should have around 35 players on varsity after fielding a team in the 20s a year ago – better academic performance and a softer non-league schedule.

But it is rarely that easy for a program that has been toward the bottom of the SAL during the recent past. The Pirates only scored 6.3 points per game last season and lose their best weapon, running back/wide receiver Kenneth Chapple. Needless to say, increasing the offense’s effectiveness is one of Torres’ main tasks.

“We need to be able to pass the ball effectively and stop teams from crowding 11 guys in the box,” Torres said. “We ran the ball pretty well at times, but not being able to pass really hurt us.”

The onus on the passing game falls to junior Leo Davis, who is a threat to run and pass. Running back Trayvon Fellon will get the bulk of the carries, while Adrian Tinajero will play a slash role, playing WR, QB and safety on defense. Defensively, the Pirates gave up 35 points per game a year ago but are high on defensive end Alan Jackson and the Llerena twins, defensive lineman Giovanni and middle linebacker Jeffrey.

Pacific’s schedule (Home games in CAPS, league games with *)

Sept. 11 – at Fontana
Sept. 18 – GRANITE HILLS
Sept. 25 – at Hesperia
Oct. 2 – CITRUS VALLEY
Oct. 9 – at Oak Hills
Oct. 16 – at San Gorgonio*
Oct. 23 – ARROYO VALLEY*
Oct. 30 – SAN BERNARDINO*
Nov. 6 – at Cajon*
Nov. 13 – COLTON*