The 2008 season was the best season that the Cajon High School football team had in two decades. An undefeated San Andreas League championship, an 11-2 overall record and advancing to the Central Division semifinals between a talented cast that featured UCLA-bound cornerback Marlon Pollard and two-time all-Sun Player of the Year Walter Kazee made for some lasting memories.
But those are memories that Cowboys coach Kim Battin hopes that his team forgets. While 2008 was a great memory, Battin wants to nip any sense of entitlement that could come from that success in the bud.
“I want this team to make their own memories,” Battin said. “Last year was great, but it is over and we don’t want to talk about it as a team anymore. Hopefully we can learn some things from that success, but I don’t want us dwelling on how well things went last year.”
On the surface, the Cowboys have a lot to replace. With Pollard at UCLA, Kazee at San Diego State, star offensive lineman Daron Griffin at Southern Utah and several other contributors from last year having graduated, Cajon seems to have a pretty sizable task ahead of it in defending its SAL title, especially with Colton returning much of its team from a year ago.
But Battin is relying on a host of players who, while not stars last year, bring ample experience from a year ago. The linebacker combination of Christian Klement and Joey Daniels (who will also play wide receiver) will provide some oomph and, along with offensive lineman Sebastian Tertola, will be players that Battin counts on to lead the way.
Ultimately though, how far Cajon goes will be based on how well quarterback Thomas Carter plays. Carter was thrown into the fray as a junior and provided a dual-threat presence in the backfield next to Kazee, but with Kazee gone, Carter will be expected to provide more of a throwing presence this year. Offensive coordinator Tony DiThomas, who coached Robert Fuller at Arroyo Valley, is a good person to oversee that development.
“We are going to open up the passing game a bit more with Thomas,” Battin said. “The spread is about opening things up with the passing game. We did a good job learning the system last year, but we are going to implement more of it. I think Thomas will do a good job with it.”
Cajon will have a new supply of Kazees though. Junior Jamael Kazee will be the starting tailback, while sophomores Demontrae Kazee and Deontae Kazee will also get play at the varsity level.
Cajon’s schedule (Home team in CAPS, league games with *)
Sept. 4 – DUARTE
Sept. 11 – at Eisenhower
Sept. 18 – at Sultana
Sept. 25 – KAISER
Oct. 2 – LA QUINTA
Oct. 16 – SAN BERNARDINO*
Oct. 23 – at San Gorgonio*
Oct. 30 – at Colton*
Nov. 6 – PACIFIC*
Nov. 13 – at Arroyo Valley*