The last two years have been storybook for Hesperia, at least as storybook as it’s gotten for the Scorpions. With a combined 20-3 record the last two seasons, the second season seeing Hesperia win the Mojave River League championship, life has been good for the Scorpions.
But the 2009 season sees a Scorpions program in a bit of transition. Gone is head coach Robert Kistner, who left for Oak Hills along with former athletic director Darren Goodman. Gone are also 16 starters, especially much of the defense, from last year’s league champions. Hesperia will also have to deal with a bit of a talent drain, as Oak Hills will siphon much of the talent that has allowed for the Scorpions’ success.
But the recent winning tradition of Hesperia remains, and its something that new head coach Jeremy Topete – who was the receivers coach at Hesperia a year ago after spending two years as the offensive coordinator at Chaffey College – will depend on to lead the way, as the Scorpions look to repel challenges from traditional stalwart Serrano and an experienced Apple Valley squad.
“We have plenty of guys who have had success, but for the most part, they’ve watched as other guys have done the work for that success,” Topete said. “During an early meeting, I asked how many guys were starters last year and six hands were raised. Our guys are used to watching others bring the success – now they have to be the ones to get it.”
One guy who brought the success last year was wide receiver Jay Waddell. Waddell, who has verbally committed to San Diego State, provides the new Scorpion quarterback – who will almost assuredly be a sophomore – with an elite deep threat, as he caught 38 passes for 949 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Hesperia also returns quite a bit up front in Brian Oldenkamp, Joel Cardenas and Jonathan West, which should help the running backs fill the void of 2009 MRL Offensive MVP Gavin Santos.
The Scorpions, known for a physical, hard-hitting defense, will be very inexperienced on that side of the ball, which isn’t ideal in the physical MRL. Senior linebacker Melvin Emesbie and defensive back Steven Balue will be relied upon early as Hesperia tries to find some balance on that said of the ball.
Hesperia’s schedule (Home games in CAPS, league games with *)
Sept. 11 – SAN GORGONIO
Sept. 18 – vs. Moreno Valley Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley HS)
Sept. 25 – PACIFIC
Oct. 2 – at Barstow
Oct. 9 – RIDGECREST BURROUGHS
Oct. 16 – SULTANA*
Oct. 23 – at Victor Valley
Oct. 30 – at Serrano*
Nov. 6 – RIM OF THE WORLD*
Nov. 13 – at Apple Valley*