In 16 years as an assistant coach – 14 at La Quinta and the last two seasons under Leland Eudy at Victor Valley – Eric Perry had always had his eye on being a head coach. With Eudy’s retirement last season, Perry finally got his wish. And so far, it’s as fun as he thought it would be.
“We are having a great time out here,” Perry said. “There are definitely more demands when it comes to off-the-field stuff like parents and especially fundraising, but it’s great to build a program and work with these kids and see where we can take this thing.”
Eudy’s last two years at Victor Valley saw the Jackrabbits make considerable process. Victor Valley had a 20-game winless streak coming into the 2008 season but mustered a 3-6-1 record in 2008 and a 7-3 record a year ago. The next step in Perry’s mind is a playoff berth, something he thinks is possible despite having a relatively inexperienced team.
“There’s no reason we can’t make the playoffs,” Perry said. “I think (Ridgecrest) Burroughs and Silverado have to be the favorite in (the Desert Sky) League, but I think we have the ability to make it. We’ve made some tremendous strides – we were 6-0 in nonleague games last year.”
There will be some changes in the Jackrabbits’ offensive approach, as they go from a pass-happy offense to a more run-oriented attack. Senior Zeke Julian (5-10, 175) is more of a runner than a passer unlike last year’s starter Nathan Burnaman, who threw for 1,636 yards and 16 touchdowns a year ago.
Julian will be looked at to run quite a bit, as will senior Jordan Watson (6-0, 175). And even though Jordan Calhoun, who caught 62 passes for 1,004 yards and 12 touchdowns, has graduated, he’ll have targets to throw to in seniors Isaiah Kepley (6-2, 185) and Craig Giles (5-10, 155). Julian (FS), Watson (SS) and Kepley (CB) will also start in the secondary.
The Jackrabbits have some experience coming back in the trenches, led by first-team all-DSL pick Josh Leonard (5-11, 175). Leonard will play defensive end and tackle. Neil Timoteo (6-1, 225) will play defensive tackle and center while Perry is high on sophomore guards Evan Robinson (5-10, 225) and Christian Gomez (5-9, 185).
Victor Valley 2010 schedule (Home games in CAPS, * indicates league game)
Sept. 10 – RIM OF THE WORLD
Sept. 17 – HESPERIA
Sept. 24 – at Apple Valley
Oct. 1 – SULTANA
Oct. 8 – at Patriot (Rubidoux HS)
Oct. 15 – at Silverado (Victor Valley HS)*
Oct. 22 – OAK HILLS
Oct. 29 – BARSTOW*
Nov. 5 – at Granite Hills (Apple Valley HS)*
Nov. 12 – RIDGECREST BURROUGHS*