The best part of Citrus Valley’s inaugural season, in which the Blackhawks went 2-8 with a team of freshman and sophomores, is the fact that it its over according to Peter Smolin. As the Blackhawks head into year two, Smolin is confident that the worst of the building process is behind them.
“We feel that the gray clouds are behind us,” Smolin said. “It was a lot of work establishing a program and a culture in a tough year on the field and we really think that’s going to pay off this year. Everyone is back and there’s a lot of excitement right now.”
Citrus Valley is also excited about its new league, as it goes from a freelance schedule to the Mountain Valley League. The MVL is a hodge-podge of different sorts of schools, with Rim of the World, Riverside Notre Dame, Banning, Rubidoux and brand-new Jurupa Hills High School in Fontana forming a peculiar combination. But its a combination that the Blackhawks feel they can take advantage of right away.
“Rim of the World is an established program and I think they have to be one of the favorites, but I think this will be a good league for us to grow in,” Smolin said. “There are some established programs with winning traditions, but the league will allow us to compete pretty well. I think we have the chance to do some things.”
Where the Blackhawks seem to be strongest is on the lines, as they have considerable size both offensively and defensively. Leading the way offensively is sophomore tackle Nick Hospodar (6-4, 260) and junior Nick Alvarez (6-1, 230), with sophomore Luke Taylor (6-5, 250) providing a massive target at tight end. Defensive end Aaron Kahrs (6-3, 220) and nose tackle Stanley Glass (5-9, 250) bring some bulk on the defensive end.
Citrus Valley will have a three-way battle for quarterback, with junior Nate Lucero (5-8, 185) and sophomore Justin Lopez (6-1, 175) battling Bloomington Christian transfer Dalton Douglas (6-3, 183), who Smolin said has an NFL arm. Andrew Gonzalez (5-8, 180) and Ryan Smith (5-8, 155) will split time at RB while junior Trevor Lenard (5-8, 160) is expected to be the go-to wide receiver.
The Blackhawks are pretty happy about their linebacking corps, with sophomores Andrew Vega (5-9, 155) and Jeff Ortiz (6-0, 175) starring there. The secondary will feature Smith and sophomore Connor McCoy (6-0, 175).
Citrus Valley 2010 schedule (home games in CAPS, * indicates league game)
Sept. 3 – SILVER VALLEY
Sept. 10 – BURBANK BELL-JEFF
Sept. 17 – SHADOW HILLS
Sept. 24 – at Murrieta Mesa
Oct. 8 – HEMET TAHQUITZ
Oct. 15 – RIM OF THE WORLD*
Oct. 22 – at Banning (Nicolet MS)*
Oct. 29 – JURUPA HILLS*
Nov. 5 – at Rubidoux*
Nov. 12 – at Riverside Notre Dame (Riverside CC)*