The past four seasons have seen the Serrano football team progress an additional step toward a CIF championship. The Diamondbacks have gone from losing in the first round in 2006 to the quarterfinals in 2007 to the semifinals in 2008 to the Eastern Division championship game last year. Serrano fell in that game, 24-14 to Palm Springs, but logical progression suggests that the Diamondbacks will win a CIF championship this year. Don’t expect Serrano coach Ray Maholchic to subscribe to that line of thinking though.
“We haven’t talked about the CIF title game since it happened,” Maholchic said. “That’s not something we are thinking about. It takes a lot of good fortune to get to that point once you get in the playoff. We talk about winning the league title first and then worry about the other stuff when it comes.”
Serrano lost two Division I athletes in defensive end Everett Beed (San Diego State) and running back Dionza Bradford (UNLV) from last year’s CIF runner-up, but the Diamondbacks won’t be hurting for experience, as they return four-fifths of their starting offensive line, their quarterback and their leading tackler.
“We have quite a few guys who were big part of what we did last year coming back,” Maholchic said. “Last year we were concerned coming in about how young our offensive line was, but with four of the five starters back, we are pretty happy with what we have up front.”
Leading the way for the Diamondbacks on the o-line is senior Hector Sotelo (6-2,220), who is one of three returning all-CIF players. Sotelo also plays defensive line and is joined on the offensive line by senior Joey Nicholas (6-0, 200) and juniors Anthony MacKesy (6-2, 225) and Mark Knapp (6-5, 280). Serrano also returns one of its tight end in senior Ethan Hillyer (6-3, 205), who also plays defensive end and was an all-CIF selection.
The biggest hole that Serrano needs to fill on offense is at running back, as Bradford ran for 1,347 yards and 17 touchdowns last year. Having senior Joey Peterson (6-1, 180) back at quarterback will help Bradford’s replacements – senior Taylor Ruiz (6-0, 185) and junior Adarius Hogan (5-8, 195) – get comfortable.
Serrano 2010 football schedule (Home games in CAPS, * indicates league game)
Sept. 3 – PARACLETE
Sept. 10 – SILVERADO
Sept. 17 – at Upland
Sept. 24 – at Palmdale Highland
Oct. 1 – SANTA CLARITA GOLDEN VALLEY
Oct. 15 – at Apple Valley*
Oct. 22 – SULTANA*
Oct. 29 – at Oak Hills*
Nov. 5 – at Barstow
Nov. 12 – HESPERIA*
Defensively the Diamondbacks are led by Hillyer at DE, Sotelo at DT and senior Andrew Reagan (6-2, 190) at linebacker. Reagan was an all-CIF player and led the Diamondbacks with 154 tackles. He’ll get help from Benny Maciel (6-1, 190) – who missed much of last year with injury.