Bray leading the way for Colton

On the surface, it won’t seem like much has changed as far as Colton High School football is concerned. The Yellowjackets will still run their double-wing offense, using a physical running game and an assortment of athletic playmakers on defense to great success. But they’ll have a new guy overseeing that.

Longtime assistant Rick Bray, who has served as an assistant at Colton 21 of the last 25 season – the last 11 with Harold Strauss, is the new guy in charge of the Yellowjackets, taking the place of the legendary coach in the spring. And while Strauss – who is now concentrating full-time on his role as Colton’s athletic director – will not be on the sideline, his influence will remain.

“I’m not going to change much, because there’s really not much to be changed,” Bray said. “Things worked pretty well here. We’ll do some tinkering here and there, but Harold had this running pretty well.”

It also helps that Strauss left Bray with a battle-tested, experienced team filled with playmakers. This is especially the case at linebacker, where seniors Rodney Hardrick (6-3, 225) and Devan Hussey (5-9, 191) will wreak havoc. Hussey, while undersized, is a playmaker – he earned the San Andreas League’s defensive player of the year honor a year ago – while Hardrick is getting offers from Division I schools and is ready to roll after being slowed last year by injuries.

“Rodney has come back with a purpose and there’s isn’t any lingering from his injuries,” Bray said. “He’s a great kid, but when he gets on the field, he’s a bit of a (mean person). He’s ready to go out there and get after it.”

Hardrick and Hussey will get plenty of help on defense from linebacker/safety Andrew Zapata (5-7, 160) and defensive end John Taylor (6-3, 240). Taylor also helps form a stout offensive line, as he is joined by seniors Ryan Hanna (6-1, 260) or Frankie Ybarra (6-1, 250) and junior Jose Casillas (6-1, 285).

As always, the Yellowjackets will have a star tailback, this time being senior Tyler Ervin (5-9, 178). Ervin is receiving some Division I interest and will receive the bulk of the carries as Colton tries to find other rushing options. Senior quarterback Jordan Mixon (5-9, 175) will also return.

Colton 2010 schedule (Home games in CAPS, * indicates league game)

Sept. 10 – at Chaffey
Sept. 17 – at La Quinta
Sept. 24 – BLOOMINGTON
Oct. 1 – CARTER*
Oct. 8 – at Arroyo Valley*
Oct. 15 – at San Bernardino*
Oct. 22 – CAJON*
Oct. 29 – PACIFIC*
Nov. 5 – at San Gorgonio*
Nov. 12 – at Rialto*