Jeff Strycula’s first year at Miller was what you would call awkward. Hired in late May after spring football practice after Jeff Steinberg took the job at Corona Santiago, Strycula never felt comfortable with his veteran team, a team that had come off a Citrus Belt League title the year before.
“I never really felt that it was my team last year,” Strycula said. “I came in late and I don’t think there was much unity last year. I feel a lot comfortable right now – I feel like the program is completely in my control. I feel like there’s more of a team concept this year, that everyone is on the same page.”
Miller was up and down last year, losing its first three non-league games before running through four straight wins in Citrus Belt League and taking a 27-7 halftime lead over Rebels. The Rebels then ran out of gas, blowing the 20-point lead to the Terriers and two of their final three games.
Miller is hoping to be a darkhorse in the Citrus Belt League, which is expected to come down to one of the two Redlands schools. If the Rebels hope to do that, they will rely on a defense that returns 5 starters and 10 other lettermen that saw considerable time a year ago.
“Defensively, we feel that we have a lot of strength,” Strycula said. “We have a lot of kids back that played a lot last year, we have the same coaches and defensive coordinator. We really feel good about what we have on defense.”
Leading the way for the Rebels on defense is linebacker Jamal Wilson (6-1, 240), who has already been offered by San Diego State. Zach Releya (6-3, 240) also provides help at linebacker, with defensive end Sean Chiadez (6-0, 230) returning. Safety Kendall Chambliss (5-10, 175) and cornerback Dreveon Henderson (5-8, 155) return as well.
Offensively, the Rebels lose all-CIF quarterback Juan Flores and dynamic running back David Dash. Eric Shufford (6-1, 175) will move to quarterback from wide receiver to replace Flores, with Devante Lewis (5-8, 180) replacing Dash. The Rebels return some size in the offensive line in Aaron Ronquillo (6-3, 235) and Aaron Aguilar (5-9, 235).
Miller 2010 schedule (Home games in CAPS, * indicates league game)
Sept. 3 – UPLAND
Sept. 10 – at Los Angeles Carson
Sept. 17 – ARROYO VALLEY
Sept. 24 – at Etiwanda (Colony HS)
Oct. 1 – at Oak Hills
Oct. 15 – at Eisenhower*
Oct. 22 – FONTANA*
Oct. 29 – YUCAIPA*
Nov. 5 – at Redlands*
Nov. 12 – REDLANDS EAST VALLEY*