On the surface, a 3-7 season doesn’t seem that big of a deal. And Fontana isn’t treating it as a huge thing. But as crazy as it sounds, the Steelers actually made some progress in 2009, as the three wins represents their highest total since 2003. But coach Lance Ozier isn’t satisfied.
“We improved last year, but not as much as we wanted to,” Ozier said. “It wasn’t the degree of progress we were hoping to make, but it was some progress. We just need to make more.”
The Steelers have the means to continue a slow ascent, with 13 starters – five offensive and eight defensive – returning from last year. A couple things have Ozier excited – an increase in team speed and more players coming out for the team due to making grades.
“I think we are definitely faster and more athletic than we have been,” Ozier said. “That’s the one thing we’ve been focusing on, that and getting more kids to come out. I like the athletes we have and I think we have a little more depth, though it’s not quite there yet.”
Fohi is looking to get the tempo started with its defense, where it returns the bulk of its production from last year. The Steelers did lose star linebacker Richard Thorpe, but return senior Daniel Mercado (6-0, 180) and junior David Alvarado (5-9, 165) at the position. Juniors Lawrence Tibbels (6-0, 185) and Darnell Thomas (6-0, 185) will play defensive end, with senior Antwione Holmes (6-0, 160) playing defensive back.
Offensively, the Steelers are excited about their options at wide receiver. Holmes will see time at the position, with senior Russell Barkus (6-3, 170) providing a big-play threat for senior QB Robert Delafuente (6-3, 170), who played WR last year.
The Steelers will get their rushing yards from seniors Adrian Ramirez (5-9, 165) and Andrew Ortega (5-7, 150) along with junior D’Angelo Lino (5-6, 145). The line is a work in progress led by junior Ruben Gutierrez (6-4, 235).
Fontana 2010 schedule (Home games in CAPS, * indicates league game)
Sept. 10 – LITTLEROCK
Sept. 17 – SUMMIT
Sept. 24 – at San Bernardino
Oct. 1 – BLOOMINGTON
Oct. 8 – at Pico Rivera El Rancho
Oct. 15 – YUCAIPA*
Oct. 22 – at Miller*
Oct. 29 – REDLANDS EAST VALLEY*
Nov. 5 – EISENHOWER*
Nov. 12 – REDLANDS*