The best part of being in the second year of a new program is that the first year is over. Jurupa Hills coach Edward McMillon definitely agrees with that point of view.
“It’s a lot different this year compared to last year,” McMillon said. “The kids have been in the program for over a year and know what to expect, which allows us to work on some more things and really concentrate on getting better rather than teaching. Having juniors and sophomores gives you more options than having sophomores and freshmen.”
While the Spartans are a year bigger, a year smarter and a year more mature after their 1-7 debut of a year ago, size is still a bit of an issue at Jurupa Hills. The Spartans are pretty deep at the skill positions, but they are lacking for size in the trenches.
“We just don’t have that many big guys,” McMillon said. “We have a lot of athletes, but they all seem to be a little small. Hopefully we’ll get some bigger guys in time, but we are a pretty small team right now.”
The key bigger guys that the Spartans do having coming back are junior David Flores (5-11, 230) and sophomore Tyler Lott (6-1, 260). Both players will see time on the offensive line, with Lott – a player that the Jurupa Hills coaching staff is high on – seeing time at defensive tackle as well.
The Spartans’ spread offense will have a bevy of options at wide receiver, led by junior Crest Hollis. Hollis (5-6, 145) may be the smallest Spartan but his production was big, as he caught 24 passes for 581 yards and had nine combined touchdowns. Juniors Mario Winbush (6-2, 170) and Marquise Redden (6-0, 170) will also receive passes from junior quarterback Johnny Luna (5-9, 150), who also can play wideout in a pinch.
The Spartans’ running game will feature juniors Jordan Booker (5-11, 170) and Waymond Cooley (5-10, 210). Both players will also see considerable time at linebacker, with Booker playing outside along with sophomore Jamal Nelson (5-10, 170) and Cooley playing in the middle.
Jurupa Hills schedule (Home games in CAPS, * indicates league game)
Sept. 2: INDIO SHADOW HILLS
Sept. 9: at La Puente Nogales
Sept. 16: at Silver Valley
Sept. 23: at Desert Hot Springs
Oct. 7: LAGUNA BEACH
Oct. 14: RIM OF THE WORLD*
Oct. 21: RUBIDOUX*
Oct. 28: vs. Riverside Notre Dame (Riverside CC)*
Nov. 4: CITRUS VALLEY*
Nov. 10: at Banning*