It’s been a hard road for Bloomington coach Tom Conner in his three years since taking the reins from legendary coach Don Markham, as the Bruins have yet to make the playoffs or finish with a winning record. Year four might not be very easy either, as graduation ravaged the Bloomington lines.
Add in the transfer of hulking 360-pound junior Napoleon Taufahema, who started at center as a sophomore for the Bruins, to Colton in the offseason and Conner is faced with the uneviable task of being young and untested on the line.
“We are small in general,” Conner said. “We were going to have five underclassmen starting on the line even with Napoleon coming back but now we’ll really have some young guys figuring it out as they go. We’ll see how it goes.”
It’s not all gloom and doom at Bloomington though. They have good numbers combined between the varsity and JV teams and have a stocked cupboard of position players with the potential to break out and do some things.
“If we can execute and stay healthy, we are going to be all right,” Conner said. “We got skill guys on both sides of the ball that can make plays. As long as we put ourselves in good position and avoid mental mistakes, we should be able to do that.”
Senior quarterback Demetrius Moore (6-3, 210) returns after splitting time between QB and wide receiver last year. He’ll have plenty of targets to throw to in seniors Ezekiel Herndon (6-1, 175), J.J. Miranda (6-2, 175) and Khle Farris (6-2, 170). Senior running back Johnta Carter (5-9, 215) returns after leading the Bruins with 546 yards rushing last year.
Bloomington returns quite a bit in the secondary and at linebacker on defense. Herndon and senior Steven Diaz (5-9, 160) will start at corner for the Bruins, with Miranda and senior Alex Gutierrez (6-0, 165) playing safety. Carter and Farris will be among the starters at linebacker as will senior Dontae Woods (5-9, 210).
Bloomington schedule (Home games in CAPS, * indicates league game)
Sept. 2: CHAFFEY
Sept. 9: at Banning
Sept. 16: at Pomona
Sept. 30: FONTANA
Oct. 7: at Menifee Paloma Valley
Oct. 14: at Kaiser*
Oct. 21: RIVERSIDE NORTE VISTA*
Oct. 28: vs. Summit (Miller HS)*
Nov. 3: vs. Riverside Patriot (Rubidoux HS)*
Nov. 10: JURUPA VALLEY*