Gavin Pachot didn’t get the Rialto job under ideal circumstances last year, as he was named the interim coach of the Knights last June after Don Markham resigned under allegations of player misconduct. But after a 5-5 record and a full offseason, things at Rialto not only are normal, but feeling pretty good.
“Spirits are pretty high,” Pachot said. “Having an entire offseason to work with these kids makes a huge difference. I’ve had them since January and we’ve gotten a lot of good work done. We made some strides last year but we have a way to go.”
The biggest thing the Knights are working toward in a quest for their first playoff berth since 2001 is closing the deal at home. While the Knights made tremendous strides in going from three wins combined from 2007-2009 to five last year, Pachot believes that squandering their home-field advantage was a big reason why their playoff drought continues.
“For whatever reason we didn’t play well in front of our home fans,” Pachot said. “I’m not sure if we were nervous or trying to hard, but we went 1-4 on our own field. That’s something we need to fix because it’s important to take advantage of being at home.”
Rialto returns 14 starters from last season’s team, with the trenches being the focal point of the returners. The Knights are big, talented and experienced up front, with seniors Julian Ramos (6-1, 315) and Richard Pazuelos (6-4, 265) combining with juniors Carlos Jacobo (6-2, 245), Paul Ramirez (6-5, 255) and Steven Barazza (6-2, 225) to form a formidable wall on both offense and defense.
As far as the offensive skill positions are concerned, sophomore Javone Morgan (6-1, 170) will be given the keys at quarterback. Morgan will have some experience surrounding him in senior running back Tyler Telphy (5-10, 190), senior wide receiver Brandon Bennett (5-9, 175) and senior tight end Marcus Tuioti (6-1, 245).
Defensively the Knights will be having a lot of players pulling double duty, with Telphy and Bennett playing in the secondary and Tuioti seeing some time at linebacker. Joining Tuioti in the linebacking corps will be juniors Michael Romero (5-7, 200) and Nick Seiuli (6-2, 215).
Rialto schedule (Home games in CAPS, * indicates league game)
Sept. 2: MORENO VALLEY
Sept. 9: at La Quinta
Sept. 16: OAK HILLS
Sept. 30: at Colton*
Oct. 7: at Arroyo Valley*
Oct. 14: SAN BERNARDINO*
Oct. 21: CAJON*
Oct. 28: at Carter*
Nov. 4: at San Gorgonio*
Nov. 10: PACIFIC*