San Bernardino coach Nick Monica can count the number of returning seniors he has on two hands. In a competitive San Andreas League, that makes for quite the challenge for the Cardinals as they strive to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
“We have about 8-10 seniors and roughly 43 juniors and sophomores,” Monica said. “Because of that, it’s taken a little bit longer than normal to come together and get that camraderie, that family atmosphere. We had a lot of seniors last year and we’ll have a lot coming back this year, but we are caught in the middle right now.”
Having a lot of juniors isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when they are guys like quarterback/safety Khleem Perkins. Perkins (6-4, 185) has already started receiving Division I recruiting interest and is rated among California’s top 25 for the 2013 class by ESPN.com.
“Khleem is a stud,” Monica said. “We are looking for big things out of him, both on the field and as a leader. He’s definitely a guy that we are going to lean on both on offense and on defense.”
The main returning senior for the Cardinals, who return seven total starters on offense and defense, is offensive lineman/defensive lineman Aaron Cisneros (6-2, 240). Cisernos will get help on both lines from massive junior Daniel Preston (6-2, 300).
Perkins will be the point man of San Bernardino’s spread offense and will depend on a pair of younger players for skill-position help. Junior D’Metrius Hopkins (5-10, 155) will return at wide receiver and also play defensive back while sophomore Nico Forbes (6-1, 200), who played on varsity for most of his freshman year, will play running back.
Along with Forbes, the Cardinals are high on sophomore Eric Holloway (6-1, 200) at linebacker. Preston and Cisneros will anchor the defensive line while Perkins will provide the last line of defense at safety.
San Bernardino schedule (Home games in CAPS, * indicates league game)
Sept. 2: at Upland
Sept. 9: SULTANA
Sept. 16: at Palm Desert
Sept. 30: CAJON*
Oct. 7: PACIFIC*
Oct. 14: at Rialto*
Oct. 21: at Colton*
Oct. 28: SAN GORGONIO*
Nov. 4: CARTER*
Nov. 10: at Arroyo Valley*