Arroyo Valley hopes to profit from culture change

When it comes to discipline and doing things the right way, new Arroyo Valley coach Rock San Angelo is as rigid as his nickname. The Hawk players have learned that ever since San Angelo, a former assistant at Colony, Rancho Cucamonga and San Dimas, was hired in May.

“I’ve kicked a few seniors off this team that didn’t want to buy in,” San Angelo said. “The first thing the administration told me what they wanted me to do, even before winning games, was to change the culture. There’s going to be no more coming to practice whenever you feel like it and playing for yourself on the field. There’s no reason why this team hasn’t been more than a seven-win team with the talent in place.”

San Angelo isn’t bashful about his expectations for the Hawks, who have missed the playoffs two out of the last three years. After balling out in the summer passing league circuit, the new coach thinks that the sky is the limit for his new team.

“I don’t think anyone is really taking us seriously, and to me that’s a mistake,” San Angelo said. “There’s no reason why we can’t be a top team in this league if we play with discipline and purpose.”

One thing Arroyo Valley will have plenty of is speed. The Hawks never seem to lack fast guys and they don’t this year either. Juniors Jalen Amis (6-1, 185) and Zakwaun Walker (6-0, 190).and senior Ahmahd Cummings (5-11, 175) wlll be explosive at wide receiver, while junior running back David Pickett (5-9, 190) will receive a larger role this year after averaging nine yards a carry as a sophomore.

Senior D.J. Thornton (5-7, 160) will fill a variety of roles, from receiver to running back to even quarterback if sophomore Maurice McKnight (6-1, 175) isn’t ready to win the job. Whoever is at QB will have the benefit of an experienced offensive line led by seniors Robert Villaescusa (6-0, 285), Kevin Chandler (6-0, 265) and John Williams (5-10, 275).

The Hawks received a blow defensively when senior linebacker and co-captain Christian Bonnell had to have surgery to remove blood clots from his spine area after Bonnell injured his shoulder making a tackle in practice last week. There will be a lot of players playing both sides, but one defensive player the Hawks are excited for is junior linebacker Tutt Lepolo (6-4, 260).

Arroyo Valley schedule (Home games in CAPS, * indicates league game)

Sept. 9: at Palm Springs
Sept. 16: MILLER
Sept. 23: EISENHOWER
Sept. 30: at Carter*
Oct. 7: RIALTO*
Oct. 14: at Colton*
Oct. 21: at San Gorgonio*
Oct. 28: PACIFIC*
Nov. 4: at Cajon*
Nov. 10: SAN BERNARDINO*