Kaiser using team approach in going for 10-peat

On the surface, Kaiser suffered devastating losses from its CIF-SS Eastern Division semifinalist team of a year ago, with running back/defensive back and all-Sun Player of the Year Anthony Brown heading off to USC and All-CIF linebacker Josh Shirley now at Washington. But you don’t win nine straight Sunkist League titles, as the Cats have, without having the ability to reload.

“We lost two great football players, guys that really were big for us last year,” Kaiser coach Phil Zelaya said. “We don’t have those guys coming back, but two guys do not make a football team. We feel that we have a lot of guys coming back that can really help us, guys that were with us on the run to the semifinals last year and that have a lot to offer.”

Kaiser looks equipped for another long playoff run, as they have 13 starters returning from last year’s team and 29 seniors in all. There may not be the high-level recruits a la Brown and Shirley, but the Cats will have their typical hardnosed, physical, well-schooled unit ready to go.
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Zelaya era starts at Kaiser

Since opening in 1998, Kaiser has known one football coach – Dick Bruich. The legendary coach quickly turned the Cats into a Sunkist League and Eastern Division power, leading the Cats to two CIF-Southern Section titles and eight Sunkist League titles before retiring after this past season with 292 victories.

So with Bruich riding off into the sunset, does that mean that Kaiser’s Sunkist dominance will do the same? While its impossible to tell in the long term, the answer in the short term seems to be no. Kaiser’s new coach, Phil Zelaya, was Bruich’s longtime defensive coordinator and retaining most of the coaching staff from a year ago, so there shouldn’t be much transition.
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