“We have game breakers this year … more guys who can stretch the field,” Gano said.
Just had my preview issue conversation with Damien coach Greg Gano this morning and I hung up feeling even more confident than I was when ranking Sparty No. 8 in the latest All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25.
How good will the Spartans be this year? 10-0? 9-1? 8-2? Anything’s possible …
Before we look at the schedule as the glass half full, let’s look at what happened in the offseason.
— Paraclete transfers Uriah Trailer and Travion Boykins come in and bolster the offensive weaponry as all-purpose guys.
— Defensive linemen Alex Hernandez transfers from Charter Oak, giving the Spartans something they really need — a high-motor player up front.
— Former Los Altos studs Keith and Travis Brown join the coaching staff. And believe me when I tell you, kids really listen to these guys. I think the Browns will be very effective at instilling a nastiness factor that’s often been missing at Damien.
— A.B. Miller corner back Jonathan Lyles transfers in, giving Damien the speedy cover guy it badly needs on the outside.
— Glendora QB Gage Pucci transfers in giving the Spartans a now three-way battle at QB.
— Receiver Josh Savage gets a year better and stronger, and is now 202 pounds
All of those factors will DEFINITELY make the Spartans a much, much better team talent-wise. But let’s look at the schedule … and you will see this team could have one heckuva record.
Sept. 9 DIAMOND RANCH (I’m calling this a W. Spartans better, D-Ranch maybe not as good as last year right away)
Sept. 15 at Chaffey (Win)
Sept. 23 BISHOP AMAT (Here’s where it gets interesting: Amat with no Nine at QB. If the Lancers are one dimensional, that could open the door for an ambush)
Sept. 30 at Temescal Canyon (Should be a decent game, but I’ll call it a W)
Oct. 7 JSerra @Saddleback Coll. (This will be rough. OK, I call it a loss)
Oct. 14 at Claremont (Win)
Oct. 21 SOUTH HILLS (Good game, but again, we’re glass half full. W.)
Oct. 28 CHINO HILLS (Hard to gauge Chino Hills, but I think Damien wins this)
Nov. 4 at Charter Oak (By this point of the year, this may very well be a toss up)
Nov. 10 AYALA (Win)
And lastly, as good as the Spartans look this year, think about next year with Boykins, Trailer, Savage, Alex Hernandez and Pucci all back. And some pretty good lower levels joining them.