By Aram Tolegian
It’s go time for the Bonita High School football team.
The Bearcats begin preparations for the 2013 season this morning and will have another practice this afternoon. Bonita is just one of several local teams to begin practicing this week for the upcoming season, but the Bearcats are different in that arguably their biggest game of the season is the first when they take on rival San Dimas on Aug. 29 in the annual Smudgepot game at Citrus College.
“As far as game planning for San Dimas, we need to take care of ourselves first,” second-year Bonita head coach Adrian Medrano said.
Bonita has precious few questions as far as job battles. Quarterback is settled with senior Tanner Diebold entering his third varsity season. The defense looks to be one of the better stop units in the area with veterans Thomas Loy, Noah Montoya and Christian McQueen all back.
The Bearcats do have to replace standout running back Reggie Turner, who had a banner senior season in 2012. The heir apparent was thought to be talented junior Angel Verdugo, who was Turner’s primary backup last season. But Verdugo has left the program and is expected to transfer to nearby Damien.
Bonita and all local teams couldn’t ask for better weather to start fall practice. The cooler-than-usual temperatures are certainly a welcome sight for players who often find themselves in heavy equipment in the heat of the day.
Medrano is taking a new approach this year to his practice schedule. The Bearcats won’t have back-to-back days with two-a-day practices, preferring to go to what Medrano called a college-type model.
The Smudgepot lost a little bit of steam when former San Dimas running back Jake Payton decided to transfer to Upland earlier this summer. Payton has since been declared ineligible for the season by the CIF-Southern Section, but will appeal that decision.
You’d think Medrano would feel relief not having to find a way to stop Payton, but that isn’t the case.
“With or without Payton, they’re going to be pretty good,” Medrano said of San Dimas. “They’re never easy to stop. They have their quarterback coming back.”
Los Altos’ Marcos hoping for thumbs up
Los Altos received quite a scare at the end of July when standout running back Estuardo Marco suffered a broken thumb during practice.
Marcos rushed for 871 yards and 15 touchdowns last season and also scored four touchdowns on kick returns. The thumb injury has landed him in a soft cast and has limited him to weight lifting and being a spectator. Nonetheless, Los Altos coach Dale Ziola expects good news when Marcos visits the doctor on Thursday in hopes of getting the soft cast removed and returning to practice.
“I expect him to practice Thursday,” Ziola said. “The good thing is that he carries the ball in his other hand. We still have depth at the position.”
Los Altos began its fall preparations early Friday with what’s becoming an annual tradition of practicing at midnight.
“The best part is that there’s former players from the last couple years who come out to watch and root on our team,” Ziola said. “It’s become a big thing to the program.”