Running back: Area high schools rich in ball carriers

With a plethora of returning running backs in the area, this could be
the season that most area high school football teams will move their
offense primarily on the ground.

And it’s not just that nine schools have returning starters, or
players who played significant roles a year ago, nearly every school has
talented individuals around whom to build an offense.

In no particular order:
La Habra – The defending CIF-SS Southeast Division champions return
all-CIF selection Ronnie Hillman, a 5-11, 180-pound versatile senior who
was one of the area’s best running backs and receivers as a slotback
last season. Also returning is Joshua Quezada (jr., 6-0, 185), who
figures to pick up for graduated standout Jason Davis.

Whittier – Daniel Enriquez, a three-sport starter who rushed for
1,213 yards and 13 touchdowns while sharing the spotlight with graduated
Jonathan Quezada (1,039 yards, 16 TDS). Also back is Cody Westfall (sr.,
5-9, 160), who averaged 8 yards a carry in limited action.

Santa Fe – Arguably the area’s best running back, Aaron Turner (sr.,
6-0, 190) is a two-sport all-area selection who rushed for 932 yards,
averaged nearly 7 yards per trip and scored 11 touchdowns. Also back for
the Chiefs are Nikolai Crouch (sr., 6-1, 215, 9.5 ypc) and speedster
Aaron Black (sr., 5-8, 150)

California – After sharing the load last year, Matt Urquiza (sr.,
5-8, 170, 940 yds, 5.5 ypc, 12 TDs) is a tough, hard-nose runner with
speed who figures to be the Condors’ main threat over land.

El Rancho – The Dons’ Marcus Aldecoa (sr., 5-8, 185) averaged 5.6
yards a carry and teams with Marcus Galan (sr., 5-7, 160, 4.5 ypc) to
provide one of the area’s best one-two punches.

La Mirada – Senior Devon Tracy (5-9, 180, 500 yards, 5 TDs) struggled
at times but he had moments of brilliance that bodes well for the
Matadores this season. Also back are Zach Salerno (sr., 5-11, 180) and
Justin Torres (jr., 5-10, 210).

Pioneer – Matt Botello (sr, 5-7, 175, 643 yards, 5.2 ypc, 8 TDs) will
be a third-year starter and with returner Victor Renteria (sr., 5-11,
170), will complement the Titans’ very mobile QB, Ronnie Palacios, in
perhaps the area’s most explosive offense.

St. Paul – The area’s most underrated performer, Luis Garcia (sr.,
5-8, 165, 685 yds, 4.5 ypc, 9 TDs), has been mainstay who plays bigger
than his size might indicate. Will team with transfer Darius Bratcher,
along with Deion Williams (jr., 6-0, 165) and receiver Donte Webb (jr.,
5-9, 170) to give the Swordsmen a potentially potent ground game.

Whittier Christian – The Heralds figure to ride versatile Mark
Edwards (sr. 6-1, 220, 946 yds, 7.5 ypc, 11 TDs), who has been a
standout performer at RB, TE, LB, just about anywhere coach Jon Caffrey
has needed him, for two seasons. This also could be a breakout season
for tailback Nick Camarillo (sr., 5-8, 160), who has been plagued by
injuries the past two years. Garrett Fulbright (jr., 5-7, 150) also is
in the mix.

Cantwell – Steve Levin (jr., 5-9, 180) was a backup a year ago, but
he figures prominently in coach Pete Smolin’s plans this year. The
Cardinals will get a big boost if Joseph Loera (sr., 5-10, 185) can stay
healthy. Loera was a sparkplug as a sophomore, then spent last season on
the injured list.

La Serna – Coach Margarito Beltran has some big holes to fill
considering Rudy Jordan, whose 180 carries were more than the rest of
the team’s combined, as were his 1,127 yards and 14 touchdowns, is gone.
QB Ben Burke is the leading returning rusher with 309 yards and 5.2 ypc,
but much will be expected of returnees Louie Lozano (sr., 5-11, 175, 8.9
ypc) and Kyle Gluck (sr., 6-1, 175, 5.8 ypc), who combined for 328 yards
and five scores).

(Note: No information available on Montebello or Schurr)

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