BVarsity Blog

Monday, Aug 12 2013 06:38 PM

2013 HS football previews: West

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BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer

August 12, and the season is so close, yet still seems so far away. On our end, it's an all-out sprint from here till opening night Aug. 30, which is when our annual High School Football Preview comes out inside your Californian. You can ensure you get a copy by subscribing (call 661-392-5777) or just make sure you get to a newspaper machine early that day. It'll be 40 pages of glorious coverage of nothing but high school football.

Until then, we'll continue to roll out one team a day through the end of next week. Then it's on to Week 0 coverage. The season is close, people.

Countdown to Week 0: 18 days


Coach: Mark Camps (second year)

2012 record: 6-7 (2-2 South Yosemite League, 1-4 home)
Average points: 26.9
Average points allowed: 25.8
Average rush yards: 183.9
Average rush yards allowed: 280.1
Average pass yards: 119.6
Average pass yards allowed: 170.7
Best win: West 31, Tehachapi 13
Worst loss: South 25, West 24
*—yardage figures are from MaxPreps and are only used if at least half of games are available. Take them with a grain of salt. Figure could be skewed depending on which games, if any, are missing

Key players: Stanley Dubard, sr, RB/LB; Enrique Salazar, sr, QB; Fonderaux Wilson, sr, WR/DB; Willie Kelley, sr, OL/DL; Austin Villalobos, sr, OL/DL

Key losses: Patrick Marzette, RB/LB; David Ross, WR/DL; Micah Mitchell, WR/DB/KR; Javaundre Howington, WR/DB; Roman Chavez, OL/DL; Kamron McKinney, WR/DB

Offense: All of the talk about West at this time a year ago was about transition. Mark Camps' wing-T isn't easy to learn quickly, West had talent coming back but not a lot of success in 2011, and there was just a bunch of uncertainty. That played out for the first half of the season, but in the second half — and particularly in the Vikings' run to the Division II semifinals — West turned into an offensive force. The most unlikely factor was the passing game. Enrique Salazar threw for 1,612 yards and 16 touchdowns, completing at least 10 passes to four different receivers. That's a lot of aerial production for a wing-T, and Salazar is back — though all of those top four receivers were seniors. Also back is Stanley Dubard, who exploded onto the scene with a 1,300-yard season. Only one full-time starter, Austin Villalobos, returns to the offensive line, but a few others rotated in frequently. The biggest difference here is experience with the system — Camps said the speed in practice is noticably different because the wing-T has become second nature to the returners. That's good news for West.

Defense: The same players that contribued at wide receiver last year also started in the secondary, so that's where West will need to play catch-up. They do have a potential breakout star in Fondereaux Wilson, who starred in the postseason at free safety and who Camps said excelled in the offseason, too. He should have a chance to make some plays, because the front seven brings back a lot, including nose guard Willie Kelley and linebackers Brandon Bustamante and Chance Gatewood. At times last year, the Vikings really struggled to stop the run, giving up more than 300 yards on the ground to Porterville, Ridgeview and Santa Maria-St. Joseph, but given all the talent back in the front seven, that should improve.

Outlook: It's a little cliché to play the "team makes playoff run, gains momentum for following season" angle here, but there's no doubt that postseason wins at Tehachapi and at Lemoore were season-changers for West in Mark Camps' first year at his alma mater. They changed the entire tone and showed what the coach and his system are capable of doing when things get rolling. Remember, Camps won a Southwest Yosemite League co-tltle at North High, and West should figure to be a contender in the SYL for years to come. That starts this year, with a bunch of talent returning in the backfield and up front. There are question marks at receiver and in the defensive backfield, but those seem to be minor concerns with the athletes on the roster. Besides, the gains made by returners in Camps' system will offset most losses. West has a chance to be one of Kern County's biggest improvers in 2013, meaning a league title and another deep playoff run are certainly on the table.

Quotable: "The speed of execution in the spring was a big difference. All the installation stuff you're doing is a lot faster. Year 2 is a big, big change. The confidence level is much better. The language is easier for the kids to understand, the coaches are more on the same page. It makes a big difference." — Camps

Schedule: Aug. 30 at East
Sept. 5 at Porterville
Sept. 13 North
Sept. 20 BYE
Sept. 27 Frontier
Oct. 4 at Tehachapi
Oct. 11 at South*
Oct. 18 Golden Valley*
Oct. 25 at Ridgeview*
Nov. 1 Mira Monte*
Nov. 8 Santa Maria-St. Joseph
*—SYL game

Prediction: 6-4, 3-1 SYL

2013 HS football preview index
Aug. 1: 8-man schools
Aug. 2: Burroughs, Boron, Desert
Aug. 3: Rosamond, California City
Aug. 4: Frazier Mountain, Kern Valley
Aug. 5: McFarland, Delano, Kennedy
Aug. 6: Chavez
Aug. 6: Shafter
Aug. 7: Arvin
Aug. 7: Taft
Aug. 8: Wasco
Aug. 8: Bakersfield Christian
Aug. 9: Mira Monte
Aug. 10: Golden Valley
Aug. 11: South

Tomorrow: Ridgeview

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