B Varsity

Thursday, Aug 15 2013 01:00 PM

2013 HS football previews: Foothill

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BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer zewing@bakersfield.com

We're two weeks from the first high school football games of the season (I'm counting down to Friday of Week 0, but there are a few games Thursday) and also from the debut of the BVarsity Live Preview Show, which will come to you live at 2 p.m. every Thursday, much like BVarsity Live aired last year (and will again this year) after the games at 11 p.m. Friday. Louis Amestoy and myself, and perhaps some guests from time to time, will dissect rankings, schedules and the week ahead in high school football every Thursday. The video will stream live from bakersfield.com, and a replay will be available here on the blog afterwards. Exciting times ahead.

For now, we press on with Southeast Yosemite League previews and another new coach, albeit a familiar name. Jason Oliver is the man at Foothill now, and he's got a new outlook on coaching.

Countdown to Week 0: 15 days

 

FOOTHILL TROJANS

Coach: Jason Oliver (first year)

2012 record: 3-7 (2-3 Southeast Yosemite League, 1-4 home)
Average points: 17.5
Average points allowed: 27.5
Average rush yards: 216.3
Average rush yards allowed: 216.1
Average pass yards: 35.1
Average pass yards allowed: 91.8
Best win: Foothill 26, Mira Monte 6
Worst loss: Highland 28, Foothill 13
*—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: Demetrius Alexander, sr, RB/LB; Daniel Graham, sr, RB/DB; Isaac Posadas, sr, OL/DL; Alejandro Romero, sr, RB/DB

Key losses: Destin Penn, WR/DB; Richard Garza, OL/DL; Gerardo Villa, RB/LB; Brandon Palafox, RB/LB; Montel Littles, WR/DB

Offense: Like Chad Brown at North, new Foothill coach Jason Oliver has his work cut out for him in Year 1. That's particularly true on offense, where the starting quarterback and running back and top two receivers have all graduated (the Trojans didn't throw much last year, but Brandon Fanning ran for 1,695 yards). In place is a young group that Oliver thinks is talented but is certainly unproven. The quarterback will be Randy Rodriguez, a junior who spent two years at the frosh-soph level and so is in for a big jump all the way to varsity this season. Daniel Graham and Alejandro Romero are returners who will see time at running back. There are three returners on the offensive line, led by Isaac Posadas, but there are also two sophomores in position to start. Player development will be key here, because Foothill doesn't really have a single proven commodity returning on offense.

Defense: The secondary has a chance to be a strength, with Graham and Demetrius Alexander both returning as high-flying athletes, and there's a couple of promising players on the defensive line, where Posadas will play as much as he can as a two-way player. Oliver will use a 4-3 defense to maximize Foothill's strengths, plus he'll need one fewer linebacker that way. Alexander was the team's leading tackler a year ago, but the next five on the list are gone, so playmakers will be needed in the middle. The experience in the secondary, for what it's worth, will probably be needed in run support; every team in the SEYL, with the possible exception of Garces (though the Rams lost their standout wide receivers), will be run-heavy, so that will have to be the emphasis.

Outlook: Jason Oliver is no stranger to schools with football history, seeing that he coached six years at Bakersfield High, three as the head coach, after playing both as a Driller and at USC. But the expectation levels at Foothill have waned since Ned Permenter was patrolling the sidelines and particularly since Dennis Manning left after the 2008 season. The Trojans haven't had a winning year since. Oliver expects more success and wants everyone in the program to do the same. It's not going to be an easy road, though; Foothill's varsity program only returns a handful of starters, and there were only 25 Trojans at varsity practice this week. That number will rise, and Oliver said he has even more new players out at the lower levels, but that's not going to help this year. The coach hasn't been heard from in the football world much since he was forced out at Bakersfield High in 2004, but that doesn't mean he doesn't know what he's doing. It's worth noting, for instance, that Oliver was the offensive coordinator for BHS' Division I section champions in 2001. But there's no comparing the talent level of that Drillers team with this year's Trojans. Expect growth, but expect plenty of growing pains, too.

Quotable: "We're trying to re-energize the Trojan faithful, get that pride and tradition sparked again, and I mean past, present and future. I want our guys to know what it means to be a Trojan football player and what's expected of them. As a coach, I don't want to be anywhere else. I feel honored. Ned Permenter coached here, so that's one heck of a lineage." — Oliver

Schedule: Aug. 30 BYE
Sept. 6 at Arvin
Sept. 13 Ridgeview
Sept. 20 Mira Monte
Sept. 27 South
Oct. 4 at Golden Valley
Oct. 11 North*
Oct. 18 at East*
Oct. 25 Garces*
Nov. 1 at Tehachapi*
Nov. 8 at Highland*
*—SEYL game

Prediction: 1-9, 1-4 SEYL

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
Aug. 12: West
Aug. 13: Ridgeview
Aug. 14: North

Tomorrow: Highland

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