BVarsity Blog

Friday, Aug 09 2013 01:00 PM

2013 HS football previews: Mira Monte

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BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer zewing@bakersfield.com

We're into the meat of the high school football preview series now, with all Bakersfield teams left except one (Tehachapi) that plays with all city schools. First up is the South Yosemite League. From this point on, I'll preview just one team per day, giving that team the spotlight both here and on Twitter for the day. That will bring us up through Sunday, Aug. 25, the day before Week 0 officially begins.

First up is Mira Monte and second-year coach Brett Clark, with a Week 0 opener against Wasco just three short weeks away.

Countdown to Week 0: 21 days

MIRA MONTE LIONS

Coach: Brett Clark (second year)

2012 record: 3-7 (1-3 South Yosemite League, 2-3 home)
Average points: 21.2
Average points allowed: 31.2
Average rush yards: 133.0
Average rush yards allowed: 217.4
Average pass yards: 119.4
Average pass yards allowed: 112.3
Best win: Mira Monte 45, Golden Valley 37
Worst loss: Foothill 26, Mira Monte 6
*—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: Mason Rollins, sr, WR/DB; Anthony Peters, sr, OL/DL; Felipe Soto, sr, TE/LB; Alex Vega, sr, RB/LB; Billy Collins, sr, RB/DB

Key losses: J.C. Brown, RB/DB; Joshua Cantu, WR/DB; Isaiah Gonzales, OL/DL; Angel Garcia, RB/LB

Offense: What was already going to be a difficult situation for Mira Monte's offense this year got moreso when returning quarterback Frankie Ruiz was lost to academics. Ruiz took over the starting position midway through 2012 and flashed dual-threat skills in leading the Lions to a victory over Golden Valley. He could be back after the first quarter, but in the meantime, Mira Monte will have to go with an inexperienced quarterback to lead a unit that has just three returning starters. One of them is third-year starting tackle Anthony Peters, a two-time all-SYL selection. The others are receiver Mason Rollins and tight end Felipe Soto. But despite all of that, Brett Clark thinks the Lions can be better in Year 2 of the spread offense he's brought in. The offensive staff has made a few tweaks to fit personnel and the hope is that another star or two will emerge.

Defense: The news is mixed here, too. Plenty of experience back, especially in the back seven, from a decent defense, but Mira Monte lost its defensive coordinator, Kenny Haslip, who went to Jason Oliver's new staff at Foothill. Clark will take over as defensive play-caller, so there will be a little adjustment there. Leading the charge from a team that really played well for the middle part of the season will be Soto and Alex Vega at linebacker. Rollins is also back in the seconardy, as is Billy Collins. Peters is also a defensive lineman, so this has the potential to be a balanced unit.

Outlook: Clark is a fiery coach, and that's what this program needs to jump-start itself into the discussion as a league contender and playoff team. His goal for 2013 is to win the first playoff game in school history; that task got a lot taller without Frankie Ruiz back. Instead, Mira Monte will have to rely on its defense early in the year and hope that a young offense can find a few playmakers. Clark's passion is going to need to burn for a long time, I think, because this is not going to be a quick building job. As the attrition of this offseason shows (another would-be returning starter, Lorenzo Johnson, moved out of the area), the Lions might have to take a half-step back before taking another step forward. The victory over defending league co-champion Golden Valley last year was a step in the right direction, but it was followed with ugly losses against West and South to end the season and was the Lions' only victory in their final seven games. There are wins to be had on this schedule, but there's not enough experience or pedigree yet to think Mira Monte can grab more than a couple.

Quotable: "My goals are always high. My expectations are always high. If you don't reach them, at least you busted your butt to get there. I think we can win more than the three games we did last year, but you never know till you get out on the field. My expectation is to make the playoffs and get a win. Is that gonna be a reality? We won't know until Friday nights." — Clark

Schedule: Aug. 30 Wasco
Sept. 6 North
Sept. 13 at East
Sept. 20 at Foothill
Sept. 27 Independence
Oct. 4 at Highland
Oct. 11 Ridgeview*
Oct. 18 BYE
Oct. 25 at Golden Valley*
Nov. 1 at West*
Nov. 8 South*
*—SYL game

Prediction: 2-8, 0-4 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

Tomorrow: Golden Valley

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