B Varsity

Sunday, Aug 11 2013 01:00 PM

2013 HS football previews: South

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BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer zewing@bakersfield.com

Another weekend preview, submitted without further comment.

Countdown to Week 0: 19 days

SOUTH REBELS

Coach: Cary Mills (first year)

2012 record: 7-4 (3-1 South Yosemite League, 3-2 home, lost 26-12 at Independence in Division III quarterfinals)
Average points: 28.1
Average points allowed: 20.9
Average rush yards: 212.3
Average rush yards allowed: 170.9
Average pass yards: 120.0
Average pass yards allowed: 101.3
Best win: South 25, West 24
Worst loss: Arvin 28, South 22
*—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: Keith Evans, sr, WR/DB; Johnny Dirden, sr, WR/DB; Brandon Fermin, sr, OL/DL; Victor Borras, sr, RB/LB; Alex Kramer, sr, TE/DL

Key losses: Dartanyon Harris, OL/DL; Demetrious Green, RB/DB; Tarrell Duke, RB/DB; Armando Rea, LB

Offense: You can't talk about South High in 2013 without mentioning the late John Wren, so let's do it up front. The tragedy of Wren's sudden death has been — and should be — talked about because of the impact he had on players' lives more than anything. But from a football perspective, his loss will be felt, too — not least because he did such a great job building up the Rebels program. This year's team has plenty coming back on both sides of the ball, and it starts with Keith Evans, who has the potential to have a Kamari Cotton-Moya-like impact at quarterback. South also has the option of putting Eddy Perez at quarterback (he started there a few times last year) and getting Evans the ball elsewhere. But bank on Evans taking snaps and distributing the ball to skill-position players like Johnny Dirden and Asonte Johnson. The offensive line is solid with Demetrius Eaton, Gunner Wren (John's son) and Javier Medina all returning.

Defense: From a football perspective, this is where Wren's absence will be felt the most — the defense was his "baby," as new coach Cary Mills puts it, so much so that he would speak at various clinics about how to coach it and learn it. Mills will call the defense this year, and even though plenty of experience returns, especially along the defensive front (minus Dartanyon Harris, who was a monster at defensive tackle), Mills said it's a concern because Wren isn't here to coach. But if Eaton and Alex Kramer can put pressure on the backfield without the presence of Harris to clog things up in the middle, the Rebels should be fine here. There is talent in the defensive backfield with Evans and Dirden returning.

Outlook: It's both a tremendous shame and a fitting tribute to John Wren that this might be the best team of his time at South. The team had just finished a summer workout hours before he passed away in his sleep, and the team has dedicated the season to his memory. The list of returners on both sides of the ball is long, and Keith Evans is a true playmaker who will have the ball in his hands often. Is that enough for the Rebels to challenge Ridgeview and perhaps West atop the South Yosemite League? Quite possibly, though quite a few skill-position players have graduated and the defense will be a mystery with a new coach and the loss of Wren's particular expertise in that area. Emotionally, Mills says the players seem to have shaken off the shock of losing Wren, but you never know what will bubble up when the games start. That kind of passion can either be a great motivator or a great distraction, especially considering many will be watching and hoping the Rebels can honor Wren with a great season. I think the end result is that results will mixed; you'll probably see plenty of ups and downs. The call here, though, is that by the end of the year and the playoffs, an experienced team is ready for a run.

Quotable: "John had such an impact on this community. He's with us all the time. Every day, we talk as coaches about what coach Wren would do. But the kids are doing great. We had a couple of weeks where we had to deal with things, but the funeral brought closure and we had a team-building event that brought some closure. High school kids are very resilient. They're not like adults. They're doing great, and they're ready to play football." — Mills

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

Prediction: 7-3, 2-2 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

Tomorrow: West

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