Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dos Pueblos aims to avenge defeat


With the bitter memory of a three-point loss to Santa Barbara during the final game of the 2007 season haunting its dreams, the Dos Pueblos High School football team is determined to not let another crushing loss cripple its chances at a City Championship this year.
Chargers’ Head Coach Jeff Uyesaka said he’s had his players zone in on that goal over the off season, and feels his squad will be well prepared to avenge that loss when the time comes.

“They spoiled our dreams,” Uyesaka said yesterday as his team prepped for the season’s opening game against San Luis Obispo this Friday. “That’s all we can think about.”
While this season will be a building year of sorts for the Chargers, who finished last year with a 5-5 record, Uyesaka has set his sights first and foremost on winning the cross-town match ups against San Marcos and Santa Barbara.
“Our big focus is to be city champions again and take care of the teams in town,” he said, noting that his team last clinched the crown in 2006.
But that won’t be easy for the Chargers, who lost last year’s starting quarterback and lead rusher Gary Braun to graduation. The Chargers also must fill gaps in its corps of receivers, which will sorely miss the likes of Aki Franklin and Derek Martinez, the only two with triple digit yardage. The Chargers’ third most effective rusher in 2007 was Ronnie Arias, who also graduated.
However, that doesn’t mean Uyesaka doesn’t have an equally talented squad anxious to fill the gaps this season.
Starting at quarterback for the Chargers will be senior Jack Johnson, Braun's backup last year. To date, Johnson has a flawless record in varsity play. He was 3-of-3 for passing in 2007, and two of those tosses were for touchdowns.
“He’s showing a lot of composure and maturity,” Uyesaka said of Johnson.
Looking to pick up where Franklin and Martinez left off are senior receivers Tyler McGaughey and Isaiha Brown.
At running back, Uyesaka said he expects another strong season from Dane Limosnero, who rushed for 458 yards on 52 carries and scored two touchdowns last season. Also expected to aid the running game is junior Anthony Houston, who in 2007 had 15 carries for 55 yards.
“These guys really have a lot of speed,” Uyesaka said. “They’ll be fun to watch.”
The Chargers return an experienced offensive line led by seniors Gabriel Ocampo, Brennan Eccles and junior center Ty Smith.
On the defensive side of the ball, Uyesaka said his team will rely on defensive end Michael Mendez, defensive tackle Alejandro Veloz and defensive end Michael Rascon.
He also said middle linebackers Aaron Parsons, Shane Taylor and outside linebackers Zack Boytis and Luis Guzman will combine for a strong presence in the backfield.
Uyesaka said his squad will run the spread offense this year and at any given time spectators can expect to see four receivers on the field.
That being the case, the six-year head coach said if need be, “We’ve got our power game also.”
In the Chargers’ quest for the City Championship, Uyesaka acknowledged Santa Barbara is arguably the most stacked team, but he said he also fears San Marcos, which finished last year with a disappointing 0-10 record, could pose a strong challenge this time around.
“San Marcos has everything to prove this year so they’re going to be tough,” he said.
The Chargers will open up league play against Santa Barbara at home on Oct. 17 and will face San Marcos in the “Battle of Goleta” on Oct. 24.
Uyesaka said it doesn’t bother him that some have picked the Chargers to finish last or next to last in the Channel League.
“I’ll take that role,” he said. “Our guys know how good we are and we’ll have to learn from things week to week.”
This Friday’s game is in San Luis Obispo. It begins at 7:30 p.m.

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