HS Football: Pajaro Valley 2018 schedule preview

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• Last year’s record: 1-9
• Last year’s league record: 0-6 (Last in Monterey Bay League Pacific division)
• Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 1,012th
• Coach: Kevin Cordova
• Key losses: Irepan Romero; one of the Grizzlies’ top two-way players last season, Romero was a second team all-league selection on offense and defense… Diego Navarro; one of the faster athletes on the team in 2017, Navarro was a threat on sweeps and in the passing game, too…Angel Chavez; was the Grizzlies’ top defender last season and had a first team all-league honor to prove it.
• Key possible returners: Max Arevalo (Sr.); quarterback made strides down the stretch of last season despite the losses…Russel Pablo (Sr.); played several positions for the Grizzlies last season, but started catching on at receiver…Marcos Aguilar (Sr.); a strong nose guard on defense and tough interior lineman on offense who will be entering his third varsity season.
• Notes: Cordova will be in his second season as head coach…The Grizzlies were shut out in three of their last four games of 2017…Not since 2013, has Pajaro Valley finished .500 or better, but the Grizzlies’ chances of notching a winning record this fall will be solid as a member of the Pacific Coast Athletic League’s Santa Lucia division, which will feature five other teams that had a losing record last season.

PRESEASON
Watsonville High
• When: August 25
• Where: Emmett M. Geiser Field
• Last year’s MaxPreps state rankings: 697th
• Last year’s overall record: 6-4
• Last year’s league record: 3-3 (4th in MBL-Pacific)
• Coach: Ron Myers
• Notes: Running back Matthew Barcelo, linebacker Esteban Reyes and lineman Andres Galvan lead a massive 36-player senior class…The Wildcatz’s 6-4 finish last fall was their first winning season since 2009…This year’s meeting will be the 13th time the two schools have battled, but it will be the 12th iteration of the Belgard Kup Game rivalry. Watsonville won last year’s meeting, 30-0, and holds a 9-2 advantage in the all-time series.

St. Francis High
• When: August 31
• Where: Carl Connely Stadium
• Last year’s MaxPreps state rankings: 715th
• Last year’s overall record: 8-2
• Last year’s league record: 5-1 (MTAL-Coastal co-champion)
• Coach: John Ausman
• Notes: Sharks are fresh off winning their first-ever league championship. They also set the program record for wins in a single season…St. Francis will return its sizable 20-player senior class, which includes running backs Devin McLeod, Andy O’Rourke, Abel Martinez and Andrew Seymour, whom combined for 1,986 yards and 20 touchdowns…This year’s tilt will be the fourth straight between the two Watsonville schools. St. Francis has won the last two, including last year’s 37-0 win behind 332 rushing yards.

San Lorenzo Valley High
• When: September 8
• Where: San Lorenzo Valley
• Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 734th
• Last year’s overall record: 5-5
• Last year’s league record: 3-3 (5th in MTAL-Mission)
• Coach: Dave Poetzinger
• Notes: S.L.V. has finished .500 or better each of the last four seasons…Starting quarterback Trent Walker and leading rusher Mark Carling are both gone, but seniors Stevie Markey and Taj Glasky are set to step into those respective voids…S.L.V. and Pajaro Valley have never met in varsity football.

Lynbrook High
• When: September 14
• Where: Lynbrook High
• Last year’s MaxPreps state rankings: 1,038th
• Last year’s overall record: 0-10
• Last year’s league record: 0-6 (Last in SCVAL-El Camino division)
• Coach: Alan Vinciguerra
• Notes: The Grizzlies’ lone win of 2017 came against the Vikings. They won 30-0 in the programs’ inaugural meeting…Lynbrook was shutout in its final two games by a combined score of 99-0…Last season was the program’s second winless campaign in the last four seasons. They finished 2-8 in 2015 and 5-5 in 2016.

PCAL-SANTA LUCIA
Gonzales High
• When: September 28
• Where: Gonzales
• Last year’s MaxPreps state rankings: 934th
• Last year’s overall record: 3-7
• Last year’s league record: 3-4 (3rd in MTAL-Coastal)
• Coach: Art Berlanga
• Notes: Berlanga is in his second season as head coach of the Spartans…Pajaro Valley last played Gonzales in 2014. The Grizzlies lost, 42-14, snapping a four-game win streak against the Spartans…Seth Mays, a defensive stalwart and a solid offensive weapon, is gone but the Spartans do return receiver/running back Payton Flores, dual-threat quarterback Raul Morales and all-league first team lineman Pablo Villaseñor.

Greenfield High
• When: October 5
• Where: Carl Connely Stadium
• Last year’s MaxPreps state rankings: 955th
• Last year’s overall record: 3-7
• Last year’s league record: 2-4 (T-4th in MTAL-Coastal)
• Coach: Adam Barsenas
• Notes: Barsenas is the new head coach for Greenfield. The former assistant and 2004 alumnus, Barsenas takes over for Ryan Bravo, who stepped down after six seasons with the Bruins…Greenfield has not won a league title in its 18 years of existence, and last year’s 3-7 finish was the program’s seventh straight losing season…Tight end Andres Espinosa is the Bruins’ lone returning All-MTAL-C First Team selection. Quarterback Andy Hernandez, the MTAL-C Back of the Year, is gone…Pajaro Valley lost, 48-6, to Greenfield last season. The loss snapped a four-game win streak over the Bruins.

Harbor High
• When: October 19
• Where: Harbor High
• Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 1,028th
• Last year’s overall record: 1-9
• Last year’s league record: 0-6 (Last in MTAL-Coastal)
• Coach: James Gaynor
• Notes: Gaynor is entering his second year as head coach…Harbor has not won a league title since 1996. It has also not produced a winning season since 2000…dual-threat quarterback Bailey Schantz, who ran and threw for more than 1,000 yards, is gone. Top receiver Joseph Clouse is also gone. The Pirates, however, do have 33 student-athletes on their roster.  

Soquel High
• When: October 19
• Where: Carl Connely Stadium
• Last year’s MaxPreps state rankings: 950th
• Last year’s overall record: 4-6
• Last year’s league record: 2-4 (T-4 MTAL-Coastal)
• Coach: Dwight Lowery
• Notes: Lowery, a Soquel graduate and former NFL defensive back, is the new head coach at Soquel. He replaces Brad Tompkins, who was hired in 2014…Soquel has not finished with a winning record since 2013…Pajaro Valley lost last year’s game a year after beating the Knights…Soquel will be without running back Nolan Maas, who totaled 1,344 yards and nine touchdowns last season. The Knights, however, do return running back Andrew Keller, who had seven scores last season, four of which came against Pajaro Valley in last year’s win.

Marina High
• When: October 26
• Where: Carl Connely Stadium
• Last year’s MaxPreps state rankings: 870th
• Last year’s overall record: 5-5
• Last year’s league record: 4-2 (2nd in MTAL-Coastal)
• Coach: Michael Dulisse
• Notes: Dulisse is the new head coach for the Mariners after spending last season as an assistant at Alvarez. Vernon Calhoun stepped down after coaching Marina for the last six seasons. The Mariners last year broke numerous statistical records and also set the program record for wins in a season…Kefu Leander, the MTAL-Coastal’s Lineman of the Year in 2017, has transferred to Seaside High. The Mariners also lost MTAL-Coastal Offensive Player of the Year Fermin Gabot and all-league selection Andrew Perez to graduation…Pajaro Valley won the teams’ first contest in 2014.

Stevenson High
• When: November 3
• Where: Stevenson
• Last year’s MaxPreps state rankings: 831st
• Last year’s overall record: 2-6
• Last year’s league record: 1-5 (4th in MTAL-Mission)
• Coach: Kyle Cassamas
• Notes: Cassamas is entering his second season as the lead man…The Pirates  last season finished with less than four wins for the first time since 2011…Quarterback Alex Murray and receivers Alec Romans and Dylan Santos are back for the Pirates, who lost start athlete Ben Mudd to graduation…Pajaro Valley and Stevenson last played in 2016. The Pirates won, 41-13, and went on to earn their first Central Coast Section playoff berth in 17 seasons.

Editor’s Note: This entry is part 4 of 6 in a weekly series that will delve in each local high school football program’s schedule. Following alphabetical order, St. Francis High’s breakdown will run in the July 13 edition of the Register-Pajaronian.

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