Seven high schools that call Escondido home are in the midst of their final preparations prior to the beginning of the 2017 football season.
In alphabetical order, let’s take a brief look at each of them.
The Crusaders of Coach Randy Kreglow had an outstanding year in 2016, recording a 9-1 record with the only blemish being a 44-38 setback in the 8-man championship game to Foothills Christian, a team they had defeated earlier in the season. The year before, Calvin ran the table in the playoffs and won the title. Having clearly established itself as a powerhouse, CC figures to have another outstanding campaign with a potent offense paced by versatile quarterback Matt Lafler and dynamic running back Wesley Salzman leading the way. The Crusaders will open up this Friday night when they travel to Borrego Springs.
The Caimans had a very successful year in ’16, winning seven games and going undefeated (4-0) in league play. Beginning his fourth year at the helm, Coach Jon Goodman has done a notable job in making the Caimans a very competitive group. Transitioning into the Coastal League will be a challenge for CA and their opener against perennial power La Jolla Country Day will be a real test.
Despite going 2-8 last season, the Cougars made some definite strides in establishing a more aggressive mindset under first-year coach Jud Bordman. Look for continued improvement to take place as Bordman seeks to rebuild Esco’s football tradition. The Cougars will try to get off to a positive start when they host Mission Bay tomorrow night.
A familiar face is back as Greg Brose returns as head coach after a four-year absence from the sidelines. Brose feels confident that his White Tigers can better the 2-8 ledger that they posted last year. Much will depend upon how sophomore QB Georgiy Begaliyev fares but with talented back Tristan MacMahon and gifted receiver Shane L’Etoile around to lend able assistance, the offense should be productive. Moreover, a defensive line that will feature gamers like Jesse Mazariegos, Brendan Hansen and Aaron Bolas has the potential to be special. Charter’s opener on Friday night requires quite the road trip as the White Tigers will travel some 116 miles east to take on Calipatria.
Don’t be misled by last year’s 4-7 record. The Patriots were an extremely competitive bunch that showcased one of the most exciting offenses in all of the North County. Now settling into its second season in the tough Coastal League, OG is hoping to make some real headway in that highly-respected circuit. Led by solid coach Jason Patterson and captain/hardnosed running back Jacob Guzman, the Pats are very capable of having a winning season. But finding serviceable replacements for the record-setting passing tandem of Blaine Bailey and Malachi Russell is a must. The Pats will kick things off with a Friday night contest versus visiting Clairemont.
Last year’s 6-5 season was a successful one, highlighted by a second-place finish in the Valley League. About to enter his 11th year as the Golden Eagles’ coach, Tony Corley brings experience, stability and a wealth of knowledge to the task at hand. SP’s offense is expected to be a strength with QB Westin Erdman and running back Saud Carrillo looming as real threats. The Golden Eagles will attempt to take advantage of some early home cooking when they welcome visiting Granite Hills on Friday evening.
San Pasqual Academy
Tightening up a defense that yielded 337 points during a 2-6 season in 2016 will be a high priority for second-year coach Mark Dederian. Since the Dragons play only a seven-game schedule, their season-opener won’t come until September 15th when they will take on defending 8-man champ Foothills Christian.
So with the games about to begin, it’s going to be most interesting to track the fortunes of each and every one of these Esco-based teams as the season unfolds.