Fresh football team looks to the future

Carolina Manrique and Amara Rivera

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Friday night lights, confetti, and a whole lot of school spirit means football has started once again, but  this time without the starting players of recent years. Chris Jones, CJ Verdell, Quentin Fraiser, Kyle Caldwell, Kyle Moses, and Aidan Sharp all have graduated and gone on to play college ball. There has been lots of speculation about how this season will turn out after all the big names have left. The question on everyone’s minds right now is, “Will the team step it up and take CIF?”

Coach Jared Izidoro, one of the varsity coaches, stated that the only thing that the team is lacking is more confidence in one another.

Izidoro sees improvements that the team is bonding more, and claims that “We’ve got a good group of seniors, who are a very close group. No matter what, each year is going to be different and each year brings a different group of guys…it’s our job as coaches, to figure out how to coach them to where they need to be”.

He continues explaining that all players have been practicing a lot and are ready for the challenges of this year. “They have learned a lot from the players from last year. They are ready to fill their shoes.”

Last year the team was been bumped up to division two from division four and that standing remains now even though the team has more younger players thus less experience, “They are ready to go to war,” declared Izidoro.

There are many experienced players from last year’s championship team that are starting this year. Nick Dell’Acqua, a senior varsity defensive lineman, says that even though several talented players graduated, he got to meet a lot of new ones and cannot wait to see how these new players do on the field

The chemistry on the team seems to be quite strong and they seem to be able to fill in for the talented players from last year.

The starting players this year seem to be ready to take on all challenges. There will be several guys out there that fans should keep our eyes on. The top players include; Nick Dell’Acqua, who is already committed to the Naval Academy; Cameron Smith who will be replacing graduate Chris Jones as the quarterback, Aiden Calvert will be replacing CJ Verdell as the running back, Nick Lopez will be replacing Quentin Frazier as the receiver, Rayshawn Holscher replacing Elijah Shelton as wide receiver, and Joseph (Jojo) Nisbet replacing Micah Scott as a lineman.

Eric Trus
Mater Dei players line up to compete against the El Cap Vaqueros

Cameron Smith, this year’s starting quarterback, encourages Crusaders not to count the team out yet, “Don’t lose track of us. Stay updated, come out and watch us play. We’re not going away. We’re coming back stronger than ever.

Nick Dell’Acqua who committed to the Naval Academy this past June, says “We’re a young team and we have a lot of talent. We just need to keep pushing and working hard at practice. If we do that, we’re going to have a really good season.” He went on to say that after losing the game against Ramona, it helped the team identify what they needed to fix before the upcoming game against El Capitan. When asked about his thoughts on the future of this season Dell’Acqua adds, “Our intention is to show them, out there on that field, how we play.”

Even though Mater Dei lost the away game against Mission Hills, in San Marcos, they were able to win the home game against El Capitan. Smith encourages fans to look beyond the losses, “After a loss like that, we stayed together and said let’s get back to practice on Monday and work harder than before. I think that says a lot about the character of this team.”

Coach Izidoro encourages those that were doubting the team to come out and watch the team Friday nights as they work hard to get to the top again.

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Fresh football team looks to the future