Valencia isn’t big, but it’s got two good quarterbacks

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.Both 6-foot-5 juniors, Baughman and Wilbert have split time evenly throughout a successful summer passing-league campaign, followed by full-contact drills. The one advantage of such a situation is both appear capable of doing the job, so Valencia certainly has more depth at quarterback than other Foothill League teams. Wilbert is looking on the bright side, no matter what happens. “If things don’t go well for one of us, the other guy is going to be able to come in and do a good job,” he said. Whomever gets the nod, the other issue will be blocking. Valencia continues to shuffle linemen, and none are particularly big. At 242 pounds, Mike Mauceri, a senior, is the heaviest blocker on a team that features just 11 players who weigh 200pounds or more. “We’re by far the smallest team in the league this year – and we’re a little young, too,” Monteleone said. Valencia’s biggest player, 6-foot-2, 260-pound returning defensive lineman Matt Diaz, won’t be available against Centennial because of a shoulder injury. West Ranch, a seniorless freelance program playing a full-time varsity football schedule for the first time this season, has picked up a transfer from Inderkum High of Sacramento, Ross Bacon, who’ll start at strong safety. “The kid arrived during the summer, and my gosh, he’s really opening some eyes because he brings it,” head coach Mike Kane said. “He likes to hit, and he’s making tackles. He’s really been a pleasant surprise.” Bacon was a standout running back and linebacker last fall on a Pop Warner team that won a national championship in a televised final in Florida. He scored 15 touchdowns, including several on kick returns. “I had a Pop Warner coach who wanted me to play one more year for him instead of playing for Inderkum, which was a new school, so that’s what I did,” Bacon said. Bacon has moved to Stevenson Ranch to live with an uncle. “I like it here so far. It’s pretty good,” he said. Meanwhile, West Ranch sophomore Jake Bernards has asserted himself following the departure of fellow quarterback Cade Kreuter, a junior who has transferred to Valencia. “Jake Bernards is awesome, and he led the frosh team to a 10-0 season last year,” Kane said. “Jake had pulled ahead of Cade, and I’m very happy with him. He’s a varsity- caliber quarterback all the way.” Two former Oaks Christian High of Westlake Village football players, safety Joe Guiliani and linebacker Peter Padden, have transferred from DivisionI college programs to College of the Canyons. Guiliani was at Utah, and Padden was at Villanova. In other Canyons football news, former Foothill League standouts Thomas Kyle (Burroughs) and Matt Brown (Canyon) have made quite an impression. Kyle, a freshman multipurpose back, will be used at tailback and flanker, and he also will return kicks – his speciality in high school. Brown, an undersized freshman linebacker, has earned a starting job. Mike Catando, 23, has been named starting quarterback for the Santa Clarita Knights semipro football team, an interesting development considering Catando won the job over former Vasquez High of Acton quarterback Tim Brandon, who also happens to own the team. High school basketball rivals Emmanuel Anumba and David Stroud (Valencia), Mark Wantanabe (Saugus), David Franklin (West Ranch) and Bradford Wyche (Hart) joined forces on the same team Sunday at the Slam Jam Sophomore Showcase at Montclair Prep in Panorama City. And finally, what the heck was USA Football thinking by proclaiming Mississippi the No. 1 high school football state in the nation – so far ahead of California, which surprisingly comes in at No. 24? The nonprofit organization selected Mississippi purportedly on the basis of football participation, fan interest and the percentage of NCAA Division I-A recruits and NFL players. It was a collaboration between USA Football and the Wharton Business Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania. Among Mississippi players who’ve made an impact in the NFL are Walter Payton, Jerry Rice and Brett Favre. That’s impressive enough, but, off the top of my head, what about Californians John Elway, O.J. Simpson, Marcus Allen and Anthony Munoz? Gerry Gittelson’s column appears in the Daily News three times a week. [email protected] (661) 257-5218160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! With temperatures soaring into the 100s and several starting positions still open, Valencia High’s football team is expecting some hot and heavy final practices leading up to the season opener against visiting Centennial of Corona at 7 p.m. Friday. Quarterback hopefuls Jimmy Baughman and Graham Wilbert remain even in their quest to replace legendary Michael Herrick, and there also are two or three openings on the offensive line. Originally, the plan was for Valencia to avoid having to platoon quarterbacks. But for the time being it’s a necessity, as the Vikings won’t be able to scrimmage another team because the season starts a week earlier than most schools. “We’re still getting things ironed out. One week Jimmy has the edge, the next week Graham grabs it back,” assistant coach Joe Monteleone said. “It’s gone back and forth, so it’s going to be a real tough decision because both are competing so hard.” last_img

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