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East Sierra League preview — Coast, Farmersville, Laton, McFarland, Orange Cove

East Sierra League Season Preview in alphabetical order. Be sure to vote for the 2010 Preseason ESL Player of the Year in the poll to the right.

Coast Union
2009 Record: 1-9 (1-3)
2009 Scoring: 12.0 PFpg, 31.8 PApg

Plain and simple, Coast Union needs to get better, but it does help to have three of your top four ball carriers returning to your rush-heavy offense.

Last season, Zach Brooke (781 yards), Sam Rivera (503 yards) and Omar Catalan (199 yards) combined for 71.5 percent of the Broncos’ 207.3 yards on the ground per game.

The defense will also need to step up, as it allowed 31.8 points per game a year ago.

2009 Record: 6-5 (4-1)
2009 Scoring: 17.8 PFpg, 20.5 PApg

Last season Mission Prep was Farmersville only hiccup along the way to prevent it from winning the East Sierra League title. But this year Mission Prep isn’t even in the Central Section, and the Aztecs may be primed for a run for the ESL title.

Coach Jesse Lira led Farmersville to a 6-5 record, which is the best record in school history.

The Aztecs made a habit of winning close games in 2009. Of their four league victories, three were by five points or less. And despite their overall winning record of 6-5, they had a negative average margin of victory of -2.7.

Quarterback Ferico See took his lumps last season, but threw for 1,407 yards and 12 touchdowns and this year will have an extra year of experience under his belt.

“With Ferico coming back for his second year, he has grown up a lot over the summer and has limited his mistakes over the summer,” Lira said.

He’ll also have all five his starters on the O-line coming back. First-team all-league honorees Jose Santos and Ramon Martinez, as well as Jimmy Thompson will anchor the line.

Sophomore Cody Hall will step into the receiver role and likely be See’s top target.

The Aztecs have leading rusher Eddie Barrajas (386 yards, 4 TD) coming back. He’ll be joined in the backfield by up-and-comer Fernando Castrejon.

The defense will be led by the 2009 East Sierra League MVP Nick Salazar. As a junior a year ago, he recorded 74 tackles and four interceptions.

The Aztecs had a tough non-league schedule, but coach Lira has his troops confident after a productive summer that saw them beat bigger schools like Clovis, Arroyo and Rigetti in various passing tournaments.

2009 Record: 2-8 (1-4)
2009 Scoring: 22.0 PFpg, 32.5 PApg

The Mustangs have only had one winning season and have endured three particular bad seasons in a row (one win in 2007 and 2008 and two wins in 2009).

One area of optimism is the return of running back Johnathon Covian, who averaged nearly a first down every time he touched the ball. Last year he rushed for 569 yards and five touchdowns on just 61 carries.

2009 Record: 5-7 (2-3)
2009 Scoring: 16.3 PFpg, 27.7 PApg

There are many teams in the Valley that are a predominantly rush-oriented offense, but not very many like McFarland, which ran the ball 92.3 percent of the time last year.

Orange Cove
2009 Record: 7-6 (3-2)
2009 Scoring: 31.4 PFpg, 19.8 PApg

Last season Orange Cove had a chance to force a three-way tie for the East Sierra League title in the final game of the regular season, but came up short in a 49-26 loss to Mission Prep. But the Titans more than made up for it by advancing to the Valley Division VI Championship game against Strathmore (Strathmore won 37-26).

The road back to the Valley Championship won’t be easy without their quarterback or leading rusher returning. But the Titans bring back the trio of running backs in Fabian Gonzalez, Alvaro Rodriguez and Jesse Perez that combined for 1,310 yards and 13 touchdowns with a 7.6 yard average.

Despite being a run-heavy offense, Orange Cove brings back a dangerous receiving threat in Angel Aceves. The 6-1, 175-pound wideout picked up 790 yards on 21 receptions (37.6 yard average).

Rodriguez was a busy man on defense also, as he led the team in tackles with 151 stops, six sacks and three interceptions. He’ll be joined on defense by defensive tackle Hilario Gutierrez (54 tackles, five sacks) and cornerback Anthony Hawthorne (45 tackles, seven interceptions).

Central Valley Football » Coast, Farmersville, High School Football, Laton, McFarland, Orange Cove » East Sierra League preview — Coast, Farmersville, Laton, McFarland, Orange Cove

Filed under: Coast, Farmersville, High School Football, Laton, McFarland, Orange Cove