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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Football: Falcons looking to prove they belong in the “A” League

If last year’s season, which including almost beating Los Gatos, placing fifth in one of the Bay Area’s toughest divisions and being just one point away from making CCS playoffs hasn’t already shown everyone that the Falcons belong in the “A” League, players have their eyes set on making an even bigger statement this year as they continue to compete in the upper league De Anza Division.

“We’ve already shown everyone that we can compete in this league, so now our goal is to succeed in the league and make CCS playoffs,” said second-year coach Tim Lugo. “We’ve practiced hard over the summer, and I think we have the potential to be better than last year.”

However, topping last year’s success could prove to be a tougher challenge than expected, especially as the team deals with replacing eight all-league players who graduated as seniors last year. In addition, the Falcons will have to overcome a four-week stretch of games in which they will face their four toughest competitors all in a row, starting with Palo Alto, the CCS medium school champion runner-up, followed by Milpitas, the De Anza League champion, then Wilcox the CCS large school runner-up and finally Los Gatos, the CCS medium school champions.

“The only way we can overcome our schedule is if we focus and just take each game one at a time,” said junior linebacker Greg Johnson. “We can’t beat teams by pure size or pure speed so we need to play together as a team and execute our plays.”

But with an established playbook and the leadership of returning seniors , Lugo is confident that the team will be able to overcome these obstacles and make CCS.

“Success in this league won’t be easy, but we believe in our players and are confident they will compete at the highest level they are capable of,” said Lugo. “We like what we have seen from our players at Cal Camp and throughout the summer league games and tournaments.”

A strong group of returning players will spearhead the team’s efforts. Senior running back Grant Thomas will be leading the ground attack, along with senior Jian Lee and sophomore Troy Doles. Thomas, who rushed for 412 yards last year, is expected to have a “breakout senior season,” said Lugo. Impressive juniors Marcus Hoffman and Johnson, who ran for 78 yards last year as sophomore, will both share the load at fullback.

“Our biggest strength offensively will be running the ball,” said Lugo. “We have a lot of talent up front and have gotten accustomed our running game.”

Senior Vinnie Carstens and junior Kevin Smith will both be leading the offense at the quarterback position behind a strong offensive line led by standout seniors Conner Clarke, Kyle Keating, Greg Pregulman and Alan Yen as well as De Anza Division sophomore of the year Joe Walters and sophomore Alex Polcyn. Senior Yash Chaudary and junior Chris Guengrich will be the main targets of Smith and Carstens as wide recievers. Junior Peter Auvil will be leading the special teams as kicker.

As the majority of last year’s defense has graduated, Lugo is looking for senior tackle Adam Oreglia, senior safety Trevor Teerlink to lead the defense along with a group of “physical and aggressive” linebackers consisting of senior Danny Baldwin, junior Miles Emmerson, sophomore Brandon Oliveri-O’Connor, Hoffman, Walters, Lee, Thomas and Johnson.

“It’s playoffs or bust for us,” said Thomas. “I really believe that we can make it this year, with the talent we have, and I expect nothing less.”

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