Falcons hope to build off of last season’s success

September 18, 2008 — by By Abhishek Venkataramana and Karthik Annaamalai

After a winning football season last year that ended with a heart-breaking loss to Live Oak in the CCS semifinals, the Falcons are looking to repeat last year’s success. However, this year the Falcons are almost a completely different team with a new head coach, new offensive formation, new uniforms, new starters and a new league.

“My goal for this year is to practice on Thanksgiving Day,” said head coach Tim Lugo, “because, if we practice on that day, that means we are in the second round of the CCS playoffs.”

Lugo was recently hired to replace Kurt Heinrich, who coached at Saratoga for 11 years, because the school wanted an on-campus football coach. Lugo has over 11 years of coaching experience spending time at Valley Christian, Leland and Pioneer. He decided to coach here because he thought “it would be a great opportunity career wise.”

“I always told myself that I wanted to be a head coach, but it had to be a special situation for me to take it,” said Lugo.

Lugo will have a challenge ahead this season coaching in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League’s toughest division. Since the Falcons won the El Camino Division last year with a record of 8-4, they have moved up to the De Anza Division, which includes larger and stronger teams such as Palo Alto Vikings and Los Gatos Wildcats, who were 11-2 and 10-1, respectively, last season.

“[This season] won’t be as easy as it was last year, not that last year was easy but because we are in the De Anza Division, a much tougher league,” said Lugo. “[Also] our schedule is a lot tougher than it was last year.”

In hopes of adapting to the stronger teams of the De Anza Division, Lugo has brought back one of Saratoga’s most successful offenses, the Wing T, used in the glory days of coach Benny Pierce. Lugo chose this offense because it takes advantage of misdirection and counters in order to confuse the defense.

“We don’t have the biggest guys in the world here,” said Lugo, “but this offense puts us in the position to beat guys that are a lot bigger than us. I think it is an offense that will help our kids win.”

The Falcons had a chance to practice the Wing T offense during the off-season at Cal Camp and many players, such as senior quarterback Michael Guercio, were happy with the offense.

“We did a great job up at Cal,” said Guercio. “It was the first time we ran the offense and we moved the ball really well.”

After working hard in the off-season the Falcons had high expectations for their non-league season opener against the Menlo Atherton Bears on Sept. 6, but six turnovers ultimately led to a 30-0 defeat.

“The turnovers killed us,” said Guercio. “The team was really disappointed because we took ourselves out of the game. We are going to build on every aspect of it to get better.”

The Falcons played at Salinas at 7:30 on Sept. 19, but due to printing deadlines, The Falcon was not able to cover the game. The Falcons will be playing Westmont in their home opener at 7:30 p.m. tonight.