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Aztecs set for kick-off
Barstow starts season at Adelanto
BARSTOW • It may still be summer, but an autumn tradition gets underway tonight, as the Barstow High School varsity football team is set to take the field to start the 2013 season.
The squad has been practicing for the past few weeks in preparation for the year’s first kick-off. It’s a young Aztecs team that will be suiting up for its inaugural contest, and for many of them, their very first varsity match.
Tonight will mark the official start to the season, though the Aztecs have a scrimmage under their belts. They played Big Bear last week, and while the outcome wasn’t what the players and their coach hoped it would be, it did show the young players what they need to emphasize going forward.
Ray Silva took over as head coach last month, and he inherited a team that graduated 27 seniors off last year’s squad and has just two returning starters. The coach has many players new to the varsity experience, and was expecting some growing pains.
“We made a few mistakes (against Big Bear), players forgetting their assignments, things like that, but we watched the film and we addressed it,” said Silva prior to Thursday’s practice. “The team is young and maybe we were just nervous, but we have to limit our mistakes.”
The new Aztec captains agreed.
“We made too many mistakes, too many mental errors,” said senior Oshua Rothwell.
“The scrimmage didn’t go very well. We weren’t tenacious enough, not aggressive enough,” said senior Michael Washington. “We didn’t have that animalistic mentality, but I think we’ve corrected the mistakes.”
Now the team’s focus has shifted to its first game of the season, tonight at Adelanto. It’s a strange way to start the year; for one, it’s a Desert Sky League contest, and second, it’s against a totally unknown opponent, as this is the Saints’ first year with a varsity squad.
Traditionally, teams start their seasons with several non-league contests, but with Adelanto now in the DSL, that warm-up period has been upset. The Saints play Barstow in week one and Victor Valley in week two before getting to their non-league games. The Aztecs play the Saints, then embark on four weeks of non-leaguers, against Littlerock, Garey, Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms.
“With the addition of Adelanto to the league, they had to schedule the games where they could, so we start with a DSL game before the non-leaguers,” said coach Silva. “This is an important game and we have to be ready for it. It could come back to bite us.”
But it’s tough to prepare for an unknown entity.
“There’s no film on Adelanto, we don’t know what to expect. But there’s no telling what other teams will bring,” said Washington. “We just have to step it up on Friday; 99 percent won’t cut it.”
“We can always do better, every game,” agreed sophomore captain Jordan Londo. “No pointing fingers, we’ll do what coach tells us to do, do our jobs.”
“We watched film (of Big Bear) to see what we were doing wrong and we’ve worked on it,” said senior captain Rodolfo Bravo. “We have to remember what we learned and bring it all on Friday.”
Proper role-playing and getting the job done is stressed by coach Silva.
“We have to cut down our mistakes, and it has a lot to do with playing assignment football, everyone doing their jobs right; I emphasize playing to the whistle,” he said. “We’ve talked about adjusting to the situation and how we have to be prepared for anything.
I think we’re ready. We saw where we were last week and put in a lot of time this week. If everyone does their job, we’ll be okay.”
The Aztecs will be at Littlerock next Friday, and open their home schedule on Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. against Garey.