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Trojans ready for kick-off
YERMO • With its first game just a week away, the practices are getting pretty intense for the Silver Valley High School football team.
The Trojans are coming off a 2012 season in which they went 3-7. It’s been a few years - back to 2008 - that the squad has had a winning season. John Stewart, back for his second year as head coach, has been out on the field with his players getting ready for the past few weeks, and is optimistic about the season ahead.
“We are looking forward to a great season,” said the coach earlier this week. “We had a core group of kids working hard in the off-season to make this year a special one for Silver Valley football.”
Unlike Barstow, which graduated 27 seniors from last year’s team and returns only two starters, the Trojans have many experienced players coming back. All-League linebacker Dante Fields returns to anchor the Valley defense, along with linebackers Dan Quixchan and Brian Ili.
“We also look forward to see our 320-pound nose tackle David Pallante, who had a great off-season,” said Stewart. “as well as some newcomers in Will Williams, R.J. Davis and Roman Walton.”
The Trojans will be led on the offensive side of the ball by All-League lineman Darick Teube and Derick Perez, who will be joined by newcomer Blake Bair. All-League quarterback Evan Martinez also returns to the offense, along with kicker James Liker, who was also All-League and whom Stewart refers to as “the scoring machine”.
“We also have a slew of new weapons in Bailey Rettmann, Raymond Ramirez, Parrish Firoved, Nick Yanez and others,” said the coach. “Behind the seasoned ‘O’-line will be a group of talented running backs in Quixchan, Fields and Ili, who all had carries last year.”
There have been many strenuous practices in the August heat for the Trojans, and the time to put it all on the line is fast approaching. The season gets underway next Friday with an away game at Crean Lutheran in Irvine. Last year also began at Crean, a competitive game in which Valley came up short by a 20-14 score.
That’s followed up on Sept. 6 by the year’s first home game, against Hamilton out of Anza, at 7 p.m. With a lopsided schedule, that’s the last time the Trojans will be home until they finish up the 2013 campaign with three games on their home turf, on Oct. 25, and Nov. 1 and 8.
With the clock ticking down, coach Stewart is encouraged by what he’s seen so far.
“All in all, the team should be improved from last year in every area of the game,” he said, adding that the players have come up with a team motto for the season. “The kids dedicated themselves through the off-season and put in some hard work. They’re now ready to go out, and as we say, ‘Get Some’.”