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Aztecs begin postseason

BARSTOW • For the first time in three years, the Barstow football team is about to take part in CIF-SS postseason play.


The Aztecs finished with records of 7-3 overall, 3-1 in the Desert Sky League. Tonight, they’ll meet up with Oak Hills, who went 9-1 overall, 3-1 in the Mojave River League.


This is the first postseason game the Aztecs have played since the 2009 season, when they finished at 7-4. It’s the second season for head coach Mike Esposito, and his inaugural playoff appearance.


“We’re really excited, we’ve been working pretty hard all week,” said the Aztecs skipper on Wednesday. “The kids are ready, they accept this challenge.”


Esposito has done some scouting of the Bulldogs over the last few days, and he’s aware of what they’ve done this year. As a team, Hills averages 182.7 yards per-game passing, and 213.8 rushing. The Bulldogs also average 48.3 tackles and 32.9 points, and have scored a total of 44 touchdowns this year.


The coach is aware as well of the dangerous players from Hills. Brett Kokesh has scored 10 touchdowns and has 745 yards rushing, while DeZhontaey Fletcher has nine TD’s, and 925 yards rushing. Casey Campbell should be avoided, as he has 61 solo tackles.


Of course, the Aztecs got where they are by putting up some impressive numbers of their own. They average 329.3 yards rushing per-game, 4.0 sacks, 79.8 tackles, and 27.0 points. They’ve scored 35 touchdowns this season.


Individually, James Noble leads the squad with 21 TD’s, while Tracy Venable and David Green have five apiece. Marquis Jones has 11 sacks and 33 solo tackles, with 32 tackles each for Jonas Linebaugh and Domenick Silva. Venable also has 483 yards rushing, and Green 448.


The Aztecs also have momentum in the form of ending the regular season on a four-game win streak. It started with a victory in the Axe Game, an 18-14 squeaker over Victor Valley. That was followed by wins over Hesperia (20-17), Silverado (25-17) and Granite Hills (49-0).


“I think our attitude changed after the Axe win. The kids really had something to play for,” said Esposito. “And the Silverado game really gave us a lot more momentum.”


The team will approach tonight’s game in basically the same way it has all year.


“We’ve got a real good game plan, to stick with what we’ve done,” Esposito said. “We’ll try to exploit their offense and defense as best we can and see how it goes.


“We just want to get out on the field. I wish we were playing today! We’re ready to go. It should be a dandy.”


The kick-off is scheduled for 7 tonight at Oak Hills High School in Hesperia.


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