Football 2014: Valley Center Hornets
The second year of building a football program is easier than the first. Valley Center’s coaches and players know that, and the optimism shows.
“We were farther along in July for this year than we were in November for last year,” coach Caleb Smith said. “We have a lot more in already. The second year makes a world of difference.”
The job now is getting progress to result in victories. Valley Center was 0-8 last season but two scores away from two victories. The potential for a more powerful offense has hopes high of ending a losing streak.
“I’m super-excited for this second year of the program,” quarterback Dylan Scheer said. “The whole team has a better idea of coach’s concepts and game plan in general.”
Scheer returns as the starter. He had little experience when he got the job last year, but Smith said he has improved and helped lead summer workouts. He’ll be needed to throw more as Valley Center tries to vary its offense.
Scheer has more weapons at his disposal. Running back Zach White broke his ankle in last year’s preseason scrimmage, but returned in time to medal in the Class 5A 100 meters at the state track meet.
Receivers Demarco King, Alec Wetig and sophomore Keyon Young all have talent and should provide open targets for Scheer.
The offensive line is heavy with seniors, but Smith said there’s not a lot of depth. It’s led by senior Gavin Reeves (6-foot, 195 pounds).
The defense gave up a 34-point average last year. All-division defensive end Chance Sowers returns, but moves to linebacker as the Hornets switch to a 3-4 defense. Noseguard Jed Elliott, end Chris Bluml and end Mason Orr are the other returning starters. Senior linebacker Evan Balthazor returns after tearing a knee ligament last season.
“We have a lot of younger guys out there, but we have a system that the kids have bought into,” Smith said.
Progress may not come in victories, and a 5A playoff appearance would be a major achievement considering Maize, Maize South and Carroll are the opponents. But improvement comes in many ways.
“Improvement will be points, wins and defensive stops,” Scheer said. “I think we’re getting better and can do a lot of good things this year.”
A LOOK AT VALLEY CENTER
Coach: Caleb Smith, second season, 0-8
League: AV-CTL Division II
Last season: 0-8
Last five seasons: 3-41
Projected 2014 playoff team? No
TOP SKILL PLAYERS
|Sept. 5||Andover Central|
|Sept. 12||at Arkansas City|
|Sept. 19||at Newton|
|Oct. 9||at Eisenhower|
|Oct. 17||Maize South|
|Oct. 31||at Carroll|
Dylan Scheer on his team
What Valley Center does well: “Our (offensive) line has been working really hard and we’ve got a lot of returning starters. It’s going to help us out a lot.”
What has to improve: “We need to work on our discipline and finishing a game. It’s something we’ve always needed to work on and hopefully we’ll better at that.”