Nothing like being tested early on.
The San Benito High football team will be tried early in the
season again against Valley Christian.
Nothing like being tested early on.

The San Benito High football team will be tried early in the season again against Valley Christian.

The Haybalers will once again open up against Valley Christian, this time on the field turf in San Jose. But unlike last year, the Balers have been plagued by the worst preseason of injuries. The team will feature a young line, and many players will be learning new positions.

Coach Chris Cameron and his staff have been working hard the last couple weeks to get the younger players quickly initiated. But it may be a baptism by fire when the teams meet Saturday for the season opener.

Valley Christian has one of its largest varsity rosters this year with 72 guys on the team.

“We are young in some spots, but we are fairly fast, have good size and are fairly athletic,” said coach Mike Machado.

The Warriors have won back-to-back Central Coast Section championships the last two years. After winning the Division 1 championship the previous year, Valley Christian dropped down to Division 4 last year and dominated without having to try to hard against some of the smaller schools.

“We played a lot of games where we have felt overmatched with teams,” Machado. “And we didn’t feel good about any one of those games. It was as hard for us as it was for anyone else. I’ve always felt that private schools belong at the top level because they can draw from talent all over and are not stuck with just what is in their area.”

Four of the five Valley Christian linemen are returning this season, including highly touted Justin Willis (6-1, 290 pounds) and Joseph Townsend (6-4, 260 pounds). Both players have run a five-flat 40 this year.

J.R Adams, a senior halfback, returns to give the Warriors speed moving the ball. But for the first couple games, the the Warriors will be without running back Dominic Hunsucker, the West Catholic Athletic League sophomore of the year last season. Hunsucker is out until the middle of October with an injury.

Last year’s backup quarterback Dante Perez, a strong-armed junior, is taking over the ship this year. The average size of the Warriors receivers is about 6-foot-2.

There are also several guys coming up from last year’s JV team which finished 10-0 last year and didn’t have a lot of close games, Machado said.

After finishing 11-2 overall last year and 4-2 in the West Catholic Athletic League, the Warriors were again picked by the San Francisco Chronicle as the favorite to win the league this year.

Although Valley Christian won 16-0 when the teams met last, the score could have been a lot higher. The Warriors missed two field goals and had two extra point attempts blocked. They also had a touchdown called back and one dropped.

“We are a lot like Hollister in that we run the ball in a similar offense,” Machado said. “But this year I don’t know that stopping our run is in anyone’s best interest because the way we can throw the ball, we can make plays.”

Despite the Baler injuries, fans should expect to see a good football game between two quality teams.

“They got some good numbers, and when you have numbers injuries aren’t that drastic,” Machado said. “Hollister scraps. They come to play. If you have Hollister on your schedule, you’re going to have to assume your going to have to come in and play some good football.”

Previous articlePercolation ponds location opposed
Next articleThumbs Up, Thumbs Down
A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here