Blair Oaks at California District Championship
|8 / 22||Boonville||Home||Win||44 - 0|
|8 / 29||Mexico||Home||Win||21 - 0|
|9 / 6||Versailles||Away||Win||51 - 14|
|9 / 12||Eldon||Home||Win||55 - 0|
|9 / 19||Hallsville||Away||Win||68 - 14|
|9 / 26||Southern Boone||Away||Win||48 - 7|
|10 / 3||Blair Oaks||Home||Win||21 - 10|
|10 / 10||Osage||Home||Win||43 - 29|
|10 / 17||Warsaw||Away||Win||56 - 20|
|10 / 24||Versailles||Home||Win||56 - 7|
|10 / 31||Southern Boone||Home||Win||63 - 6|
|11 / 7||Blair Oaks (District Championship)||Home||Win||32 - 30|
|11 / 14||Orchard Farm (Quarterfinals)||Home||Win||56 - 21|
|11 / 21||Oak Grove (Semifinals)||Away||Loss||14 - 49|
What a two-year run for the California Pintos! Over the past two years the Pintos under Head Coach Marty Albertson has amassed an astounding 25-3 record. Last season they lost one regular season game to conference champ Blair Oaks before running all the way up to the State Semi-finals, losing a close one to eventual State Champions Maryville, the same team that beat them at the end of 2012. But the success of California over the past two seasons is almost unmatched. Coach Albertson and his staff---Geary Labruary, Rick Edwards, Richard Matzes, David Austin, and Robb Hartman---have done much to keep the ball rolling from one season to the next, and they are hoping to catch onto that same kind of momentum this year.
Things will be a little different though for 2014. Last year, the Pintos had most of their starting spots filled with experienced players from the very beginning of the season. This year they have just six returnees on either side of the ball. That does not necessarily mean a big step backward though. Lots of seniors, both those returning to their starting spots or those just settling in, will help keep the continuity going this year. Plus California will be playing in a new stadium, with new turf, which also should help energize the team and their fans. Many of the returning players on both offense and defense are game changers as well and will certainly be leading the charge through August practices and into the early part of the season.
The offense returns six senior starters and they are all-star caliber. These young men were also part of the squad that averaged over 44 points per game. "We should have explosive players to run and throw the football," stated Coach Albertson. Running back Walker Borghardt (5-9, 165) was a thousand yard rusher, scored 11 touchdowns and was named All-District and All- State. Quarterback Jaden Barr (6-0, 185) tallied 560 yards rushing and over 1,000 yards passing, accounting for 12 scores. He too was an All-Conference and All-District honoree. Drew Norton (6-1, 170) is a dangerous receiver. He caught 13 passes for 350 yards and seven touchdowns. The line is anchored by All-Conference, All-District, All-State guard Nathan Squires (6-2, 255). At the other guard spot is Ramiro Garcia (5-10, 230), who also earned All- Conference honors. The last of the returning starters is center Zac Cummings (6-2, 230), a solid player in the middle of the line. Another senior, Garrett Imhoff (5-10, 180) should see some play on offense, possibly some time at center. Gavin Pickering (6-4, 210), another senior, will line up at tackle.
The 4-3 defense will be led by Nathan Squires at tackle. He ended the season being a part of 67 tackles with twelve sacks. But the rest of the defense appears to be pretty set as well. "We have a good front line with good secondary and many returners who got varsity experience last year," said Coach Albertson. Ramiro Garcia added 42 tackles to the team total from his defensive end spot. Junior Landon Mouse (6-0, 170) recorded 25 solo tackles and assisted on twelve others with five interceptions at free safety last season. Jaden Barr was a standout at defensive back, amassing 48 tackles and six interceptions. At linebacker senior Allan Burger (6-0, 165) recorded 52 tackles and an INT, and junior Brandon Gump (6-0, 175) had 18 solo tackles with 25 assists last year.
The team has a number of two-way players who could join the starting ranks as well. Senior Matt Oerly (5-10, 225) will play offensive guard and defensive tackle. Senior Kade McAdams (6-2, 200) will play tight end and defensive end. A pair of seniors, Dylan Norton (6-1, 180) and Alex Dalbey (6-2, 170), will play wide receiver and defensive back. Junior Hunter Rubert (6-2, 200) will line up at offensive guard and defensive end, while junior Aaron Kendrick (5-9, 170) is a running back and linebacker. Coach Albertson added that several of these players were able to see valuable game time last season, so they are not coming in totally green.
Coach Albertson likes the athletes he will put on the field this season. "We should be explosive on offense with good team speed overall," he added. "Our conference and district will be very competitive and challenges us each week." With the new stadium, the excitement of coming off of another State semi-final game, and a great group of seniors the California Pintos are ready to get started on the season. Whether or not they make it as far this year as in the past may be more icing on the cake, but they are certainly eying another run deep into the playoffs and can almost assume that their talent should make them at least a player in the conference championship run and real force within the district, if not more.
Pigskin's Pick: 7-2