CALEXICO BULLDOGS –Â The Calexico High Bulldogs have seen an interesting off-season. After the rough recent couple years culminated with an 0-10 record last season, new head coach, John Tyree, will look to lead the next generation of Bulldog Football to an upward climb in the IVL and CIF play.
“Last year was last year,” said Tyree, who spent all of last year retired in a ranch in west Texas before agreeing to the coaching position in Calexico.
“We’re a real senior football team. The work ethic is outstanding, they’re there everyday, come early and leave late,” added Tyree in praise of his teamâ€™s dedication.
Although it will be his first year with Calexico High Football, Tyree is no newbie to Imperial Valley football coaching. In the 1970’s Tyree helped lead Imperial High to a Southern Section title before moving on to other high schools in California. He has even coached at the college level before ending up on that Texas ranch.
One of the seniors hoping to take point this year is Frank Moreno, returning Bulldog quarterback in his second year under center. Moreno will be an integral part to Calexico’s rebuild offensively.
“I want to be able to help the team, as a leader, both on and off the field,” said Moreno.
“We want to have a winning record and our main goal is a Division V CIF championship.”
In the trenches, Bulldog linemen will look to help make Moreno’s job a little easier, buying him time to make better decisions in the heat of the action.
“We want to protect our quarterback and have the least amount of sacks as possible, and be able to run the ball, pound it,” said right guard Daniel Castillo.
“We’re looking forward to getting some wins and trying to make it to CIF,” added Castillo of both himself and his team goals.
SOUTHWEST EAGLES –Â The Southwest Eagles look primed and ready for a new season, as they continue their growth under their third year head coach John Mitosinka. After a 5-0 start last season, the young Eagles dropped two league games in a row (one to Brawley and the other to Imperial), before reeling off three straight games to end the regular season. A year older, a year wiser, and with a returning core group, the Eagles look to continue their rise in league and playoff play.
“Going into any season the goal is to win the IVL. That is what we at Southwest are aiming for,” said Mitosinka.
“As everyone knows the Imperial Valley Crown goes through Brawley and Imperial. Those two games will be tough along with Central Calexico and Palo Verde,” added Mitosinka of this years IVL matchups.
“We have our work cut out for us.”
Offensively, the Eagles will benefit from having the most experienced backfield returning this year with two 1000-plus yard rushers from last year, juniors Tyler Saikhon and Justin Cordova, along with returning starting junior quarterback Cameron Jungers.
Returning seniors Jose Redona and Gio Camarena hope to lead the young team to an IVL title claim this year, something Southwest football has not done since 2010.
“We want to become better as a team, work as a team towards being the best,” said senior outside linebacker and fullback, Jose Redona.
Returning tight-end Gio Camarena is also eyeing a big season for the Eagles, and ending his Eagles football career on top.
“We want to take on and try to win IVL. The main thing is getting into CIF and try and contend in the playoffs and leave with a championship,” said Camarena.
IMPERIAL TIGERS –Â The 2015 football Tiger football season proved to be a magical one, made even more amazing by the abysmal 0-5 start to the regular season. Despite the very rough start, the Tigers reeled off 7 straight victories en route to an IVL championship and a CIF division III semifinal finish.
This year, the Imperial Tigers are working toward continuing their successes from last season, again tailoring their early season schedule to prepare them for the defense of their 2015 title, a feat that has not happened since Central High won back to back in 2009-2010.
“As a coaching staff were looking to improve weekly,” said Tiger head coach Kerry Legarra
“Once again the schedule is loaded in hopes we will be better prepared for IVL,” said Legarra of the IVL pre season schedule.
For the last five years, Brawley and Imperial have traded IVL titles back and forth. This year looks to be a competitive IVL season with all teams primed for a shot at the crown.
“With so much parity in the league this season, that task will take a tremendous effort both in practice and on Friday night under the lights,” said Legarra.
For the Tigers, leadership and experience will be key as the Tigers will return key position players at running back and wide receiver.
Running back/receiver David Savage again is a big play waiting to happen on both sides of the ball. Junior running back Brandon Hueso will look to add to his impressive sophomore campaign where he rushed for over 1400 yards.
Returning wide reciever Raymond Beamon will also be looking to build on last yearâ€™s IVL title season in hopes of a back-to-back crown to end his senior season.
“One of my goals is to help my team, as a leader, and a facilitator,” said Beamon.
“We have to make it to playoffs again, make it back and do some damage there,” said Beamon of his teamâ€™s goal.
Defensively, looking to catalyze the Tigers will be senior linebacker Josh Gutierrez. After a junior season that saw Gutierrez lead the team in total tackles he hoped to continue that trend as well as the trend of winning IVL.
“I want to be as big a contributor as I can be to my team,” said Gutierrez.
“Winning IVL is always our goal every year, and to get better as a team and keep progressing.â€
CENTRAL SPARTANS -Â The Central High Spartans are looking to rebound from a roller coaster 2015 campaign that saw the Spartans go 4-7 overall and 2-3 in league.
“We are looking forward to working hard all season and taking it one play at a time,” said Spartan head coach Michael Hobbs.
“We are excited to grind, and enjoy the process it takes to get better.”
One of those players enjoying the process is Armando Perez, senior linebacker for the Spartans.
“We’re looking to be successful at getting our offense and defensive skills up and conditioning,” said Perez.
Behind returning started Ricky Guzman at quarterback, and Nicky Ramirez at running back, the Spartans hope to use last seasonâ€™s experiences to better prepare them for this seasonâ€™s slog.
Returning linemen Justin Velasquez and Andy Chavaria are looking to open holes from the line of scrimmage, create running lanes and protect their quarterback in passing situations.
“Our goals this season are to be the best we can be and win as many games as we can,” said senior quarterback RickyÂ Guzman.
“We need to focus on each game, one game at a time.”
BRAWLEY WILDCATS -Â “Hard work, dedication, tradition. Brawley football.” The Wildcats are keeping this mantra close to heart as they go into the 2016 football season. Itâ€™s a season that the Wildcat faithful have been looking forward to since the last snap of the 2015 season. That season that ended with an IVL second place finish and first round exit from the CIF San Diego Section Division II playoffs.
That was last year.
“The kids are working really hard, they’re looking forward to playing some Brawley football,” said Brawley Wildcat head coach, Jon Self.
The Wildcats will field a close-knit senior class as well as a talented mix of juniors and sophomores.
“We’ve got a good group of senior guys returning this year, bringing a new leadership in that we didn’t have last year,” said Self of this yearâ€™s roster.
Seniors Austyn Guttierrez, AJ Grijalva, and Blake Zeleny, have contributed to the varsity squad since their sophomore years and are looking to erase the memory of last years second place IVL finish, as well as a rough early start to the season, going 0-2 out the gate last year.
“Some of our team goals include winning our first two games against San Diego competition, win IVL, and hopefully have a good run in CIF,” said returning senior quarterback, A.J. Grijalva.
Although Grijalva is in his second year starting under center for the Wildcats, he has been utilized defensively since his sophomore year and along with Zeleny will be leaned on to anchor the traditionally tough-nosed Wildcat defense.
Fellow senior Austyn Guttierrez will be in the Brawley backfield for his third year straight as he and last yearâ€™s sophomore sensation George Mickle, now a junior, will be looking to power and juke their way to yardage in the run game.
“We’re just looking to be better than last year,” said Guttierrez.
“I’m looking forward to giving the best of my ability that I can. It’s my senior year, my last year, so I just want to go all out this year, and do the best I can for my team.”