CALEXICO -Â Despite an early blitz out of the kennel that produced five consecutive wins and an undefeated preseason record in last year’s high school football arena, the Bulldogs had their collar yanked by five Imperial Valley League competitors during conference play, going 5-5 before Calexico was able to create a post-season surge that dug up the first CIF quarter-final victory in school history.
But this yearâ€™s pack returns only ten starters out of 22 positions, and lost 27 players to graduation.
â€œThe numbers are up this year,” said John Tyree, Calexico’s Varsity head coach, optimistically. “We have a lot more players. We appear to be a lot stronger and a lot faster than last year. Our only weakness right now is that we donâ€™t have much game experience.â€
On offense, returning senior quarterback and wide receiver, Joshua Marin, played nine games last year where he received for 40 yards and averaged 4.4 yards per reception and 22 yards per kickoff return.
â€œEverything that we learn in practice, we have to carry over to the game and weâ€™ll be fine,” explained Marin. “This year, we will be a more explosive and faster team, which will give us a bit more of an advantage than last season.â€
â€œOur goal is to do the same as last year and win all of our pre-season games and win CIF, but we gotta work harder in league to get those victories we didnâ€™t get last year,â€ he added.
In addition, the Calexico defense will bring back a seasoned leader in senior defensive end Jovan Jimenez who tallied 24 solo sacks last year and recovered three fumbles.
â€œAs seniors, we can use that CIF on-field experience. When we got to CIF, we didnâ€™t know what game would be our last, so we played our hearts out,â€ said Jimenez.Â â€œComing into this season, Iâ€™m hoping we can show the younger guys that you gotta play every game like itâ€™s your last and you canâ€™t take no plays off.â€
During the offseason, the Bulldogs’ home stadium, known as Ward Field, was renovated with the reconstruction of the track, pavement, and the addition of new bleachers and a grandstand that will accommodate more than double the previous capacity.
â€œI feel that the new stadium will bring a lot more people out to hopefully fill up the stands,” Jimenez asserted. “When everyone is out here yelling and the band is playing, you really do get pumped and knowing that you got your whole city behind your back really does pump you up.â€