EC Preps

GROWTH WILL LEAD TO MIGHTY VAQUERO RETURN

2017 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

By Adam Paul

Staff Writer

The 2017 version of the El Capitan Vaqueros under veteran head Coach Ron Burner (13th year, 80-60-2) look to rebound from their 2016 campaign that saw them finish 4-7 and lose to Bonita Vista in the Quarter Finals of the CIF Division II playoffs.

What will spur the Vaqueros this season is the fact that the Vaqueros return 7 starters on offense from last season including Sophomore quarterback Wick Hauser who took over midseason after an injury to starter Pheonix Cates. Hauser who is 6-foot, and 175 pounds is the newest in the long line of quarterbacks who have played at El Capitan.

He has a laser canon for an arm and has shown he is a general out on the field. Last year as a freshman he completed 64-for-123 for 918 yards including 6 touchdown strikes. He has the poise to show he can be one of the top quarterbacks in the county and also included in the ranks of such Vaquero quarterback greats as Ryan Lindley, Tanner Rust, and Brad Cagle among others.

At running back the Vaqueros return their workhorse Connor Roosa a senior who is a three year starter. Last season he rushed for 613 yards on 142 carries and scored 5 touchdowns. Besides being the leading rusher he also caught 11 balls for 84 yards and a score. Roosa also made his mark on the defensive side of the ball at the middle linebacker spot as he had 43 tackles and 2 quarterback sacks. It was this performance that garnered a 2016 Second Team All-Grossmont League selection.

Another weapon on offense for El Capitan is Tight End Antonio Olivieri who is cementing himself as one of the best two way players. Besides playing tight end, Olivieri can play at the backup quarterback position. His ability to play at the Tight End position is opening eyes to the college scouts. He also caught 9 balls for 135 yards and on the defensive side had 34 tackles including 4 for a loss and 2 sacks. For this he earned a 2016 Grossmont Hills League honorable mention spot.

Leading the way on the defensive side of the ball for the Vaqueros as one of the 6 returners will be senior Chris McDonough who was an All-Grossmont Hills Second Team pick a year ago. Last season he had 103 tackles of which 32 were solo, including seven for a loss. He also had an interception.  Like many of the other Vaqueros, McDonough has come through the system at El Capitan and this is one of the main reasons why the defense will be really good this season.

Other contributors for the Vaqueros will be senior Star Iuli who was an Honorable Mention last year with 14 catches for 102 yards. As a running back he tallied 115 yards and also helped on the defensive side of the ball. On defense as a safety he tallied 28 tackles and also 2 picks. He was also a help on the special teams with nearly an average of 30 yards.

Wideout Yaphet Yokley who is a junior had 12 grabs for 244 yards has primed himself to be big contributor. Also a player on defense he had an interception and like Iuli on special teams also averaged nearly 30 yards a return on kickoffs.

The Lovato twins, Chase will be at corner this year and Chance who tallied 50 tackles to go along with his 3 picks will be big contributors this season. Chance should also see some time on the offensive side as well.

Other players who will make their impact this year are defensive tackle Cameron Phillips who had 38 tackles last year, Sophomore offensive lineman Carson Feil, Cole Roelofsz who had 44 tackles last season is currently injured but looks to return.

Overall with the youth the Vaqueros have mixed in with their veterans they will be an exciting team to watch as they were last year. Last season they were involved in several close games including an exciting thriller over Granite Hills at home that came down to a blocked PAT. Another highlight was the win against West Hills which saw Roosa rush for 143 yards and Hauser throw for 142 yards including 2 touchdowns.

The youth on the Vaqueros will have to grow up fast as they open the season with Madison who is the defending State Champion in Division II. The Warhawks are considered a favorite to reach the Open Division playoffs again this season. After the Warhawks they travel down to the South Bay to face the Crusaders of Mater Dei before they come back home back-to-back weeks against Valley Center (to whom they lost in OT last season on the road) and Patrick Henry. Their other non-league contest will be at Granite Hills.

El Capitan will look to make the Division 2 playoffs for the second consecutive year and will compete with other East County teams West Hills, Granite Hills, Christian, and Steele Canyon.

 

 

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