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Jackets building solid foundation
After struggling through two consecutive losing seasons, the Williams High football team is focused on building for the future.
With 24 players on the roster, including six sophomores, the Yellowjackets hope to improve on their 2-8 record from last season and set a strong foundation for the next two years.
"They will take their lumps, it will be a baptism at this level," coach Dan McDonald said. "This is going to be a real growing year."
But the growth could begin immediately, as senior Sal Garcia is taking over quarterback duties after fellow senior Freddy Cervantes won the job last season.
Garcia started at quarterback on the junior varsity team as a freshman and sophomore, and played some quarterback last year as the back-up.
"I love playing quarterback and the coaches gave me another shot and I'm enjoying it," Garcia said.
It was his leadership during a scrimmage at Pierce High in Arbuckle that stood out to McDonald and helped earn him the starting job.
Garcia will have plenty of weapons to work with. Junior tailback Damien Garcia is strong and athletic, Cervantes will move to wide receiver and sophomore Lewis Davalos will play fullback. A transfer from Willows, Joaquin Carrasco, will make an immediate impact as the motion back.
"This team looks great, we have a lot of speed," Garcia said.
That speed provides McDonald with more options for his offense and he plans on taking advantage of it.
"We're going to make people have to put in time on defense preparing for us," McDonald said.
McDonald's biggest concern is the lack of size on the line. During the first week of practice he moved players around based on what he saw during summer camps and spring football. He asked sophomore Martin Solis to move from tight end to center where he will join his cousin, another sophomore, Luis Davalos on the line.
The senior anchor in the trenches is Leo Zendejas, who brings size and experience to both sides of the ball.
Players will be shifting around in the weeks leading up to the team's first game, a road trip to Los Molinos to face the Bulldogs, as McDonald figures out the best fit for everyone.
Williams will run the slot-I on offense with some pro-I mixed in, but McDonald hasn't decided what base defense he will run. It will likely be a 5-3 or a 4-3 depending on how the team shapes up during the August practices, he said.
The Yellowjackets put in extra work in the offseason. Several of the players went to University of California, Berkeley for a football camp and a group of about 17 players regularly worked out in the gym over the summer and ran on the fields.
"We had an exceptional turn-out at the weight room with Armando. If they weren't working they were there at the weight room," McDonald said.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.