GLENDALE — Until July 25, it will be all about repetition.
Pass patterns and defensive schemes, among other areas of concentration, will be worked on so that things will be natural once the Crescenta Valley High football team kicks off its season Sept. 11 with a nonleague contest against Verdugo Hills at Glendale High’s Moyse Field.
That’s the purpose of conducting a month-long spring practice, Crescenta Valley third-year Coach Tony Zarrillo said.
“We are trying to emphasize the best they can be all of the time,” said Zarrillo, whose team finished 9-3 and 6-1 in the Pacific League for second place last season. “The theme employed since the start of spring is going hard at what they are supposed to be doing.
“It’s all about repetitions. Sometimes you have to slow things down to be able to fix things. You want to be able to make the corrections as rapidly as you can.”
Crescenta Valley, which posted a CIF Southern Section Southeast Division first-round victory against California before falling to top-seeded Charter Oak in November, will have plenty of time to get things down pat. Its spring session began May 11 and will conclude next Tuesday.
The Falcons are also scheduled to host an eight-team passing league tournament June 20 before taking part in additional passing leagues at Saugus, Hart, Claremont, St. Francis, Buena Park and Oceanside.
Zarrillo, the reigning All-Area Coach of the Year, said the remainder of the spring practices and the passing league should provide him with a pretty good idea of what to expect of a team that’s set to return 25 players.
“That’s about half of the team returning,” said Zarrillo, whose team will begin league competition Oct. 2 against Burbank. “It’s going to be a fairly veteran team with lots of seniors.
“When they were freshmen, they had a good team. Then they won a league championship as sophomores before coming up to varsity last year. So, we don’t have to start at square one and that will be a plus.”
Zarrillo said he’s got a good idea of where certain athletes will be playing on offense and defense.
The quarterback will be senior Kyle Cota with sophomore Zack Wilkerson trying to also vie for the starting spot.
The wide receivers will consist of seniors Mike Bako, Tanner Hamilton, Andrew Carcich and David Whitaker, juniors De De McFadden, James Heinemann and Kevin Fernandez and sophomore Nick Ruiz.
Senior Harry Pessy, who earned All-Area first-team accolades after rushing for nine touchdowns and 678 yards last season, and McFadden will be the featured running backs.
The offensive line might consist of senior centers Alex Reid and Mitch Szabados.
The guards could be seniors Julian Craig and Sam Campbell, while the tackles might be seniors Robbin Dumlao, Alex Luna and Steven Small and juniors Bryan Luna, Adam Fletcher and Garrett Stoudt.
Cota said things have been clicking on offense for the Falcons.
“We’ve gotten off to a good start,” Cota said. “It’s a good team, but we want to be able to get out there and do repetitions so that everything will be natural [by the start of the season].”
Crescenta Valley’s defense might consist of seniors Michael Mendoza and Hubert Peña, Fletcher, Campbell and Craig at inside tackle.
The defensive ends could be Dumlao, Bryan Luna, senior Alex Jang and junior Patrick Arnold.
Hamilton said spring sessions provide players the opportunity to get more comfortable at learning to play multiple positions.
“It’s hard to play on both sides, but it’s fun to learn,” Hamilton said. “You get better the more you practice.”
The linebackers will be Dumlao, Bryan Luna, Pessy and seniors Kevin Rignot, Ryan Ingraldi and Han Lee.
The cornerbacks will feature McFadden, Bako, a reigning All-Area second-team pick, Wilkerson and Whitaker. Hamilton, a reigning All-Area second-team member, and Carcich will probably be the starting safeties with Fernandez and junior Tyler Martinez serving as the reserves.
“We’ve got a good number of quality linemen,” Zarrillo said. “We are not going to be in a situation too many times where we have to platoon.
“We can have guys that can start one way only. I think on defense we have enough players to eventually do that.”
CHARLES RICH covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.