The highschool soccer season is again the place it belongs: within the fall.
Friday marks one other step in the direction of a return to normalcy in highschool sports activities because the 2021-22 soccer 12 months kicks off in Marin.
It’s been 5 months because the altered and abridged spring season passed off and far is totally different this time round. Full 10-game common seasons are again, as are all-league groups, out-of-county journey and part and state playoffs.
The pandemic, nonetheless, isn’t over and disruptions to the season are nonetheless potential. However with the information and expertise of final spring, in addition to the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, coaches, faculties and athletic departments really feel extra assured navigating these waters than they did these from 5 months in the past.
Solely time will inform what this fall season will maintain however one factor is for certain: soccer is again.
Right here’s a quick have a look at every workforce in Marin.
Document final 12 months: 1-4
Season opener: Aug. 28 vs. Berean Christian
The college previously generally known as Drake is coming off a rebuilding season however brings again a overwhelming majority of its roster from the spring. The newly-named Falcons return their beginning quarterback, senior Zach Atkinson, and prime broad receiver in senior Max Henzl.
Henzl, who’s listed at 6-foot, 2-inches, is only one of a number of speedy receivers who stand over 6-foot. Second-year head coach Anthony Jackson stated that different cross catchers to observe shall be seniors Finn Hummel, Zach Castrejon and Nick Defrance.
Jackson additionally stated he added extra coaches to his employees for this season and that whereas the workforce could also be on the youthful facet, he’s assured that it’s going to take a step ahead this fall. A part of that confidence stems from the actual fact the Falcons solely misplaced two starters from final 12 months and the workforce and program have now had extra time to implement his model and system.
Document final season: 5-0
Season opener: Aug. 27 at El Cerrito
The Wildcats misplaced a ton of expertise to commencement final season however have reloaded with some added depth heading into this season.
Aside from quarterback and workforce captain Michael Ingrassia, who’s returning to start out for the third straight season, the Wildcats could also be brief on the form of top-heavy expertise that they had final 12 months however MC head coach Mazi Moayed stated they’re two-to-three deep at most positions.
“We clearly had an ideal senior class final 12 months, a number of seniors began and quite a lot of good seniors at that,” he stated. “A lot of massive footwear to fill and quite a lot of new starters for us on each side of the ball. … As we progressed by way of the summer season we’re reloading with some fairly darn good guys.”
Receivers like JR Bosch, Kyle McBride, JP Tuttle, Matthew Greco and Charlie Knapp needs to be the primary beneficiaries of Ingrassia’s arm whereas Branson switch Niki Prongos, who will play tight finish and defensive finish, has additionally impressed his coaches and teammates up to now. As for the backfield, changing Matteo Perez shall be robust however the three-pronged assault of Charles Williams, McKay Hawthorne, and Andrew Ramos appears greater than able to stepping up.
“Most likely the most-talented backfield we’ve had as a gaggle since I’ve been right here,” Moayed stated. “Possibly not the top-most particular person guys presently however as a gaggle, we’ve got not less than a couple of guys who can roll fairly good.”
Group captain Charlie Allen would be the chief on protection as a security/linebacker whereas Will Clemens and the aforementioned Ramos and Bosch must also have an effect. On the road, count on Hayden McBride, Trent Carrade, Jackson Truitt, Tyler Principe, Sean Fassig and Prongos to carry issues down.
Document final 12 months: 2-2
Season opener: Sept. 3 at Montgomery
Novato is below new management this fall however head coach Amil Corridor isn’t any stranger to Hornets soccer. A prep star at Novato within the early-80s, Corridor spent plenty of years teaching at San Rafael earlier than stepping away from the high-school scene after the 2011-12 season.
He began serving to out at Novato in 2019 and formally joined the employees as offensive coordinator final 12 months below Wealthy Torres. The workforce he inherits is younger however skilled and bursting with potential.
The Hornets had been one play away from profitable three video games final 12 months had Terra Linda not surprised them on a last-second Hail Mary in Week 3. They solely misplaced 4 gamers to commencement and return their beginning quarterback, operating again and prime broad receiver, all of whom are actually juniors.
“All of our starters have sport expertise,” Corridor stated. “The 11 on protection all performed in that brief season in order that they bought some good sport expertise after which identical factor with the offense.”
Jakob Peterson and senior JJ Moreno will break up duties at quarterback. Peterson was the starter as a sophomore final 12 months whereas Moreno has an enormous arm able to rattling off 60-to-70-yard passes with ease.
“JJ has an unbelievable arm,” Corridor stated. “… His skill to make use of the deep ball is fairly good. It positively enhances what we’re making an attempt to do with our offense.”
Juniors Kai Patel and Samaje Featherstone shall be two different key items at broad receiver and operating again, respectively, whereas senior kicker Jose Martinez is coming off a junior season that noticed him hit a season-long area purpose of 46 yards and practically join on a 50-yarder.
Whereas they’ve a varsity roster within the mid-30s, depth should be a problem.
“We needs to be fairly good on the first degree, we’re simply missing depth due to numbers,” Corridor stated. “However as particular person gamers we positively have some guys who can play some soccer.”
Document final 12 months: 3-2
Season opener: Aug. 28 vs. School Park
The Giants additionally misplaced a handful of expertise at ability positions, like beginning operating again Thomas Johnson and prime receiver Zach Ginsburg. However there’s a lot for head coach Allen Talley and his employees to construct on.
“We graduated some massive positions however we’ve got some guys stepping up,” Talley stated. “ … We bought a great core of fellows who bought some good time final 12 months. Some had been juniors, some had been sophomores and I feel the brief season helped to get some guys, particularly some youthful guys, some expertise. It kinda helped us prepare for this 12 months.”
After a trial by hearth within the spring, junior quarterback Brady Weingart is again after taking up the beginning function halfway by way of the Giants’ season opener final 12 months after starter Clayton Grace exited with a season-ending harm. Weingart had his rising pains final 12 months however returns as an skilled and gifted quarterback. In 5 video games, he handed for 790 yards with a 76-percent completion fee with eight touchdowns and 4 interceptions
“He’s bettering day by day,” Talley stated. “That’s our purpose with him. He needed to step in final 12 months below unhappy circumstances and he stepped up and did nicely. Now we simply need him to get again from final 12 months. He’s getting extra comfy.”
Candidate for greatest title within the MCAL, Yur Majesty Valentino Starbird, or Tino for brief, will fill in at operating again after ending his junior season with 70 yards on 18 carries with two scores. Junior Miles Grossman and senior Nico Tribuzio return as the highest two receivers after combining for over 200 yards and three TDs final 12 months.
Anchoring the protection shall be seniors Zack Johnson and Hudson Levinsky, who completed first and second, respectively, in complete tackles final season. And on the road be careful for senior returners Byron Finley, Jackson Kipp and Jimmy Phelan.
Document final season: 4-1
Season opener: Aug. 27 vs. Kelseyville
The Mustangs are a deep, veteran workforce this fall and wield a pair of top-tier operating backs in seniors Justin Guin and Aidyn Gendel.
Defenses shall be keyed in on stopping Guin this fall after a breakout junior marketing campaign within the spring. He surpassed the 100-yard dashing mark in 4 of San Marin’s 5 video games. The one sport he didn’t hit triple digits on the bottom was a 35-0 season-opening loss to Marin Catholic.
San Marin has historically been a run-heavy program however coach Dom DiMare stated that with two returning quarterbacks in Joey Prepare dinner and Jake Marshall and an improved receiving core — led by seniors Andy Garcia and Dylan Burness (a Novato switch) and junior Frankie Quincie — search for the Mustangs to take to the air a bit greater than final season.
“We attempt to set up the run first, like many groups do, and particularly with Guin and Gendel, it makes issues simpler,” DiMare stated. “Our dimension up entrance is rather a lot larger than years previous so the run sport will certainly be an enormous a part of our offense however that is most likely one of many higher receiving corps we’ve had as nicely. So we glance to be a little bit extra balanced this 12 months.”
Senior Nate Burger and juniors Wyatt Drenner and Frankie Petuya shall be guys to observe on the road.
This season will even function extra evening video games at San Marin after the years-long authorized battle over using the varsity’s area lights was resolved earlier in the summertime. All 5 of the Mustangs’ dwelling video games this season will happen on Friday nights.
“It’s only a complete new period for us,” DiMare stated.
Document final 12 months: 1-4
Season opener: Aug. 27 vs. Sonoma Valley (canceled attributable to contact tracing at Sonoma Valley)
It might be one other rebuilding 12 months for the Bulldogs however issues are beginning to come collectively for head coach Mark Lubamerksy. He added some new members to his varsity employees, together with former San Rafael head coach and Marin Catholic assistant Ben Johnson, and has fairly a couple of returners again from final 12 months.
“We’re deeper than we’ve been previously,” Lubamersky stated. “I’ve 35 children on varsity, so we’re making an attempt to get to the purpose the place we’ve got 11 offense, 11 protection, I don’t suppose we’re gonna make it (this 12 months), we’ll nonetheless have some children beginning each methods, however we’re much better than what we’ve been previously. I feel our youngsters will develop a little bit extra as a result of they’re centered on one facet of the ball somewhat than six children going each methods.”
Among the many returners are senior broad receiver/defensive again Jack Healy, junior operating again/defensive again Harry Pocock, senior lineman/linebacker Luke Davis, junior lineman Amos Munoz and junior broad receiver/ tight finish Brendan Davidson.
Pocock will doubtless break up duties at quarterback with junior Charlie Grant. Lubamersky stated they nonetheless have a couple of query marks at sure spots and so they’ll be working to determine these out throughout their preseason slate.
“We’re simply form of determining find out how to put the items collectively greater than in previous years,” he stated. “In previous years it looks as if we’ve had robust courses that come by way of and it’s a pure development however I don’t know if it’s COVID or what but it surely’s a little bit extra of a problem.”
“The overriding theme is: we’re enjoying soccer,” he added.
Document final 12 months: 2-3
Season opener: Aug. 27 at McClymonds
The Purple-tailed Hawks could be one of the crucial veteran groups within the MCAL this season. Out of the 30-plus on their varsity roster, over 20 are seniors. In addition they return a majority of their starters on each side of the ball.
“We glance actually rattling good,” reported Tam head coach Matthew LemMon.
They do lose some gifted items like quarterback Rory Cronander and linebackers Jack Ehlermann and Danny Jenkins, to call a couple of, however LemMon is as excessive on this group as any he’s coached.
“Our purpose is to win state this 12 months,” he stated. “It’s nonetheless the purpose and I like how we stacked our schedule. We get McClymonds first after which we play Kennedy-Fremont which is on the up-and-up after which we finish non-league with Riordan, which at all times performs some robust groups within the WCAL. So we get some robust groups out of the gate.”
Cronander’s substitute remains to be to be decided however an ongoing battle between sophomore Braden Younger and senior Nick Schottenfeld has yielded some promising competitors.
Tam’s largest strengths will doubtless be at receiver, on the road and protection. Seniors Ezra Levy, Sam Reade and Chuck Beyer might be in line for breakout seasons as cross catchers. LemMon stated that he has round 10 lineman, led by Luke Ferris and Jack Mollner, who will see heavy enjoying time.
They’ll be blocking for the operating again tandem of Christian Son and Sebastian Chen
“It could be extra of a one-two punch than we’ve had in fairly some time,” LemMon stated.
Document final 12 months: 3-2
Season opener: Aug. 28 vs. Petaluma
The Trojans put collectively a strong spring marketing campaign that noticed them win their 18th consecutive Bell Sport and dramatically edge Novato on a last-second rating. Extra impressively, they did so with a majority of their gamers new to soccer.
Head coach Dallas Hartwell has an identical situation on his arms this fall. He estimates that for the second straight 12 months over half his varsity workforce is new to deal with soccer.
“There’s at all times a steep studying curve however we get higher on a regular basis,” he stated.
They do return three defensive starters in senior John Velazquez, junior Jackson Pattani (each linebackers) and senior nook Alex Helvig, who had three interceptions within the spring. Senior tight finish/defensive Ryder Mariani is their solely returning starter on offense and can play a key function for the Trojans this fall.
“He’s a very unbelievable child, simply how he’s reworked his physique over the previous couple of years,” Hartwell stated of Mariani. “He’s by far one of many hardest working children, if not the toughest working child I’ve ever had the privilege to teach.”
Sophomore Garret Pardo is ready to take over at quarterback.
“Tall child, throws a very nice soccer,” Hartwell stated. “I’d put his throwing skill up subsequent to every other quarterback in our league. I actually would.”
Moreover, Hartwell has added extra coaches to his employees this 12 months. With a place coach for each group, he stated that is the most effective employees he’s had in his tenure.
After a 12 months hiatus, 8-man soccer at Branson and Tomales is ready to renew this fall.
Final season was canceled by the Coastal Mountain Convention, the athletic convention which the North Central League I, II, III and IV belong to. However with a traditional fall season again in play, it’s again to enterprise for faculties within the CMC.
Branson, which has routinely been one of many prime 8-man groups in Northern California, solely returns one participant with soccer expertise in Will Schuler, and his final sport motion got here in 2019 as a sophomore. Head coach Max Pond stated whereas they’re inexperienced they’ve good athletes as many of the workforce is made up of soccer, basketball and baseball gamers.
Junior George Gale seems to be the frontrunner to take over at quarterback whereas Cooper Hoffman will begin at operating again and Zach Ulrich shall be their prime receiver.
Branson is enjoying within the NCL IV this 12 months with Calistoga, John Swett, Roseland College Prep and Stuart Corridor, none of whom performed final season. The Bulls open their season at dwelling in opposition to Laytonville on Sept. 3.
Tomales, which is enjoying within the NCL III this 12 months, hosts the Bulls on Sept. 24 in a non-league matchup.
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