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Citrus Football Looks to Return to Winning Ways

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citrus football practice

The Owls practice at Citrus College for their opening game vs. West L.A.

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It’s been a rough stretch recently for the Citrus College football team and their third-year Head Coach Ron Ponciano, but an influx of young players has the Owls feeling optimistic about their upcoming season.

“We have far more talent than we’ve had here in the past, that’s exciting,” said Ponciano whose team will travel to West Los Angeles Saturday as they open their 2011 campaign against the host Wildcats in a non-conference bout.

Citrus is coming off a disappointing 2010 season in which they posted a 2-8 overall record and went 1-4 in the Central Division West Conference. In fact, the team’s last winning season came under the guidance of former head coach Kevin Emerson who departed in 2008.

Ponciano said despite their record, the Owls still had a lot of fight in them last season and were plagued by off the field issues which hampered their defensive unit.

“We’ve got some guys back healthy, and defensively last year after a few games we had to make wholesale changes because of some academic issues and some paper work issues and so we were not very good at all last year and that’s very humbling and frustrating.”

The Owls also have a revamped offensive line following some key departures. “Offensive line wise when you lose Addison Bachman to Arizona, you lose Jason Peacock to the University of Arkansas, Michael Schulteis to New Mexico Highlands, that hurts,” said Ponciano while adding that they have been forced to replace offensive linemen with younger, less experienced players.

“It hurts when you lose kids who should be coming back, any other Junior College would have them back, when you lose Chris Stringer to the University of Arkansas, Albert Sid to UCLA that hurts us,” said Ponciano. “But it’s not about us, it’s always been about the kids and what’s right for them and what’s our role here and ours is to transfer kids.”

Another bright spot for the Owls is the return of sophomore quarterback Blake Loncar, out of Los Osos High school, who Ponciano called an exceptional player and a possible future Division 1 talent.

“We’ve got a quarterback I think can throw the ball better than anybody in the state,” he said. “He’s going to have a long career at quarterback and this year I think we also have a pretty darn good defense. I don’t think people are going to be running up and down the field on us, embarrassing us.”

Ponciano pointed out to Citrus’ ongoing practice of recruiting local talent as a key to their potential resurgence and said a revamped roster full of standouts from the area’s High Schools has the team excited about reaching their potential and turning the school’s fortunes around in an region where football has not been as ingrained in the cultural fabric.

“We’ve made great strides, it wasn’t like we played bad football last year we literally played four really bad quarters, everything else was very competitive,” Ponciano said. “This year the difference is we have a lot more speed, I believe we are going to score a lot more points. I believe we’re going to play a lot better defense and the proof will be in the pudding here in a week or so.”

Some key additions and returns to look out on offense include speedy sophomore running back Ricky Johnson out of West Covina, former Rowland standouts wide reciever B.J. Oyefeso and Michael Ball while the defense features sophomore linebacker Jesse Tauiliili, and Jose Nunez from Azusa, among others. Moses Vega, Aaron Dockery and Andre Holmes out of Glendora are some of the names which round out the roster.

“Nobody really wins with a young team. we’re going to try to do that. Most JCs win with a lot of sophomores,” said Ponciano, “We’re trying to win with some puppies up front and I believe we will if we can keep them all healthy.”

The Owls begin the season on Saturday on the road against West L.A. with kickoff set for 1 P.M. then following a week 2 bye play in front of their home crowd on Sept. 17 against Canyons.


Written by sgvsports

August 27, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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