Self-discipline and determination will be ‘difference maker’ for football team
After enduring a rough last couple of seasons, Colton High School’s varsity football team believes it will be a top contender this year.
Head coach Shawn Collins said his players’ self discipline and determination will make the difference.
“You want to try to win them all…you’re not doing this to lose,” explained Collins. “We can sneak up and surprise some people. With this group of kids coming through and with the nucleus that we have, I honestly think we can finish in the top tier of our league.”
The players leading the Yellowjackets’ defense and ‘triple option’ offense say they have what it takes to make waves in the Sunkist League.
“We’re doing pretty good,” said senior running back Lawrence Campbell. “What we do here at practice we’re going to execute in the game.”
Senior defensive back Ayjay Porter said he’s seen a vast improvement in the team’s attitude and is not worried about critics.
“We came out here to do business, do work,” Porter said. “We’re not with that talking. We’ll let everyone else talk and we’ll handle all our business.”
Junior running back Brennan Ramos is aiming higher: He thinks they can make a deep run in the playoffs and contend for a CIF championship.
“I think we can go all the way, personally,” he said. “I think we’re going to go with at least eight wins this year and finish second in league.”
The Yellowjackets open their season on Friday. They’ll be hosting Perris Orange Vista. Game starts at 7 p.m.
Last year: 4-6 (2-3 in league)
Key returners: Angel Contreras, junior linebacker; Diego Aguilar, senior defensive lineman; David Corral, senior defensive lineman; Ayjay Porter, senior defensive back; Damian Montes, junior defensive back; Lawrence Campbell, senior running back; Brennan Ramos, junior running back; Mario Fierro III, senior running back; David Sierra, senior offensive lineman.
Colton High School Football Schedule:
(All games start at 7 p.m.)
Sept. 1 vs. Orange Vista @ CHS
Sept. 8 vs. Arroyo Valley @ CHS
Sept. 15 vs. Chaffey High @ Chaffey
Sept. 22 vs. La Sierra @ Norte Vista
Sept. 29 vs. Moreno Valley @ CHS
Oct. 6 vs. Bloomington @ Bloomington
Oct. 13 vs. Grand Terrace @ Grand Terrace
Oct. 20 vs. Kaiser @ CHS
Oct. 27 vs. Fontana @ Fontana
Nov. 3 vs. Summit @ CHS
Cross Country in “much better shape” this season
Most of these athletes are new kids on the block–lower classmen entering the world of competitive running. However, Colton Crosscountry head coach Michael Esparza is rebuilding a program he believes will compete in CIF trials.
“They are in much better shape this year,” Esparza said. “They’re able to deal with much higher mileage and much more intense training. It looks like it’s going to be a better season.”
There are a lot of freshmen and sophomores on his squad, Esparza said. It suits him well because he’s able to mold his runners into elite athletes.
“It’s ideal for a new coach [to rebuild a new program],” explained Esparza. “When you first start a program with runners you have to ease them into it. This year, now that I have all these returners, I’m able to train them at a much higher intensity.”
Senior captains Jacob Duran and Elisa Avila, both 17, are confident Esparza’s coaching will help guide them to success.
“I’m really excited for this season because we have a lot of runners,” said Duran. “They show potential and heart. If they continue putting in the effort, we will have a chance at CIF.”
Improved teamwork, communication will improve girls volleyball’s chances
Colton’s girls volleyball team has a strong core this year: twelve seniors and two juniors make up the squad. Head coach Sara Vasquez believes the experience will help her team gain many victories this season.
“These girls have been playing for four years,” she said. “That dynamic of playing with the same people has helped them improve their game.”
It showed during their opener against Chaffey High School, explained Vasquez. The girls are taking the ‘first to 5’ approach, which helps them gain points gradually and build their confidence.
“They’re playing their game and playing at the level of their opponents,” Vasquez said. “They definitely [are rising] to the occasion.”
Senior setter Stormy Amaya said her team has built a strong bond, which she believes will help gain victories.
“We have a bond we didn’t have before,” said Amaya. “Talking on the court has helped overall. It’s been a real big step.”
Senior outside hitter Nautyka Diaz agrees with her teammate–telling IECN that they will make the playoffs if they believe in themselves and each other.
“We run a lot more plays,” Diaz said. “We couldn’t do that last year. It was all over the place. I think we’ll do good this year.”