View Mobile Site

COUGARS ON THE PROWL

Revamped staff, returning players prepare to keep up with VOL’s heavyweights

Text Size: Small Large Medium
COUGARS ON THE PROWL

For Weston Ranch to improve on its recent efforts in the tough Valley Oak League it will take a total team effort, and thus far the Cougars seemed committed to the cause.

JAGADA CHAMBERS/The Bulletin


POSTED August 23, 2012 1:42 a.m.

WESTON RANCH — With more bodies in uniform than in recent memory, a newly assembled coaching staff engaged to the opportunity and a handful of returners prepared to lead by example, the Weston Ranch Cougars are prepared for the fight.

Each season, the demands of the Valley Oak League schedule weigh heavily on a coach with each week of preparation, and that has not changed this season. With Oakdale, Manteca and Sierra expected to be the perennial league powers they’ve been, Weston Ranch needs everything that comes along with its challenging preseason setup.

“We open with three Division-I teams across the board,” Cougars head coach Mike Hale said. “We are definitely trying to play better competition because our league provides such a strong schedule. We are trying to get where we are competing with those schools with bigger populations and more competition.

“It really helps us prepare for our league.”

The Cougars open with Franklin of Stockton, followed by a matchup with Tokay of Lodi and culminate with their customary Bear Creek matchup.  Those three contests will provide pivotal information for the Cougars heading into their first two league contests with Sonora and Manteca.

Filling the roster has proved to be the biggest challenge, but the Cougars are definitely better off than they have been in seasons past. For Hale, 30 players at his disposal is entirely different than having only 17.

“We are somewhere near about what we average early on,” Hale said. “It’s just the lack of depth at certain positions that is hurting us. We have the skill guys, it’s just size and depth that we are dealing with.

“When you look at our schedule, probably every team that we play against we are going to be smaller than. So we have to find things that we do better than everyone else.”

The Cougars are going to depend mightily on the passing game, trusting senior quarterback James Simerley with the reins of the offense. He will need to be efficient with the football, improving on a relatively low interception total of six a year ago.

Alex Esan will get touches from out the backfield, but running the spread offense will likely minimize carries from scrimmage. Kenny Williams (377 yards, 5 TDs) will be Simerley’s primary target, complimented by tight end Sean Visperas.

Defensively, Weston Ranch will open with a base 3-4 and add a variety of wrinkles throughout the non league schedule. Hale expects minor growing pains on the offensive side of the ball (third offensive coordinator in three seasons), but expects the defense to hit the ground running.

Returning players Candilario Elizondo (5 foot 9, 205 pounds) and Eddie Melero (6 foot, 185 pounds) will man the linebacker core, while Williams will assist in the secondary.

Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...