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POSTED August 29, 2013 10:27 p.m.

DIFFERENT ‘D’: Sierra’s nickel defense (five defensive backs) has been slightly altered for 2013. The Timberwolves are going away from a 3-3 front in favor of a 4-2 (four linemen, two linebackers). Harbison likes the depth and experience in the trenches. Returning all-VOL selection Aaron Thiel (6-0, 215) is accompanied by senior classmates Devonte Reese and Khalil Williams on the line. There are also high hopes for junior Trevon McCray at linebacker. He gained playoff experience as a sophomore call-up last year. Safety Hunter Peterson and cornerback Jonathan Montoya help shore up the defensive backfield, which showed much promise at the Patterson passing tournament.

SAFETY LAST: Three-year starter Garrett DeVillanueva is going to play a third different position for the Timberwolves. A linebacker as a sophomore, he moved to strong safety last year and contributed 58 tackles and four interceptions to earn all-Valley Oak League first-team honors. With converted linebacker Reid Maestsas — who posted team-highs 75 tackles and five sacks in 2012 — sliding to a strong safety spot, DeVillanueva will be asked to cover even more ground as Sierra’s free safety.

: It took 13 years for Sierra to qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time. Since ending that streak in 2008, the Timberwolves have missed the postseason just once (2011) while proving worthy of their berths by going 4-4 in the “second season.” During that five-year stretch, Sierra went 41-17 under head coach Jeff Harbison.

CAN YOU KICK IT: Yes he can. She can, too. Sierra opened camp with two kickers on the roster and the coaches believe that both deserve to stay on board. Incumbent placekicker Joshua Gonzalez earned his keep last season, converting 64 of 68 point-after kicks and all four of his field goal attempts. Junior Marissa LaQuaglia, a soccer player in the spring, comes up from the sophomore squad.

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