Ryan Teicheira brought the Wing-T offense to Lathrop last year, and the team quickly took to its new identity as a physical, run-dominant machine.
The Spartans may have relied a little too much on its run game, however, only throwing passes 71 in its nine games last year. They finished 5-4 and came up short of a postseason berth, dropping their final three in Western Athletic Conference play.
This season, Teicheira wants to be able to unleash the attack to its fullest capabilities, as needed. Last month, the Spartans strived to improve on the passing game in 7-on-7 scrimmages hosted at Tracy High.
“The passing game isn’t our bread and butter, but we felt like it was a need for us to rise to the next level,” Teicheira said. “Going out to Tracy for 7-on-7s the last three weeks was good for us. It helps open up the game more for us. This year, we’re excited about that aspect of it. We want to be versatile for whatever opponents will give us.”
Senior Jerico Santillan and junior Teagan Shevlin are dueling for the starting job at quarterback. Teicheira said the competition is close, and that both have displayed good arm strength and decision making in running the offense.
He said the 7-on-7s gave him a good look at both QBs and all other aspects of the passing game.
“There was a lot of good that came from it,” Teicheira said. “Tracy had some top-level teams, which our kids needed to see. Offensively and defensively, we were able to recognize what works and what does not work for us.”
The biggest positive of the summer for Teicheira is the consistent participation at every level. Three weeks into his inaugural season at Lathrop, he had to cancel a freshman game because of low numbers. He ultimately stayed with just two teams the rest of the year.
“We’re trying to be a program with three strong levels, and we’re headed in the right direction with who we have,” Teicheira said.
Lathrop is now in the middle of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s three-week long Dead Period for football. The Spartans get back to work July 25 with their first official practice. They landed a new zero-week opponent in Sacramento’s Bradshaw Christian, which comes to Bennie Gatto Field on Aug. 19. Lathrop then heads to Mt. Diablo in Concord Aug. 26 and travels to Weston Ranch the following week for the Battle of I-5 rivalry game.
A longtime contender at the lower divisions, Bradshaw Christian figures to be a strong test out the gate for Lathrop.
“They’re very similar to us,” Teicheira said. “Bradshaw runs a similar offense and is a tough opponent that is going to come out and punch you in the mouth. They’re one of the top teams in their division in the Sacramento area for a reason.
“For us, the first week, physicality-wise, will be great competition. That’s the direction we want to go. We pride ourselves in being a physical and winning at the line of scrimmage. Bradshaw gives us a great look at what we want to do.”