Casa Roble Football Preview

ORANGEVALE, CA (MPG)  |  By Michael Cella
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Justin Hulshoff, Kyle Karras, Tristan Lange, Camren Gates, Riley Mazyk, Jesse Scobee, Raymond Perez, Nick Balcita, Andrew Wyandt, Dylan Boucher, Kolton Gratias, Dustin Simpliciano, Austin Ehinger, Illya Vavrenchuk. Pablo Perry, Will Turner, Robbie Squire, Elijah Johnson, Peter Povey, Jack Johnson, Connor Erickson, Gabe Williams, Logan Candido, Ryan Engle, Ruben Voznyuk, Devin Carmona.

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Varsity Head Football Coach Chris Horner

New Field, Familiar Faces

ORANGEVALE, CA (MPG) - It’s their first year on a brand new field, but there are plenty of familiar faces at Casa Roble, who will return seventeen starters from a team that went 5-5 last year, losing in the second round of the playoffs by a single point.

All of this has varsity head coach Chris Horner feeling poised about their prospects. “We’re a football school,” says Horner of Casa, which has a student body of nearly 1300. “When our football team’s good, it just changes the feeling on campus.” After over a dozen years of experience coaching football at various other levels, this is Horner’s second year as varsity head coach.

So far, his goals for the team have extended beyond the gridiron. “I try to not just teach X’s and O’s, but make better individuals,” Horner explains. He tried to accomplish this by bringing in motivational speakers, alumni, and area college coaches every few weeks to lend a fresh perspective, as well as frequent community service activities.

Casa moves from Division 3 to Division 4 this year and will this be playing in a new league, beginning August 17 against Bella Vista, one of the most talented opponents they’ll see on the schedule. The wealth of senior leadership in the locker room has the team confident, but they know nothing is earned. They may be returning seventeen starters, but all 22 positions are always up for grabs. “Competition brings out the best,” says Horner.

To this end, Casa will bring up several sophomore standouts from a junior varsity team that went 6-3-1 last year who will challenge the upperclassmen in vying for playing time. All-conference stars Ruben Bonyz, Devin Carmona, Jack Johnson, Luke Triplett, Elijah Johnson and Connor Ericksen are all pegged as team leaders, but Casa is always looking for new talent.

The defense returns nine starters, led by a stout linebacking corps, which Horner sees as the strength of the team. But with the offense returning eight starters, the team can lean on a balanced approach without any glaring weaknesses.

This being Horner’s second year at coach, it’s the first year he’s been able to implement an offseason training program, which has him feeling good about his team’s physicality. “Our linemen are starting to look really strong,” Horner stated.

Whatever their prospects, Horner is most proud of the dynamic he’s already seen in his locker room. “I think we’ve created an environment where these guys all genuinely like each other,” says Horner. “There aren’t a lot of cliques, everyone just gets along.” They’ve already cut the roster from 62 to 48 and making the team has as much to do with attitude as it does with talent. “We get rid of cool guys,” Horner says. “We keep team guys. My guys are integral members of the campus but we try to bring them down a notch, hold them accountable, and make them better young men.”

Justin Hulshoff, Kyle Karras, Tristan Lange, Camren Gates, Riley Mazyk, Jesse Scobee, Raymond Perez, Nick Balcita, Andrew Wyandt, Dylan Boucher, Kolton Gratias, Dustin Simpliciano, Austin Ehinger, Illya Vavrenchuk. Pablo Perry, Will Turner, Robbie Squire, Elijah Johnson, Peter Povey, Jack Johnson, Connor Erickson, Gabe Williams, Logan Candido, Ryan Engle, Ruben Voznyuk, Devin Carmona.Varsity Head Football Coach Chris Horner