East County Sports

Eagles ready for another run

NOTE: This is the fourth of a 13-part series that will take a look at each football team that East County Sports.com covers.  Each day, we will look at a different school, leading up to the final preview which will be published on the day that most of the teams in East County have their scrimmage leading into the 2015 season.  This edition we look at how the Granite Hills Eagles will try and get back to the CIF Playoffs after an early dismal in 2014.

By Chris Davis
© East County Sports
EL CAJON (8-12-15) — One would think that after losing 30-plus players including two of the bigger names in all of East County, Granite Hills would be going through a rebuilding phase.  Not so fast says head coach KELLAN COBBS.  “Not at all!  Hopefully we will be right back where we were.”

The Granite Hills alum thinks they are going to be right back at where they were.  Cobbs speaks very highly of his offensive line, which combined with a good quarterback will take a High School football team go pretty far.

“The entire offensive line is back so we should be able to run the ball really effectively,” the fourth year coach said.

Position breakdowns:
Quarterbacks: The Eagles may need a little luck here.  Two signal callers with no varsity experience will lead the team after SETH COLLINS graduated last year.  “(We are) young, but pretty talented.  Two kids coming up haven’t had any varsity experience.  But both are good athletes, good leaders,” the coach commented.

The group of young signal callers that are challenging to get the starting nod on opening night include ADLER MISNER (Jr.) and freshman brothers JAKE and JACOB SIEGFRIED.  Misner got into some action last year completing one pass in three games.

Running Backs:  The group of four that are listed on-line are experienced to say the least.  Three are seniors and a junior.  Coach Cobbs describes them as “very skilled.  I think two of them are two of the better ones in the league.”

KOLLIN MENZIES and JOSEPH MAZZENGA, JR. are two of the names that could be making a name for themselves in the coming months.

Wide Receivers: When you lose a player of MICHAEL LEDESMA’s talent it will hurt.  His versatility really allowed the Eagles coaches to open the playbook quite wide.  But with his exit combined with the talent that was also up on the varsity level last year and coming up from the lower levels this year, it could be just as entertaining to be an Eagle fan this year.  “Two returning starters should be doing ok.  Obviously the loss of Michael Ledesma will hurt a little bit, but both of the returners got a lot of playing time last year,” Coach Cobbs remarked when asked about his receivers.

RYAN ROJ and ANDY YOUSIF are among the names that are coming back from last year’s squad.  Several underclassmen are making the jump up from freshman and JV as well.

Tight Ends: Talk about being deep.  Three outstanding players are back from last season.  “Very deep, we have two sophomores that I think will eventually be Division I players,” Cobbs stated.

JACOB BURTON (Sr. (2-28-1 in 2014), see video above) has been inundated with multiple offers from schools.  “Burton has 15 offers, so looking god there,” Cobbs said.  Coach yeah, that is good.  Burton has the size and speed that teams are looking for on the next level.  The senior checks in at 6-6, 260 pounds and is listed as also being a long snapper.

Offensive Line: This is where the Eagles will be enjoying consistency.  They have four starters returning, with a sophomore that is 6-4 coming in to fill the only hole.  Most people would say, “that’ll work!”  Coach Cobbs states that he believes the sophomore will eventually become another Division I type of player.  “I think our offensive line is our strength.”

From some rosters that are on-line, the line group looks to be made up of three seniors and four juniors.

Defensive Line: “I believe we are going to be very good,” Coach Hobbs said.  With three of the four lineman coming back that would be a safe guess.  In that group are two All-League guys and one that has 15 offers.

Linebackers:  This is where things may be a little dicey for the Eagles.  “We are young.  We have one returning linebacker,” said Cobbs.

KELLEN GAIER (89 tackles) was named to the All-East County® Second Team Defense following the 2014 season.  Gaier has already received two offers, one from Columbia.

Defensive Backs: “Riles Reyes was arguably one of the best defenders in the league, if not the county,” Cobbs said of his senior.  Reyes led all of East County with 138 tackles, with three sacks and three interceptions.

RYAN LONGORIA, AHMAS JONES, CAMERON ROJAS will join Reyes in the defensive backfield.  The Eagles have a plethora of defensive backs in camp and look to have lots of depth for a few years to come.

Special Teams: BRYCE  STRICKLAND A will return as the Eagles kicker.  The junior had about a 75% touchback ratio last season according to Cobbs.  “His brother came here and got a scholarship to Nevada-Reno,” Cobbs commented.

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SCHEDULE:
The schedule sees a challenging set of games facing the alma mater of 5-Time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson.  Opening night will see the Eagles take on City League rival Patrick Henry.  “We have been in a contract with Patrick Henry for a while now,” Cobbs said.  Henry’s last game of 2014 was at Granite Hills for a playoff game that saw the Eagles win 55-28.  The Patriots of San Carlos went 5-6 on the year and 2-2 for middle of the pack in the City league.

The month of September will open with a resumption of a rivalry against Valhalla.  Week three of the season will see Steele Canyon pay a visit to Valley Stadium.  The Eagles will travel to Hoover to continue their tour of the City League following a week off.  Hoover was the team that knocked Granite Hills out of the playoffs, so there will be a little edge of payback from the Eagles.

October will begin with El Capitan coming to Eastern El Cajon.  Week six of the season will see the Eagles head to Chula Vista to take on Hilltop.

When asked about the non-conference season in general, Coach Cobbs said “They really don’t penalize you for playing good teams, so in order to set us up for the Valley League.”

Grossmont Valley League action begins on Oct. 16th with a battle of the hills.  The fourth week of October will see Monte Vista visit.  The “Battle of Madison Ave.” will be contested on Halloween Eve at Valley Stadium.

A trip to Santana will wrap the season up on the first Friday of November.

“West Hills has one of the best quarterbacks in the county, and a good quarterback will take you far in the playoffs,” Cobbs said of his Valley League rival.

Overview:
The Eagles are set up to make another good run towards a Valley League title.  Lots of talent is coming back and could possibly take them all the way to the CIF Finals.

2 Comments

  1. Ronnie Peterson

    August 15, 2015 at 10:13 am

    In your season outlook for Granite Hills you wrote that Victor Garcia was the kicker with 75% touchback last year but it should be Bryce Strickland. He is a third year varsity starter and will be a junior. I know this because Granite Hills hired me to coach hin this season after nine years at ECVHS.
    Please make this name change as soon as possible.

    Peace be with you,

    Coach Peterson

    • Chris Davis

      August 15, 2015 at 1:03 pm

      Sorry about that Coach. The correction has already been made.

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