East County Sports

Knights not missing chance for title

Foothills Christian's ELI HALE




By Ramon Scott



EL CAJON – Last season, some of the members of the Foothills Christian Knights were a little disappointed that the program switched to the 8-man division.

That disappointment lasted about as long as the first snap from scrimmage.

The Knights found themselves in the middle of several wide-open shootouts during the season, so there was little time to consider what they thought they might’ve been missing.

Now, with the leader of the state’s second-ranked eight-man passing game returning, the Knights, who missed out on the postseason despite a 5-4 record last year, are a sure contender in the Ocean League under new coach JOE MACKEY.

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Star senior quarterback DANIEL HOFFMAN (6-2, 165) threw for 1,816 yards and 21 touchdowns last season and also ran for 858 yards and 19 touchdowns.

“When I heard that we were going to 8-man last season, I was kinda bummed, I was like ‘that’s not even football,'” Hoffman said. “Then once we started playing, once the ball is snapped, it’s football.”

Seniors NICK PUPA (6-0, 175) and CALEB TARVER (5-11, 160) are returning starters, while standout return man from a year ago, ELI HALE (5-7, 130), is likely to see an increased offensive role in 2016.

“We were very close (to the postseason) last year,” Tarver said. “With this being my senior year, I know I want to make it and I hope for these younger guys, we make it, as well.”

Pupa caught 16 passes for 265 yards and year ago and also doubles as a linebacker. He had 34 tackles last season.

Tarver had 188 yards from scrimmage last season as a back, while making 32 tackles on defense as a linebacker.

Hale had 795 return yards last season and leads all returnees with 46 tackles last season from his defensive back spot.
Senior NG/RB NOAH OLIVER also returns with varsity experience.

Junior linemen ILYJAH BAROLOME (6-0, 225) and CHASE EURICH (5-8, 230) anchor both sides of the line, as well.

Top newcomer, senior JOSH GATES (6-2, 205), is joined by seniors GARRETT BANKHEAD (6-1, 150) and CHRIS SMITH (5-8, 215), as two-way stars, as well.

The Knights are looking to hurdle over last season’s top two teams – Calvin Christian and Cavalry Christian – in the fast-paced Ocean race.

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