East County Sports

Matadors, Maosi welcome new top man

MOUNT MIGUEL SENIOR MANU MAOSI / RUBEN PENA - SDFNL MAGAZINE

2018 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

MOUNT MIGUEL MATADORS

 

EastCountySports.com staff report

 

SPRING VALLEY – Coaching legend TROY STARR made the biggest splash during the offseason when he took over the Mount Miguel football program, but this year, Matador senior MANU MAOSI could cast the biggest shadow south of the 94.

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound senior two-way lineman is the rock to help the new rock star dip his toes back into the coaching waters.

Mount Miguel’s LARRY YZAGUIRRE runs against Monte Vista last season. / photo by Ramon Scott

It was just the right time to jump back in the game after the championship mentor’s hasty resignation at Helix after eight seasons.

And the Matadors were the perfect landing spot for both coach and team. A chance to get back to doing what a coach does best.

The depth on the Matadors is spare but this is no bare-bones outfit. Mount Miguel won five ballgames last season and won a road playoff game. The Matadors have some nice returning talent and some interesting young potential.

Maosi forms a nice combination with two-way workman ULICES MONJE (OL/MLB), the team’s leading returning tackler from last season (64 total stops).

The Matadors lost playmakers on both sides of the ball, but Mount Miguel usually produces talent on the outside.

This years group of two-way receiver/defensive backs are led by veterans LARRY YZAGUIRRE, ERIC GRAHAM and JAHEIM ALLEN. Wideout JADD MALLARD also stands out.

“We have stronger connections and a better vibe this season,” Yzaguirre said. “But we’ve got some challenges, too. We’ve got a lot of tough things to figure out as a team.”

Senior ERIC GRAHAM

The passing duties at this point land in the hands of capable sophomore JACOB (J.D.) LAVERDIERE, a sure student for Starr.

“It’s a privilege to (be coached by Starr),” Laverdiere said. “He’s a great coach.

“We’ll have a better chance of winning this year.”

Stepping up to take over the running back duties is junior PATRICK CHIMA, who would seem to be the rumbling type.

Junior RB/OLB MIKE MEDINA adds to the young core as the Matadors’ latest era begins.

Two-way speed man DOMINIC MORALES, a junior receiver and safety, is also expected to contribute on special teams, along with Allen.

“We are way closer this season,” Allen said. “We all have to be focused because we have a new coach. We’re getting used to all the new stuff.”

While the Matadors need growth, the veterans are there to help the new man in charge get acclimated with Matador football.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys, but in a few years, they’re going to be something special,” Yzaguirre said.

Senior ULICES MONJE

A league date with cross-town rival Monte Vista is at the Matadors’ field this time around as Mount Miguel is currently cast as an outside contender in the Grossmont Valley League, but for now, a season-opening date at neighboorhood rival Morse will do.

The Tigers looked strong in a scrimmage against El Capitan on Saturday and Morse got the best of the Matadors, 26-19, in the first game of the year at the Tigers’ field last August.

Mount Miguel will likely need a .500 record or better in order to qualify for the playoffs this season in Division III.

Preseason computer rankings show the Matadors needing improvement in order to crack the top 12 in the division.

They certainly have a new staff on the job who can complete that task.

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