Aug 27, 2013 8:32 PM by Bill Halter
When players and coaches in the Pac-7 talk about League favorites, Atascadero usually gets mentioned. The Greyhounds have half of their starters back from a team that struggled during the regular season but then won two games in the CIF playoffs after sneaking in as the 16th and final seed. Atascadero was the only Pac-7 team to win a playoff game last year.
Senior Robbie Berwick will be the Greyhounds quarterback for a third straight year but just because they have a veteran player at the position doesn't mean you should expect the Hounds to suddenly become a passing team. "We're going to throw the ball when we need to throw the ball and we're going to throw the ball to try to keep people off guard but still our goal always as long as I'm here will be to try to ram the ball down people's throats" said head coach Vic Cooper.
Berwick averaged 129 yards passing per game and threw 10 touchdowns with 10 interceptions as a junior. He also rushed for 346 yards and five touchdowns. Berwick will have the second and third leading rushers from last season with him again. Senior Izaiah Cooks (811-yds, 11-TD's) and junior Ethan Hicks (421-yds, 4-TD's) are expected to get most of the carries.
Senior wide receiver and defensive back, Louie Thek says the team has some momentum because of the two upsets they pulled in the playoffs. "The run at the end of the year kind of motivated us this year that we had a chance at winning CIF this year too so that motivated a lot of our team to work hard" said Thek.
Cooper says he's happy with the work his team put in during the off-season and expects senior leadership to be a strength. He thinks the run to the CIF semifinals was a helpful experience for his players but, "Clovis North doesn't care about what we did in CIF" said Cooper.
At Clovis North is the Greyhounds first game on Friday night. The Division one team went 12-2 and won the Central Section championship last year. Atascadero ended last season with a 6-7 record and 2-4 mark in the Pac-7.
The Greyhounds host Morro Bay the following week for their home opener and also play Santa Barbara and St. Bonaventure in non-league play.
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