Posted: Aug 9, 2012 4:32 PM by Andrew Masuda
The Pioneer Valley football team started last season 3-1 but ended 2-4. The Panthers expect to be above five hundred this year.
Dan Ellington begins his third season as Pioneer Valley head coach. Ellington thinks the familiarity the players have with him and his system has helped during camp.
The Panthers will be inexperienced everywhere but the offensive and defensive lines. One things for sure, Pioneer Valley won't intimidate opposing teams with its size.
"PV's not know for size and we don't care too much. I think size is probably over rated in high school. Obviously at the next level it means a lot more but we believe in conditioning and execution and getting after it" said Ellington.
All four of the senior captains say it's more of a team this season, "We're a lot closer than we were last year, not to say we weren't close last year. Something we've been stressing since the last day of last year is we need to get closer as a team" said senior wide receiver Kenny DeBone.
Senior Drew Johnson will take over the quarterback position from Jason Espinoza who graduated. Espinoza threw for 986 yards, three touchdowns and 11 interceptions last season. He also rushed for 400 yards and seven touchdowns.
Johnson says this years seniors are making a point to embrace the younger players. "Taking the younger guys under our wings, being more of a family and not individuals."
The Panthers also graduated leading rusher Gabrielle Fuentes. They graduated the top two receivers from last season.
Pioneer Valley, in it's third season in the Pac-7 opens at home on August 24 against Nipomo. The Titans finished 4-6 last year.
The Panthers are dedicating this season to Neil Reed, a popular assistant football coach, golf coach and teacher on campus. He passed away from heart complications on July 26 at the age of 36.
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