H-SPORTS

Jul 30, 2013 8:16 PM by Andrew Masuda

Pioneer Valley football focused on restoring Panther Pride

After missing the CIF playoffs the last three years, Pioneer Valley High football is determined to restore the Panther pride in 2013.

Tuesday, the Panthers opened two-a-days with 57 players. Head coach Dan Ellington is back for his fourth season.

Running back Ernesto Barrera returns to lead the PV ground attack. Last year, he rushed for 483 yards on 88 carries and scored 4 touchdowns.

Tight end Chris Carter will also play a key role in the offense. The senior is being recruited by some colleges and spent the summer with Team USA. " I'm really excited about this team. They've all been brothers to me, my family. I think we can go really far this year and I'm excited. I feel like we have a lot of potential and if we use it right we can go all the way," said Carter, who caught 6 passes for 58 yards to go with 39 tackles last season.

The Panthers were 2-8 overall last season and went 0-6 in Pac 7 League action. Returning players used that as motivation this summer. They're determined to get this program back on track.

" I learned you have to be stronger than everybody and you have to be better than everybody and commit yourself to what you're doing. We've done a lot this summer. We've team bonded, we've worked out, we've done a lot of stuff together and I feel that's going to be better for us," said senior fullback and defensive end Mikey Ruiz.

" That's what I love about these kids at Pioneer Valley. They're the toughest kids, they love playing football and I enjoy it and we enjoy the challenge," said Ellington, who's career record as head coach at PV is 10-20.

Two juniors are taking snaps at quarterback in training camp. Senior Andrew Madrigal, the expected starter, broke his foot in a summer passing tournament. Ellington expects Madrigal to return to action at or near the season opener. Madrigal rushed for 130 yards and 3 touchdowns last season and threw for 202 passing yards.

PV also lost Jaime Tinoco, who was ruled out for the season because of an earlier concussion.

The Panthers open the season Friday, August 30 at Nipomo High.

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