Miramonte Football Preview

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Miramonte Football Preview

Chris Berg and Jack Parodi

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Miramonte football is looking to bounce back from Friday night’s 33-22 loss to Pinole Valley in this Saturday’s game at Saint Mary’s High School. Expectations for this season are high following last year’s NCS championship title. However, it is uncertain how Miramonte will replace graduated superstar quarterback Drew Anderson, in addition to many other key players who have moved on to college.

On offense, Miramonte will remain high-powered and efficient. Anderson’s brother, Ryan ‘16, who was a key contributor to the Matadors’ success last year as a receiver, will begin the year at quarterback. The offense this season will rely more on Anderson’s superb running ability, instead of his brother’s passing ability.  At receiver, Greg Pietrykowski ‘15 and Grant Miller ‘15, along with Clayton Stehr ‘16, will lead an experienced group. “We got a good group this year, so we hope to do some big things,” Miller said.

On the other hand, the Matadors’ defense has an abundance of holes to fill, having lost key linebackers Bennett Stehr and Jonathan McDonald along with safety Will Fuller, lockdown cornerback Rene Clark, and  three out of the four starting defensive linemen. Miramonte looks to fill those holes with linebackers McClain Marks ‘16, Nick Vacakis ‘15, and Jared Childers ‘15, along with a few other new varsity starters. Vacakis proved in the game against Pinole Valley that he can lay the lumber coming off the edge and will definitely be a force to reckon with this season.

The Mats could have one of the scariest front sevens in all of DFAL this year. With 6’6” monsters Alexander Schneir ‘15 and Scott Iqbal ‘15 occupying the middle of the line and and Danny Ritelli ‘16 and Schuyler Rickett ‘15 containing the outside, it will be tough for other teams to control the line of scrimmage against the Matadors. The linebacking core is studly, with hard-hitting Marks in the middle and strong speedsters Stehr and Vacakis playing the outside linebackers. Don’t expect many teams to run the ball effectively against Miramonte this season.

The only unknown the Mats have on defense is the secondary. Though the safety combination of  Anderson  and Pietrykowski is a ball-hawking duo, the departures of first-team all league cornerbacks Rene Clark and Conor Wong leaves two large holes to fill. Childers and Blake Peterson ‘16 look to walk into the large footprints of Clark and Wong, and will be the x-factors of this Miramonte defense, determining whether or not it will be extraordinary or just slightly above average.

Although Friday night’s loss was not anticipated, Miramonte plans on using the game as a learning experience, and something to improve on for the rest of the year. “That game didn’t go as planned, but we learned a lot from it, and it will help us for the rest of the year,” Miller said. There are still questions that remain about this year’s team, but the Matadors think that they have the answers to repeat as NCS champions in 2014.

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