Football season 2013 has arrived. For Yosemite High School Badger fans and players it's time to erase the memories of last season that was difficult at best. The varsity and JV teams combined for a 1-19 record.
For the returning players and coaching staff, this was not acceptable. However, both teams worked hard in the off-season and it showed in last Friday's inter-squad scrimmage at Badger Stadium, attended by nearly 400 fans.
The turn-around won't be easy. Yosemite has a tough schedule that includes two CIF section champions, perennial playoff teams, and a brutal four game road trip. The North Sequoia League is also one of the best small school divisions in the Central Section. No matter, the 2013 Badgers should be much improved over last season.
The Badgers offensive success will ride heavily on the shoulders of 6-foot-2, 170 pound junior quarterback Joey Woolsey. Woolsey, a varsity starter since his freshman season, comes off a strong 2012 campaign, passing for 1,810 yards (149 of 310). He threw for 15 TD's but had 14 picks. Look for Woolsey to improve on turnovers this season. Woolsey has a strong arm, good pocket presence, and is comfortable with the Badgers spread offense.
Woolsey has weapons at wide out. Senior receivers Cody Elam and Drew Lassos need to fill the void left by last season's all-league receiver Dillon Moran and Luke Blate. Elam got stronger in the summer and Lassos is fast. Both have good hands and have improved their route running.
Last season Lassos had 11 receptions for 169 yards and a TD.
In order to be successful in the air a team must have a solid ground game. Here is where Yosemite should see their greatest offensive improvement. Last season, the Badgers had only 120 yards on the ground for the entire season. That had to change and Lincoln is confident it will.
The Badgers will have a strong 1-2 punch running the ball with 6-foot, 175 pound sophomore Jayson Lee and 6-foot-1, 220 pound senior fullback Bobby McGee. Lee, who was a big contributor to the team as a freshman, comes in stronger and faster. Last season, he was the team's leading rusher. This season he will get more carries and is a threat as receiver. Last year he had 16 catches for 162 yards.
When the Badgers need the tough yards, McGee will get the call. Last year, McGee was one of the best Badger linemen. He will bring that toughness to fullback. McGee has speed to boot and can do damage in the open field.
The offensive line is a question mark this early in the season. The line returns a number of players from last season and some key transfers. Bryan Godoy (5-foot-9, 170 pounds), Hugh Reid (6-foot-2, 225 pounds), David Temple (6-foot-1, 225 pounds), AJ Rowe (5-foot-8, 190 pounds), Mason Gaynor (6-foot-2, 155 pounds), and Anthony Archer (5-foot-9, 210 pounds) will anchor both offensive and defensive lines this season.
Last year the Badgers gave up 496 points or nearly 50 points per game. The offense will certainly put up points, but to have any success this season, the defense is going to have to rise to the occasion. For Yosemite, the defense will be the key concern.
Most of the offensive starters will also play defense. Last year's team leader in tackles (48), McGee, will lead the linebacker corps
Lassos (38 tackles), Lee (38) and Elam (12) will anchor the secondary. Woolsey was a difference maker in the latter half of last season at defensive back.
The defensive line will be thin on experience and will need to step up to stop the run.
Braveheart Sauceda (5-foot-10, 195 pounds), Temple, Rowe, and Reid combined for 30 tackles last year.
Lincoln is assisted this year by Eric Peterson, Brian Johnson, Jimmie Lee, Ed Wean, Matt Haynes, equipment manager, and Jason Reimer, inspiration coach.
Head coach Kent Lincoln, staff, and the Badger Football Boosters put together the scrimmage that turned into a great community event. Along with the JV and varsity scrimmage, youth participated in the Punt, Pass, & Kick competition and a barbecue dinner was provided by the Badger Boosters.
"We were pleased with the turnout," said Lincoln. "A lot of work went into the event, but even more in the summer. The players and coaches are really looking forward to the season."
For every home game this season, Supernaws BBQ will barbecue a whole pig for pulled-pork sandwiches, with proceeds going to the booster to support YHS and youth football. The pig will be named after the visiting team's mascot.
JV team will be led by QB Eames
The 2013 junior varsity campaign should be an entertaining one for fans. Pat Lynch, head coach, has installed a new "double wing or triple option" offense to accentuate freshman quarterback Tristin Eames, son of former Badger football coach Aaron Eames.
"The offense is one you see at schools like Georgia Tech," said Lynch. "It is run oriented, but is only successful when the quarterback makes good decisions. The QB usually has three options on each play. Even though Tristin is a freshman, he makes good choices."
Eames, who was a member of the Yosemite Youth Football program, was brought up playing the position.
Even though Eames will direct a run-oriented offense he will throw as needed. His main target will be sophomore wide receiver Brian Woolsey. During last week's scrimmage, Eames connected with Woolsey for six touchdowns. Eames will also target sophomore Dylan Rounsivill, who caught four passes during the inter-squad scrimmage.
The offensive and defensive lines will be anchored by Devin Bahramand, Frankie Lemos, and Eric Johnson.
The JV coaching staff consists of Pat Lynch, QB's and offensive coordinator Mark Lassos, wide receivers and defensive backs and Larry Archer, defensive coordinator.
The Badgers host Mariposa at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30 for a scrimmage. The Badgers will have a big test in their home opener at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 6, when Calaveras High from San Andres comes town Friday. Calaveras beat Yosemite last year 54-20.
The JV kick-off is 5 p.m.