Susan Luzzaro 9:45 p.m., June 18
Season Preview: La Costa Canyon Mavericks
Last Year: 9-3 (1st in Avocado West, lost in D-II semifinals) Top Players: OL/DL Scott Quessenberry (Sr.), QB Jake Sesti (Sr.), RB Deon Dickey (Sr.), LB Ty Toolson (Sr.), LB/FB Shayne Davern (Sr.), DB Kyle Mummau (Sr.), DB/FB Noah May (Sr.) Newcomers to Watch: WR/DB Jake Mann (Jr.), RB Evan Vejar (Jr.), TE/DL Quinn Smith (Jr.)
Hungry La Costa Canyon aims to avoid postseason plateau
A recent string of postseason disappointments has turned La Costa Canyon into a motivated team headed into this season. The Mavericks are hungry to get to the top of a competitive division.
“We have a bunch of workhorses on this team – it’s nuts,” said senior lineman Scott Quessenberry. We have kids that are hungry for a championship.”
Last season, La Costa Canyon rode an eight-game winning streak into a home semifinal matchup against Oceanside. Despite a regular season win over the Pirates, the Mavericks crashed out of the playoffs with a 27-7 loss.
“It was definitely a wake-up call,” said senior cornerback Kyle Mummau. “We got a little complacent last year and that shocked us a little bit. We came back a lot harder.”
In terms of talent, this year’s La Costa Canyon team is comparable to the 2011 edition on both sides of the ball. Mummau and Quessenberry said the 2012 Mavericks also have an advantage in another area.
“We’re definitely more team-oriented this year,” Mummau said. “We’ve come together a lot better as a team.”
A closer-knit team is reflected by a group of six senior captains. Along with Quessenberry and Mummau, quarterback Jake Sesti, linebacker/fullback Shayne Davern, running back Deon Dickey and linebacker Ty Toolson are the leaders for La Costa Canyon this season.
“I couldn’t separate them,” said La Costa Canyon head coach Sean Sovacool. “All six of those guys are real football players.”
Quessenberry is the most heralded of the group, a 6-foot-4-inch, 275-pound lineman that will start at right tackle on offense and move between tackle and end on defense. Quessenberry is the fifth-ranked center in the nation by Rivals and was invited to the Under Armour All-America game next January.
“People are going to know who he is when they see film or go to a game,” Sovacool said.
Sesti is the unquestioned leader of a La Costa Canyon offense that is adjusting to new offensive coordinator Ben Palmer. Sovacool said the returning starter took on a leadership role in the offseason.
“He has really earned the respect of the teammates,” Sovacool said. “He quit playing lacrosse and just focused on leading the football team, and he’s been leading the football team ever since – being more vocal, more positive and more mature.”
In the running game, Dickey will get most of the touches. The 5-foot-8-inch runner will be the feature back after splitting time with Isaac Maquet last season.
“He can change gears and he’s learning to stop and go once, making the one cut,” Sovacool said. “What kept him from making really big plays last year was that he would get to the second level and make one cut too many.”
Defensively, La Costa Canyon expects to play fast out of its 3-3-5 formation. In addition to the three captains on defense, Sovacool said that senior defensive back Noah May is an athletic force in the secondary.
“We’re pretty good and we’re going to be making a lot of plays – we’re tenacious and we fly around,” Mummau said. “We practice harder than any other team I’ve been on before.”
La Costa Canyon opens the season Aug. 31 against Baldwin Park and faces its toughest nonleague challenge the following week at Poway. In the Avocado West League, the Mavericks face Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad and El Camino.
“Vista moving into our league makes it just a little bit harder, but we’re up for the challenge,” Quessenberry said. “We’re all within 20 minutes of each other and it’s one big North County rivalry.”
At a school that won 11 section titles during the 2011-12 school year, La Costa Canyon’s football team is aiming to keep pace with the other programs. This season, the Mavericks want to bring a second section title to the school.
“We just have to play the way we can we play,” Quessenberry said. “We’ve been right there and we’re hungry this year. We’re coming.”