Jeff Smith noon, March 8
La Jolla plays up with success
At some schools, finishing 6-5 would indicate a mediocre season. That is not the case at La Jolla.
“We’re never going to have a great record here because our league is teams out of our division that are up, bigger schools than we are,” said La Jolla head coach Dave Ponsford. “So we kind of have to battle and battle for our wins.”
This season the Vikings will play higher division opponents San Diego, Lincoln and St. Augustine in the preseason. Each of those contests will be at home.
“We’re not playing a Division IV schedule; we’re playing up,” Ponsford said. “We’re playing some pretty tough teams.”
Despite the tough schedule, senior defensive back and running back Robbie Beathard has high expectations for this season.
“We have a tight knit group of friends – we’re all really close,” Beathard said. “So just because of team chemistry and a solid core of returners, I’m expecting a good season.”
Despite their team chemistry, Ponsford said depth is an issue for this year’s La Jolla squad.
“I don’t think we are really deep. We’ve got to have some kids step forward and help us out,” Ponsford said. “I think we’ll be able to play some representative football, but we’re a little light on athletes that we can count on to start.”
As a result, the Vikings will have many players seeing action on both sides of the ball. Seniors Beathard and Henry Nawahine will both be going both ways. The Six-foot-one-inch, 215-pound Nawahine will start at inside linebacker and share quarterback duties with junior Zack Zlatic.
One game the Vikings are looking forward to this season is their Sept. 12 contest at Valley Center. Last season, Valley Center blanked La Jolla 42-0 in the Division IV semifinals en route to winning the championship. Beathard cannot wait for the rematch.
“It’s definitely a motivational factor now that we’re going to face them again,” Beathard said. “They’re going to be one of the best teams in our division this year so it’s going to be a good rivalry and I’m excited.”
Before the game against Valley Center, the Vikings open the season Saturday at Santa Fe Christian. Santa Fe Christian is a Division IV title contender and their Wing-T offense can be tricky for opposing defenses.
“The only way you can be successful against Santa Fe Christian is if you match their discipline, if you don’t make mistakes and if you are on the right guy, doing what you are supposed to be doing,” Beathard said. “Otherwise they’ll run all over you.”
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