As head coach Mike Hastings and his team of assistants lead their latest varsity team through carefully planned practices focused on the season-opener tomorrow night against El Camino in Oceanside, Hastings has reason to expect a good showing from his defenders.
Hastings, who enters his 21st season at the helm of the Pointer ship, has compiled a record of 143-93 with three ties. Once again, he has drafted a tough non-league collection of games that will thoroughly test his current squad.
Leading the Pointer defense will be returning all-league performers JL Skinner, Jake Silva and Wes Windmiller. Skinner, a 6 foot 4 inches tall defensive back, earned first-team Western League honors and also was selected as a second team all-CIF player. He has attracted interest from more than a dozen universities. Silva and Windmiller were both named to the all-Western League second team as juniors.
On the 37-man roster, every player learns a position on offense and defense with some playing both ways if they are first string on each.
With positions, name, grade and (Hastings’ comments) on his expected defensive standouts:
Pointer defensive threats include RB/LB Christian Terzoli, 12 (“real physical in the middle”), WR/DB JL Skinner 12, (“a two-way threat who could easily make all-CIF on offense too”), FB/LB Cameron Auva’a 11 (“excellent inside linebacker”), WR/DB Tristan Shafer 11, (“a solid returning safety”), RB/DB Kaden Gill 11 (“played a lot for us last year”), OL/DL Silva 12 (“a dominant force”), WR/OLB Windmiller 12 (“tough returning all-leaguer”), OL/DL Alejandro Barragan-Peterson 11 (“a tremendous force for us”).
“Our front seven is made up of some very strong kids,” Hastings said. “They rush the passer and they’re good run stoppers. In our secondary, three of our four are returning starters with seven total returning starters on defense. We should be fine.”
Hastings expects two players to run the Pointer offense. QB/DB Tre Cobb 11 and QB/DB Jason Peres 11 are sharing duties so far in camp.
“Both have done well in camp but neither has has taken on the starting position yet. They’re both in competition,” Hastings said.
But when they throw, Hastings expects good results.
“They both have some really good targets to throw to,” he said, naming Skinner, Windmiller and Shafer as prime examples. The trio averages about 6 foot 2 inches in height. “They all catch the ball extremely well outside.”
When throwing inside, Hastings sees great talent in Gill (“a very good running back”), RB/LB Christian Hall 10 and RB/DB Chris Brown 10 (“both came up from the freshman team last year and did super-well for us, just tremendous running backs”) along with incoming transfer RB/LB Myles Bryant 12 (“also an outstanding running back, so I think we’ll be very good at this position”).
On the offensive line, the Pointers are looking for replacements for a tough group who graduated.
Barragan-Peterson will be joined by OL/DL Danny Shelton 11 and OL/DL Louis Daniels 11 (“who are both big, physical kids I think are going to do well for us.”)
OL/DL Cannon Nutting 12 steps into the key role of center (“where he should do very well”). OL/DL Jake Silva will likely go both ways to field a line who Hastings says “are young but have size and are determined.”
On special teams, Hastings cited returning K/P Ricky Borjon 12 (“has a very strong punting leg”) and returning K/P Andy Medina 11 (“who should put points on the board with extra points and field goals.”) Both will share kickoff duties.
Hastings listed several others who have a strong upside including TE/OLB Trevor O’Toole 11 (“a strong, physical kid, very good special teams player”), OL/DL Kyle Clauson 11 (“will add depth”), TE/OLB Jackob Maruky (“who adds depth at both positions”), and twin brothers FB/LB Landon Green 11 and FB/LB Cameron Green 11 (“both excellent players”).
WR/OLB Alex Silva 10 (“very physical player”), RB/DB Zac Makis 12 (“a muti-purpose player, he can play a lot of positions for us”), transfer RB/DB Jaylon Brown 10 (“will be a contributor on special teams”) and WR/DB Matewos Bogale 12 (“who does anything and everything for the team and was the Bennie Edens Award winner at last year’s banquet, a true Pointer.”)
Aug. 17 at El Camino (8-6 in 2017), 7 p.m. Last year: El Camino 34, PLHS 12.
Aug. 24 at home vs. Ramona (12-1 in 2017), 6:30 p.m. Last year: Ramona 21, PLHS 14. Bulldogs lost to Steele Canyon in CIF Div. II finals.
Aug. 31 at Otay Ranch (8-4 in 2017), 7 p.m. Last year: did not play. Mustangs lost to Ramona in CIF Div. II semifinals.
Sept. 7 at home vs. Rancho Bernardo (6-6 in 2017), 6:30 p.m. Last year: did not play.
Sept. 14 at Olympian (6-6 in 2017), 7 p.m. Last year: PLHS 38, Olympian 28. Eagles lost to El Camino in CIF Div. I quarterfinals.
Sept. 28 Homecoming vs. University City (10-2 in 2017), 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 5 at Madison (8-3 in 2017), 6:30 p.m. Last year: PLHS 38, Madison 22.
Oct. 12 at Lincoln (9-3 in 2017), 6:30 p.m. Last year: PLHS 36, Lincoln 34.
Oct. 19 at home vs. St. Augustine (7-4 in 2017), 6:30 p.m. Last year: St. Augustine 53, PLHS 34. Saints lost to San Marcos in CIF Open Div. first round.
Oct. 26 at home vs. Cathedral Catholic (5-7 in 2017), 6:30 p.m. Last year: PLHS 10, Cathedral Catholic 7.