Prep Football: New faces at key spots for Rancho Bernardo High
By Michael Bower
Leadership tends to come from the quarterback on offense and the middle linebacker or safety on defense. The Rancho Bernardo High football team will start the season inexperienced at all those positions.
“I think we are fine on the defensive line and the offensive line,” second-year Broncos coach Tristan McCoy said. “We have enough experience there. It is more in the skill areas that we are inexperienced.”
Bringing along the inexperienced, skilled-position players will be key for Rancho Bernardo’s quest to improve on last season’s 5-6 finish.
The most notable question mark comes at quarterback, where Mike Searson has the tough challenge of replacing All-Palomar League first-teamer Trent Sessions.
“It is going to be really hard to replace Trent,” McCoy said. “He kind of made our offense go last year. But we have a lot of capable skilled-position guys so we are in a position where we do not have to put it all on the shoulders of our QB.”
A few of those players that should help lighten the burden on Searson are receiver Charles Ensley and running back Ivy Adair.
The two seniors will likely have the ball in their hands often this season. Ensley is a speedy 6-foot target with the ability to get behind the defense. He scored seven TDs in a breakout year last season.
Adair filled in nicely when Glenn Paggett went down last season. Adair averaged over four yards per carry in the final five regular-season games. Running the football will likely be the top option for the Broncos.
“It will definitely be a priority for us,” McCoy said. “But our offensive coordinator is very creative in getting the ball in different places and keeping the defense guessing. We will do a lot of shifts and screens and get the ball out of the QB’s hands quick to help him out.”
Sean Ng and Nolan Johnson will anchor the defensive line, which should be the Broncos’ strength this year.
Rancho Bernardo will need to find a way to replace linebackers Robert Byron and Mike Ralph, who combined for 194 tackles last season. New middle linebacker Roger Mann and returnee Trevor Berck, who had 42 tackles last season, should fill in nicely.
Zach Arnell and Ali Shahine, who combined for three interceptions and 122 tackles last year at the safety positions, also graduated. They will be replaced by Tyler Nicholson, Nick Valles and Niko Greub.
There are plenty of new faces at key spots for the Broncos, but McCoy has liked what he has seen thus far.
“I think overall the attitude is a little better with these guys this year,” he said. “They are buying into what we are doing as a team and a program. They like to play, they like each other and are willing to work … We may not be the most talented team in the world or the biggest team, but I think we are going to be able to compete.”
Follow Sports Editor Michael Bower on Twitter @PomeradoSports for all of the local prep news.
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