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Eagles hope to compete for league title

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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With 28 players on their roster, Vista del Lago has the smallest football team in their program’s 11-year history.

This year more than any, the team will need to stay healthy and will need contributions from everyone to be successful. Though the roster is small, the Eagles have some talented returning players and the team hopes to compete for a Capital Athletic League championship.

The Eagles return players in key positions on offense, which has coach Mike Struebing excited. Quarterback Grant Patterson returns, as do top receivers from a year ago, Chad Wilson, Nate Hollingshaus and Mitchell Northcutt, along with a pair of returning linemen in center Collin Homer and tackle Josh Morris.

Defensively, the Eagles have even fewer returning players, but the one players who is back is leading tackler Garet Homer, who led the team with 107 total tackles. Homer returns at linebacker and will clearly be the leader of the defense. Wilson is another key returner in the secondary.

“With 28 guys, it’s going to take a collective effort; everyone moving in the same direction at the same time,” Vista coach Mike Struebing said. “We’re going to need some luck going our way too that the injury bug stays away.”

If losing 21 seniors off a team of 36 players last year doesn’t have the Eagles with their backs to the wall this season, realignment does. This season in the Capital Athletic League, gone are Casa Roble and Mira Loma, one team in Casa Roble which is recent history has been average, and the other which hadn’t one a league game in four seasons. Replacing them are three teams which not only have had good football teams in recent history, but all three won at least a piece of league championships a year ago. Del Campo finished 12-1 overall and were champions of the Capital Valley Conference; Capital Christian won the Golden Empire League and ended with a 7-4 record, while Sacramento High were co-champs of the Metro League and posted a 7-5 record a year ago.

“I think it’s great for the league to add these teams,” Struebing said. “You always want to play the best and be challenged and this league will certainly do that. Sac High, Del Campo and Capital Christian are three good programs and will certainly test us. It will be an exciting league this year.”

The Eagles’ three home league games this season come against Del Campo, Christian Brothers and Capital Christian, so not only will the Eagles be challenged, but they will have tough tasks on their home field.

“If we can compete for a league title, I think that would be a pretty successful year,” Struebing said. “The league got a lot tougher, and we have to prove that we deserve to be in mix. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”