Already having a small varsity roster and after losing four players to injuries in the first week of the season, Vista del Lago’s football program has decided to not field a junior varsity team this season.
The Eagles started the season with 28 players, but season-ending injuries to Jaxson Hansen and Evan DePetrillo knocked that number down to 26 and injuries to Evan Tung, Nik Goodwin and a few others brought the number of healthy bodies to the varsity team to the low 20s heading into the team’s game last Friday against Ponderosa.
“We had about 21 healthy bodies and a lot of those guys were two-way guys and we just felt that’s not a safe way to go about it,” Vista varsity football coach Mike Struebing said. “We had 17 JV guys suit up for Cordova and if we pulled eight guys up from the JV team to fill the varsity roster that would leave them with nine. Then we’d have to pull up guys from the freshman team to fill the JV team, and that would leave the freshman team with 19 or 20 guys. Then all the teams would be a couple injuries away from being in the same position again. We just thought it would be a stable decision to fold the JV team and move those guys up to varsity.”
The Eagles have a small senior class this year with only 10 players, two of which did not play on the varsity team a season ago and are new to the program.
“This class has always been on the small side,” Struebing said. “When they were sophomores, we had combined practices with the freshman team just have more guys out there. With less kids playing football than in the past, that hasn’t helped either.”
Struebing did say the junior, sophomore and freshman class numbers are adequate.
Ponderosa 49, Vista 18
The Eagles ran into a bigger, stronger team in Ponderosa last week, falling to the Bruins by 31 points.
Ponderosa led 21-0 after the first quarter and though Vista outscored the Bruins 18-12 in the second quarter, the 21-point deficit was too big to climb out of totally.
“Ponderosa did a good job of running their stuff and had some physical kids and good players and executed at a high level,” Struebing said. “I could have done a better job of preparing our kids for that, and when you combine those two things that resulted in the final score.”
Vista quarterback Grant Patterson had a rushing touchdown of seven yards, and also threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Zach Corbitt. Aydan Edwards also connected with Erik Johnson for a 54-yard touchdown pass.
“We missed a few opportunities early,” Struebing said. “We had a couple penalties at just the right time that hurt some of our drives.”
Friday the Eagles (1-1) are back at home to face former Capital Athletic League rival Casa Roble, who enters the game with a 2-0 record.
“They’re in year two under Chris (Horner) so they’re more comfortable running their stuff,” Struebing said. “They look good on film, so we’re going to have to play sound football to win.”