The Yuba College Football Team is expecting this season to be a pay-off from last year’s conditioning, training and experience. Last year’s 2-8 team was a disappointment to many who thought the team, consisting largely of sophomores, would have a guaranteed shot at a bowl game. However, due to changes in the conference ranking system, it became evident early that the 2002 Yuba Team would struggle in competing with the much larger schools they would be forced to play.
Knowing this, Yuba College head coach, Ted Hoal, took the opportunity to give the freshman of the 2002 season an opportunity for elevated playing time. Due to the skill that those freshmen gained, Hoal feels that the current sophomores are “seasoned and experienced.” He said, “I see a lot of maturity this year. We have a lot of kids who played before, and we consist of more sophomores than last year. We brought in and played a lot of young kids last year, setting ourselves up for this season.”
The 2003 Yuba College Football Team will be benefiting from the skills of eight returning offensive players, along with seven returning defensive players. While the team is a little young in the defensive backfield, Hoal is expecting a strong defensive line led by Soloni Taumalolo (6’0″, 265 lbs.) Hoal said, “[Taumalolo] is a good player; he was with us last year.”
Hoal has also predicted running backs, Va’a Fonoti (5’10”, 220 lbs.) and Norm Freeman (5’7″, 190 lbs.) along with quarterback Brian Botts (6’1″, 175 lbs.) to be exciting prospects that could lead the team to victory. Hoal feels that with that the knowledge and maturity of this year’s team, they are better suited to break the fight-for-every-yard, running play tradition of the Mid-Empire Conference and agrees that any team that can perfect their throwing game has a good shot at a conference championship. He said, “If you throw the ball, then it softens the defense and the game is no longer one dimensional. Last year we had to run the ball more than we wanted to early in the season.”
Hoal believes that this year’s team can quickly change that due to a knowledgeable quarterback and the skills of the other returning players. He said, “We are all a year older, and we have some returning players that are very mature. We also have a quarterback [Botts] with some good experience, who makes smart decisions.”
Botts also has the advantage of a new coach, Mitch Giles, specializing in coaching the quarterback. Hoal said, “He is another experienced coach. Just as with any of the college programs, the more experienced instructors we have, the better the program is… he adds to what we already have.”
The Yuba College Football Team’s skill will be put to the test in their first game, away, at Feather River College on Saturday September 6. The team will then return for their first home game Saturday, September 13, versus the College of the Sequoias. Hoal said, “We are mature enough now for a more difficult season. Look for us to be much more competitive early.”