Football is just right around the corner. Once again The Yuba College 49ers look poised for another run at the Bay Valley Conference Championship. The 49ers were just one play away last year from the playoffs, having been stopped at the goal line on fourth down just inches from the winning touchdown against Mendocino after a furious fourth quarter comeback. To many observers the play, a swing pass to the left, looked like a score for sure. This years version of the Yuba College offense should look just as potent, It is hard to replace the likes of Juan Johnson, Zach Hutcheson, Tyrone Grove and Jeremy Williams.
All Conference running back Johnson carried the ball and the offense last year but has moved on, perhaps Duquesne University and Division 1 college football. Johnson twice broke team and conference single season rushing records in 2012. Quarterback Hutcheson is also a Division 1 football prospect and rumor has it he is headed to school in Georgia. Williams, last year’s starting slot receiver, may have more football in his future at the next collegiate level, as he has played out his eligibility and is nearing graduation. Williams will be sorely missed on offense. A sure handed receiver and excellent running back, he is an excellent prospect for any Division 1A school.
We were privileged in 2012 to an excellent brand of football here at Yuba College and should recognize the efforts of these graduating players. Let’s hope to be so fortunate with the 2013 team. The coaching staff is a committed group and should have the team concept in order on offense as well although it remains to be seen who will be the starting quarterback and what type of running game the 49ers will employ, having sustained the loss of Juan Johnson. Yuba will be counting on the potential of several redshirts who sat out last year to protect their eligibility to fill the holes created by graduation, in particularly on defense.
I talked to Defensive Coordinator J. J. Rodriguez during practice recently. Rodriguez said, “You can never replace players with the talent of a Tyrone Grove who was a dominating force on the defensive line last year as both a pass rusher and run stopper. We are expecting to play more of a team defensive style this coming season.” This would leave one to expect a lot of zone defense and double coverage from the 49ers on defense. Tyrone Grove is big, strong, graceful, intelligent and soft spoken. Grove was the anchor on the 49ers defense during his tenure here at Yuba College. He will also be a valuable addition to any Division 1A university as a football prospect and student.
Coach Ted Hoal teaches a conservative, ball control, style offense. His teams do not turn the ball over and almost always control the clock and time of possession against their opponents. Therefore, offensively, they are able to handle the transition of new players, replacing graduates from year to year, much better than most other teams. Programs that must institute new offensive schemes, frequently do not transition well. Hoal’s assistant coaching staff has also been together for quite some time, creating cohesiveness as a unit. His team philosophies and coaching style have everything to do the consistency of 49er football.
Practice has already started and players are in the weight room, preparing for the upcoming fall season. The Prospector will be covering all of the Yuba College football games this year and we are looking forward to a very exciting season, on the road and on the field with the 49ers!