(This is the fourth in a series of previews on Orange Belt high school football teams featuring Strathmore, Granite Hills, Lindsay, Porterville and Monache High Schools).
The Monache Marauders football team has a full roster this year with a full list of student athletes ready and raring to go.
Coach Shane Focke shared a moment while the Marauders took to the practice field and spoke about Monache's football program and its goals this year. Last year was a hard year for the Marauders with an overall record of 5-7 and 1-4 in the East Yosemite League
“Our future is looking really bright.” Focke said. “Truthfully, only time will tell for sure. We've been thankful for our responsible student athletes who've been taking care of themselves outside of school and avoiding COVID; it keeps everyone in competition and that's vital.
“When it comes to some future games we're looking forward to our game with the Porterville Panthers is always huge. We love the turnout and the show, it's always great to have that kind of competition. We share respect with our opponents and the Panthers are a fun and respectful team.
For our new season, I think the other top school we're looking out for is the Redwood Rangers. Since the league had some changes we're gonna be dealing with a bit of an unknown. Since Mission Oak went to West Yosemite, and Delano went to the South Sequoia league; it's only us and the Panthers who are still in the East Yosemite League. We're there along with Porterville, El Diamante, Golden West, Mt. Whitney, and Redwood.”
Focke continued: “We're not shrinking away from any game in particular. I really should say that we're just looking at the next game in front of us for the most part. On Friday, we'll be facing off against the Mission Oak Hawks at our house and we'll have a nice first game to really get the full idea of what we're going to be working on.”
When asked about some of the returning student athletes, Focke said, “Well Josiah Perez, he was the Defensive Player of the Year last year and he was our middle linebacker, he's graduated. It's a hole no one can really just jump into and fill.
“We're still actually working our defensive line into shape because of that. Thankfully we do have some key players returning and some young talented kids just joining up. So like I said, we're looking bright this season.”
Focke then spoke about some of the Marauder players. “There's too many to think of individually. They're really a team that comes together. I'd say our running back Damien Espinoza is a fast and talented young man who I've been really happy to see this year. Joaquin Leyva our guard has a good knowledge of the game and always puts his all into the position.
“I know this is probably too many but I still have to mention Ty Baxter, our wide receiver. Ty has a great attitude and he's fast on the field; it's good to see the dedication. Oh, Emmett Focke, one of our quarterbacks, he's been doing well this year. David Leyva, our running back, has been working hard. Treyce Hornsby, Dal Johnson and Matthew Barba give their all and really hustle and it shows in their play. I can go on forever about these kids.”
Offensive line includes: Centers: Leo Garcia, Joaquin Leyva , Offensive Guards: Leo Garcia, Dagon Allee, Daniel Ledesma, Offensive Tackle: Jonathan Newsom, Dal Johnson, Malachiah Robles, Quarterback: Emmett Focke,Running/Half/Full Back: Edgar Batres, Joseph Espinoza, Damien Espinoza, David Leyva, Jose Morales, Hector Rico, Wide Receiver: Marc Anthony Ceballos, Philip Brown, Trayce Hornsby, Damien Espinoza Tight End: Raymundo Rodriguez, Matthew Barba,
Defensive line includes: Defensive Tackle: Alex Huerta, Dagon Allee, Jonathan Newsom, Malachiah Robles. Linebacker: Edgar Batres, Izaiah Astorga, Jose Morales, David Leyva, Dal Johnson, Raymundo Rodriguez, Hector Rico, Leo Garcia, Santiago Leon. Cornerback: Daniel Ledesma, Safety: Victor Ayon, Philip Brown, Trayce Hornsby, Joseph Espinoza.