With all the excitement surrounding the World Cup, futbol has dominated the sporting landscape the past few weeks. But in this corner of the world, football is still a pretty big deal.
That was evident Wednesday night at the Downey Contact Camp, where the Downey High Knights hosted Enochs, Ceres and East Union high schools for a round-robin of scrimmages.
The action got underway just after 6 p.m., with temperatures still in the 90s. Modesto Metro Conference foes Downey and Enochs squared off on the north half of the field while Ceres and East Union headed toward the south goal.
And if the first play from scrimmage is any indication, Enochs quarterback Shawn Munoz is poised for a big season. Munoz, who was injured for a chunk of last year’s 2-7-1 season, hooked up with junior receiver Michael Watley for a 40-yard touchdown strike.
Sure, it’s a scrimmage, but Munoz will take it.
“Starting like that helps get your confidence up,” said Munoz, who was listed at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds on last year’s roster but has added about 10 pounds.
“During my sophomore season we took second in league and were expected to take it all last year,” said Munoz. “And we were nowhere near that. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.”
Munoz will have a strong receiving corps this season. In addition to Watley, senior Brandon Williams, junior Caden Rico and senior tight end Chad Matau look like contributors.
Downey High, the MMC co-champs with Modesto High last season, also has a nice crop of skill players to surround senior quarterback P.J. Wilson, who looked as sharp as Munoz on Wednesday.
“Everything is starting to come together,” Wilson said. “Personally, I’m just looking for consistency at this point. Consistency with my throws, consistency with my reads. As long as we’re consistent, coach (Jeremy) Plaa’s offense will work.”
Plaa has called up a pair of sophomores in tailback Malcome Green and receiver Isaiah Larry – “We don’t pull up kids very often,” said Plaa. “We think pretty highly of them” – to accompany junior tailbacks Josh Holt and Tyran Daniels, and junior fullback Poaka Kekua, who will have to sit out 30 days after transferring from Johansen High. They should give the Knights a formidable ground game to accompany their aerial attack.
And speaking of aerial attacks, Ceres’ Brad Bussard, who passed for 2,853 yards and 25 touchdowns last season, will be counted on again to give the inexperienced Bulldogs some bite.
Downey and Ceres will take part in Saturday’s Modesto Junior College passing tournament beginning at 9 a.m. at the MJC stadium.
The Sac-Joaquin Section’s dead period – when teams can’t do much other than conditioning drills – will run from July 21 to Aug. 10. After that, practices get underway in earnest for the 2014 season.