A month after winning a CIF State Division 6-AA Championship in December, the Hilmar football team was back in the weight room and had moved on to the upcoming season.
“We have always been a good focused team,” Yellowjackets coach Frank Marques said. “Nobody is talking about last year at all.”
For the Yellowjackets, last year was nothing short of perfection besides two Trans-Valley League losses, beating Ripon Christian in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI Championship on Nov. 30 and two weeks later on campus, capturing the school’s first state title.
For a team that has played in eight section title games (also won Div. VI title in 2017) in 16 years under Marques, they have moved on and return nine starters from last year.
They also have a new quarterback.
Senior Treven Crowley, who throw 18 touchdowns and zero interceptions last year, has stepped away from football to focus on baseball. Crowley is verbally committed to Fresno State.
Seth Miguel, who started on junior varsity but was called-up late in TVL play, hopes to replicate Crowley’s success and Marques had high praise for his 6-foot-1 junior.
“He is the total package,” Marques said. “He has a good arm and runs well and is a true spread quarterback.”
The Turlock native said by suiting up for the playoffs, he was able to get a good feel for the game and he spent time with Crowley in the offseason.
“I did pick his brain because he does make good, timely decisions,” Miguel said. “The coaches have prepared me.”
Miguel, who began playing quarterback at the age of 8, he’ll be nervous for the first couple of games but is ready to get his “jitters” out before a tough TVL season.
Aiden Azevedo, who led the team in receptions (23), receiving yards (412), and touchdowns (four), returns for his senior season and junior Cole Bailey is expected to have a bigger impact on offense with the losses of Justin Rentfro and Issac Sharp, who both graduated.
Marques said the team promoted 10 sophomores for the playoffs and they got seven extra weeks of practice. A majority of them will be starters this year.
“We have a lot of kids with experience,” he said. “It’s not how many kids started. It’s how many got quality playing time.”
Record: 13-2, 4-2 in Trans-Valley League
Players to Watch: Junior quarterback Seth Miguel, junior running back/safety Cole Bailey, senior wide receiver Aiden Azevedo
Biggest Game: Sept. 27 vs. Escalon
Something special about school: Team has sign girls who relay plays on offense
Playoff appearances last five years: 2018: Beat Ripon Christian in CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI Championship, Beat Strathmore in CIF State Div. 6-AA Championship 2017: Beat Modesto Christian in Div. VI Championship, Lost to Strathmore in CIF State 6-AA Norcal Regional Play-In Game 2016: Lost to Colfax in Div. V First Round 2015: Lost to Bradshaw Christian in Div. VI Championship 2014: None
at Modesto Christian