Central Catholic coach Roger Canepa said he always looks for tough teams to play.
Entering his 11th year at the Modesto school, Canepa has scheduled a rigorous non-conference slate for 2019..
Central Catholic will face two teams ranked in the top 25 in the state by MaxPreps, including national-powerhouse No. 5 De La Salle (Aug. 30 at home) and No. 21 Upland (Sept. 13 on road). Before traveling to face Upland, the Raiders travel to Stockton to play St. Mary’s in the annual Holy Bowl.
Upland, which won a CIF Southern Section Division II Championship in 2018, returns senior linebacker Justin Flowe, the No. 3 ranked player in the nation by 247Sports.
“It’s a great schedule,” Canepa said. “Why wouldn’t you want to come here to play football?”
The Raiders, who lost to Del Oro in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Championship, a game the Golden Eagles later had to forfeit, are projected once again to be one of the top teams in the section. Central Catholic is ranked No. 2 in the section behind Folsom and No. 25 in the state by MaxPreps.
Some of the returners are: Senior quarterback Dalton Durossette, senior running back Minaya Olivo, and senior tight end Nic Sani.
Durossette threw 18 touchdowns and just three interceptions last year while Olivo averaged over 12 yards per carry but played in only nine games and missed the section title game with a leg injury. He is a three-star recruit, according to 247Sports.
His dad is former Major League Baseball player Miguel Olivo.
Sani played in only six games and suffered a season-ending shoulder injury that forced him to miss the entire basketball season. At 6 feet, 6 inches tall, Sani will be one of Durossette’s top targets. He has offers from Nevada and UC Davis, among others.
Like it was last year, health will be key for the Raiders.
“We don’t have a lot of guys (31 on varsity),” Canepa said. “Minaya is stronger but has to stay healthy.”
In their run-first offense, the Raiders will rely on senior offensive lineman Armando Palominos (6-foot-3, 260 pounds) and junior offensive lineman Julius Lewis (6-foot-5, 280 pounds) to create space for Olivo and junior running back Jack Grisel.
Senior wide receiver Sithri Price (14 receptions, 530 yards, nine touchdowns) also returns and averaged over 37 yards per catch last year.
“We have the best back (Olivo) and best receiver (Price) in the area,” Canepa said.
School: Central Catholic
Record: 11-2, 6-0 in Valley Oak League
Players to Watch: Senior quarterback Dalton Durossette, senior running back Minaya Olivo, senior wide receiver Sithri Price
Biggest Game: Aug. 30 vs De La Salle
Something special about school: Central Catholic had a team play in a section final in each sport season last school year. Football and volleyball in fall, boys basketball in winter, and baseball in spring.
Playoff appearances last five years: 2018: Lost to Del Oro in CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Championship 2017: Lost to Del Oro in Div. II Semifinals 2016: Lost to Jesuit in Div. II Quarterfinals 2015: Beat Oakdale in Div. III Championship, Beat San Marino in CIF State Open Division-Small Schools Championship 2014: Beat Sonora in Div. IV Championship, Beat St. Margaret’s in CIF State Div. IV Championship
De La Salle
at St. Mary’s
at East Union
at Weston Ranch