Special Section: Young Guns at Dos Palos

slynch@mercedsunstar.comAugust 24, 2012 

(BEA AHBECK-CASSON/bahbeck@mercedsunstar.com) From left, quarterback Noah Croninger, running backs Izzac Suarez and Andrew Hall, tight end Seth Allen and fullbacks Dominic DeFrancesco and Juan Jimenez help make up some of DP’s ‘Young Guns.

(BEA AHBECK-CASSON/BAHBECK@MERCEDSUNSTAR.COM)

DOS PALOS -- Frank Lemos' first season as a head football coach was humbling.

The long time Dos Palos wrestling coach and defensive coordinator knew the departing senior class had thinned out the Bronco talent pool.

Even with a limited number of athletes, Lemos was convinced a veteran coaching staff could get the players in the right positions and keep DP competitive.

A 62-0 thumping to Kingsburg in the opening game opened his eyes. The Broncos progressed as 2011 wore on, winning four straight to finish the regular season 5-5 and enter the Central Section playoffs.

"I'm not going to say we didn't have athletes, we had some, but not enough to compensate for our shortcomings," Lemos said. "We had guys that thought they were better than they were and didn't respond well when they weren't successful.

"Guys weren't prepared to play or conform to the Bronco way, and while we had some individual success, the selfish nature of some players prevented the team from ever coming together."

Graduation and a bit of house cleaning leaves Lemos with just 10 returners and eight seniors. He's reloaded the Broncos' stables with a talented group of juniors and sophomores.

While the group might lack varsity experience, Lemos said his Young Guns are varsity ready and he expects them to have success sooner rather than later.

"Last season was tough," senior tight end Seth Allen said. "There was a lot of conflict among the team. Losing is bad enough, but when you're not enjoying playing together it's worse.

"This year there's just a different energy. Everyone's psyched to go to practice. We have good position battles and just respect for each other and the program."

Lemos promises the Broncos' power run game will be back this fall thanks to the addition of a pair of sophomore fullbacks, Dominic DeFrancesco and Juan Jimenez.

Tailbacks Andrew Allen and Izzac Suarez will be searching for holes behind them, while junior Noah Croninger steps under center.

"Last year our offense was pretty much give Kailan (Hill) the ball," Hall said. "This year there's much more balance and more options."

Putting his faith in the youth movement, DeFrancesco and Jimenez will also anchor the heart of the DP defense stepping in at middle linebacker.

Defensive end Jesus Cardoza is expected to have a big year at defensive end and Adam Coronado will lead the secondary.

"Last year I let me ego get in the way," Lemos said. "We've gotten back to basics and to Bronco football. We may be young, but we're not playing for next year."

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