Pacheco High's football team doesn't quite know what to expect out of tonight's road opener against Selma in the Central Section.
"They didn't trade any film with us or anything, so I don't know what they look like this year, but I'm assuming, you know, the same coach is still there, so I'm assuming that they're going to run the same offense and defense," Pacheco coach David Snapp said. "But they're a pretty big football town. They follow the Bears real closely and support them real well, so I would expect them to be better this year."
Two months ago, the Panthers' expectations were sky high. But today, with a rash of injuries through fall camp and half a dozen starters questionable for the opener, the picture is a little cloudier.
"A couple of them we expect back after this week, couple of them probably a couple of weeks still," Snapp said. "We've got some twisted ankles, some twisted knees and a possible hernia. So we got to see a bunch of the backups step up in starting roles (in Saturday's Orestimba scrimmage), and they performed pretty admirably."
Running back Kalama Kamoku (125 carries for 868 yards last season) has been out since tearing two ligaments in his right knee during a passing tournament, and underwent surgery a few weeks back. Lineman Wyatt Orozco, linebacker Ruben Rocha, cornerback Zhavaughn Davis and receiver Georgiou Nieves are all out for the opener, and Snapp said lineman Josh Tui is a game-time decision.
That will make it a little harder for Pacheco to repeat its 34-23 victory over Selma in last year's opener, which started Selma on the road to a 4-6 record.
"I know coming into last year, they had a few injuries to some of their key guys. I guess the shoe's on the other foot this year a little bit," Snapp said. "We expect to go down into a hostile environment, and they're wanting some payback, from the few things I've read in the paper, that we're coming into their house, and it's their turn to pay back what happened to them last year, paying it back to us."
Snapp said the Pacheco players had a special feeling all spring and summer that kind took a hit when Kamoku went down, and has just started to return.
"You could see last week we started to get it back about Tuesday and carried it on all the way into the scrimmage, and it culminated at the scrimmage," Snapp said. "At the end of the scrimmage, the spirit and the fire, and the special vibe that we've been talking about since springtime is back again, and guys are fired up and ready to get at it for real."
Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at (209) 826-3831 ext. 6565 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org