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New-found energy: After turbulent offseason, Golden Valley's small roster feeding off new coach's excitement

Jon Betschart is all over the field.

The Golden Valley coach weaves in and out of the huddle.

Before a play, he'll sprint from the defensive backfield to whisper something in the center's ear.

He's not afraid to shed his sunglasses and show his defensive linemen how to take on a double team.

Betschart's energy is infectious.

"He's always going," said GV defensive lineman Nathan Saefong. "It's like he's working with us."

Former GV coach Dennis Stubbs caught most people by surprise when he announced he was taking over the Los Banos program last winter.

"We were shocked," said senior Jeremy Jacobo. "Everyone was wondering what's it going to be like, who's going to be our coach?"

Betschart was hired in the spring and seems to have won over his players with his enthusiasm and energy.

"He's brought a new energy there and you have to be afraid of new energy," Merced coach Rob Scheidt said. "It can be contagious. When kids get excited, they play their best football."

Betschart also brings along a new offense -- the spread veer option.

It's an offense based on deception and it forces opposing defenses to account for two or three possible ball carriers on every play.

Kyle Black and Ray Rivas will both see time at fullback. Lee Xiong, Tyler Servin and Sergio Guitierrez could all play at wingback.

Guittierez is also competing for the starting quarterback spot with Jacobo.

"The job is open," Betschart said. "We like them both as athletes. They're both good leaders.

"Jacobo has played the position in the past. Sergio is one of our best athletes and he's one of our top speed guys.

"We'll go with the guy who moves the team the best."

With less than 40 players on the roster, Golden Valley could use as many as four or five players on both sides of the ball.

Staying healthy is a must.

"We're in the high 30s in numbers," Betschart said. "But it's like I tell our players, only 11 get to play.

"If we are in good shape, we'll be all right."

The star trio of QB Chris Randle, tight end Kyle McMillin and bruising running back Eric Green are gone from last year's playoff team.

They accounted for most of GV's offense last year.

With the big names departed, Golden Valley finds itself flying under the radar.

"I think most people think we won't be good," Saefong said. "Just wait until we play them."

You won't hear Betschart make any bold predictions. The new coach just wants a season without regrets.

"We want to play our best ballgame 10 times and see what happens," Betschart said. "If we can do that, we can live with ourselves."

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