High School Sports

El Capitan’s Solis, Atwater’s Ybarra hope offseason work shows up in scrimmages

Players stretch during varsity football practice at El Capitan High School in Merced, Calif., on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017.
Players stretch during varsity football practice at El Capitan High School in Merced, Calif., on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017. akuhn@mercedsun-star.com

Frank Solis feels his transition from defensive assistant to head coach of the El Capitan High football team has gone smoother than expected.

Solis, who has spent time as an assistant for the Gauchos and at Golden Valley under Dennis Stubbs, will see how the Gauchos fare against another opponent in pads for the first time when El Capitan travels to Patterson for a scrimmage on Friday night at 7.

“I want to see the fight that these kids have put in every day. I want to see all the hard work they’ve put in this offseason to show on Friday night,” Solis said.

The final dress rehearsal takes place on Friday and Saturday for local high school football teams. The lights come on and the show starts next Friday as the 2017 season kicks off.

All 16 area teams will take part in scrimmages on Friday or Saturday.

This season we will see five new coaches patrolling the sidelines. Joining Solis as new coaches will be Seneca Ybarra at Atwater, Kevin Jones at Dos Palos, Mark Gutierrez at Stone Ridge Christian, Ronnie LaBry at Gustine.

Solis has installed a pistol offense with spread concepts.

The Gauchos will get a lot of different looks against Patterson because the Tigers will run a triple-option offense one play and may line up in a spread attack the next play.

It makes it tough in a scrimmage when most teams don’t spend time game planning for opponents.

“I like it,” Solis said. “Especially in a scrimmage. It allows our defense to see different things. They have to think each play and it keeps them on their toes.”

Merced, which advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III semifinals last season, will travel to Clovis High today for a 7 p.m. scrimmage against the Cougars. Merced will open the season at home in one of the marquee opening week matchups against Del Campo. The Bears defeated Del Campo in the second round of the playoffs last season after losing to the Cougars in the season opener.

Stone Ridge Christian will host Delhi at 5 p.m. and Hilmar will host Los Banos at 7 p.m. in Friday matchups of playoff teams from last season.

Livingston, Gustine, Summerville and Mountain House will travel to Orestimba for a five-team scrimmage at 7:30 p.m. that will allow each team to get different looks.

Atwater will do something similar when it joins Tokay and East Union at Edison High in Stockton.

After an 0-10 season, Ybarra is looking to see how his team responds this year.

“I want to see confidence,” Ybarra said. “We need to play physical football. We’ve had a good offseason so hopefully that shows up. I want to know that we’re headed in a positive direction.”

Other teams will scrimmage on Saturday, including Buhach Colony traveling to Modesto to scrimmage Central Catholic. The Thunder will open the season next Friday in an interesting matchup against defending Modesto Metro Conference champions Downey. An intriguing matchup in that game could see the Thunder’s star defensive back L.J. Wallace, who verbally committed to Colorado, matched up against Downey’s star receiver Isaiah Johnson, who verbally committed to UCLA.

Dos Palos will make the trip to Le Grand at 11 a.m.

Golden Valley is hosting Edison of Fresno and Pacheco at Veterans Stadium at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Cougars will have a lot of new faces this season with only a few players returning that saw extended playing time.

Shawn Jansen: 209-385-2462, @MSSsports

Football Scrimmage Schedule


5 p.m. – Delhi at Stone Ridge Christian

7 p.m. – Merced at Clovis, El Capitan at Patterson, Los Banos at Hilmar, Atwater, Tokay, East Union at Edison of Stockton

7:30 p.m. – Livingston, Gustine, Summerville, Mountain House at Orestimba


10 a.m. – Buhach Colony at Central Catholic, Mariposa, Davis, Ripon, Chowchilla at Modesto Christian

11 a.m. – Dos Palos at Le Grand

7 p.m. – Pacheco, Edison of Fresno at Golden Valley