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Frosh keep legacy alive

Quarterbacks, linebackers to key Hart squad

Posted: September 3, 2009 10:50 p.m.
Updated: September 4, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Hart football has a long history of strong quarterbacks and linebackers.

According to freshman team head coach Dan Cota, there are even more on the way.

And entering his 20th year with the program, he would know.

"I think this group has a couple of guys who could move on to a four-year (college) if they work hard enough," he said. "We definitely have a couple of (collegiate Division I) guys if they continue to press and work."

It begins at the quarterback position, where Cota said there is a weekly battle for the starting job between three players.

For week one, Matt Machin has won the starting job.

"This year, we happen to have three guys with experience and three guys who just like to compete," Cota said. "They just love to compete. Competition breeds success. If you have someone pushing you every day at practice, you get better and these guys have taken that to heart."

Machin will be pushed week-in, week-out by Paul Schneider and Nick Cruz.

Cruz, who is 6-feet tall, is also a wide receiver.

"He is a good athlete," Cota said. "We've got to get him on the field somewhere."

At 6-foot-1-inch, Dustin Soto will serve as another primary receiving target for Machin.

Running backs Aaron Carrillo and Johnathan Gonzalez will come out of the backfield.

Gonzalez's speed will be key as he shifts to linebacker when the Indians are on defense.

Along with John Perkins, Ryker Lamb and Alec Barnes, Cota had a lot of good things to say about linebacking corps.

But it all came down to one thing.

"They love to hit," he said. "They are going to bring it."

Griffin Scott and Austin Murillo will take the lead in the secondary while Mitchell Nathan, Daniel McGowan, Austin Lee and Ryan Darrow will provide strength up front on both sides of the ball.

"You can tell that these guys have it," Cota said of his team. "They are just hard workers. They are leaders. They are just gifted athletes."

And they are the reason why Cota, a physical education teacher at Placerita Junior High School, keeps coming back. "I just love working with the kids," he said. "We get some great kids through the program and I just feel blessed. I've had the chance to work with some fine individuals, some who are now in the pros."

He doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

"I think I'll keep on doing it until I retire," he said. "It is too much fun."


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