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Passing league a time for growing

Posted: June 12, 2008 2:10 a.m.
Updated: August 13, 2008 5:03 a.m.


Grow up fast.

That's the message Valencia football coach Larry Muir sent to his team. With four returning starters on defense and five on offense, the Vikings have a lot of growing to do.

Ditto for Canyon and Hart, who took part in a passing league scrimmage, along with the Vikings and Oaks Christian at Valencia High School Wednesday night.

"Football doesn't know that you're young," Muir said.

For Valencia and Canyon, it was their first chance to step on a field against an opponent who wasn't wearing their school colors. For Hart, it was a chance to build on its first scrimmage Tuesday.

All three schools will get to test out their numerous fresh faces and get to see their new quarterbacks build a rapport with their new wide receivers.

Passing league, ultimately, is about those two positions. While the defense gets in repetitions and the running backs learn schemes, summer is quarterback development time.

Senior Dominick Solley is the leading candidate to start at quarterback for the Vikings, though defensive coordinator Rob Waters cautions that he "doesn't have it wrapped up."

Last season, Solley played cornerback, and having played baseball in the spring, this is the time to work on his throwing mechanics and get in sync with his receivers.

"We have a lot of things to work on, a lot of the timing of the offense," Muir said.

Defensively, Valencia is without inside linebacker Drew La Voise who had shoulder surgery and is expected to be back at the end of the summer. La Voise started every game last season and Muir hopes he will be a stabilizing presence on a young defense.

Meanwhile, Canyon is trying to get some stability back in the program, after last year's fourth-place finish in the Foothill League under first year coach Chris Varnar.

Varnar, now in his second season, has a new offensive coordinator, his best friend Jeff Taladay.

Taladay would have been a coach at Canyon last year had it not been for his job.

That job was offensive coordinator at Rio Mesa, where he was for four years. Two years ago, he was on the wrong end of Canyon's 76-14 slaughter of Rio Mesa.

"If you can't beat em, join ‘em" Taladay joked.

Taladay will be working with first-year starter Jordan Adamczyk, as well as a trio of running backs.

Step one for Taladay is to simplify the offense. Without a great deal of experience on the offensive side, Taladay's focus is get the execution down pat.

"We're trying to make it as easy as possible for our quarterbacks," Taladay said.

Defending league champion Hart has two quarterbacks competing for its top spot.

The Indians have four returning offensive starters, but quarterback isn't one of the positions. Spenser Souza and Darren Sholes will have the summer to prove who will line up behind center in the fall.

"Both of them play really good at times and both of them make mistakes," Hart coach Mike Herrington said.

Neither will have the luxury of handing the ball to Delano Howell. Demitri Diamond and Jake Stevens, who started at strong safety last year, will be in the backfield instead. Diamond sat out most of Wednesday with a minor back injury but should be a major contributor.

With summer football just starting, the coaches are still a long way from knowing exactly what they have.

"That's what summer is for," Muir said.

Perhaps more than learning the playbook, running routes, and getting the fundamentals, these kinds of scrimmages will be the first test of mental toughness.

"We want them to compete," Harrington said. "Even though it's not football, it's still football. It's still competition."


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