Under the watchful eye of head coach Dane Cook, three-year starting quarterback Jonah Johnson will lead the Madera South attack into Friday’s home opener against Pacheco in Memorial Stadium. (Manuel Guillen)
On one side of the ball, the Madera South Stallions football team saw positive returns from two of their top offensive players in its scrimmage against Washington Union-Easton.
However, it was what head coach Dane Cook saw on the defensive side of the ball has him concerned about Friday’s season opener against Pacheco in Memorial Stadium.
“Offensively, we did well,” Cook said. “I thought our offensive line played well. Maurice McClain ran well and we had a good running attack. Quarterback Jonah Johnson did well running the ball. Defensively, we did not so well. We have a lot of work to do.”
Cook, in his third year at the helm, is trying to get his players ready and saw plenty his team needs to work on during Thursday’s scrimmage with the Panthers.
“It wasn’t nice, but it was necessary,” he said. “They are a good program. A lot of it was just us. We have to be assignment sound and disciplined. We have guys freelancing and doing their own thing. Everyone has a role to play in defense. If they try to do too much, it doesn’t work too well. We had some guys show some great effort. We also have some guys not reading their keys or executing their assignment.”
After getting a victory over Madera South last season and playing tough in its playoff game, Cook is hoping to ride that momentum into this season.
“I don’t question our potential,” Cook said. “It’s where we’re at at the moment. We have the potential to do well. We have good guys coming up. Israel Estrada did well at linebacker. We have some kids coming up from the JV and have some holes to fill, mainly at linebacker.”
However, there are still the same problems Cook has had to face in this third season and is working on fixing the problem like getting kids to practice, getting them academically eligible and recruiting players from other sports.
“It’s a struggle,” he said. “We’ve had some kids quit or become ineligible. Some kids think they don’t have to work. We have a lot of things we’re battling. We don’t have guys buying into the multi-sport concept.”
Cook will not be getting a lot of sleep next week with concerns on his defense against a very offensively talented Pacheco team.
“It will be a great challenge,” Cook said. “They have a talented quarterback coming back, like our guy. They are a new program and we should be tested. Offensively, they should be very good and, defensively, we’re not where we want to be. We need to fix up our defense.”
However, Cook points to last season when the Stallions opened the year with a 51-28 loss to Chowchilla. However, the Stallions lost to the Redskins 27-20 in the Div. IV playoffs.
“I believe we’ll get there,” Cook said. ”We got better as the year went on. I think we have the talent to be competitive. We have some work to do, but we’ll get there. I don’t have a doubt about that.”