Antioch, Deer Valley football preview before tonight’s season openers

“I think we’re solid all the way around,” – Antioch Head Coach John Lucido

“We see ourselves as underdogs,” – Deer Valley Head Coach Robert Hubbard

By Jesus Cano

With their first games tonight, Liberty at Antioch and Deer Valley at Heritage take a look at the two teams, key players and their prospects for the shortened, 5-game season. (See full schedule, below)

Antioch High Panthers

After going 1-5 to begin the 2019 season, the Panthers needed to do something different on offense. That’s when the coaching staff decided to incorporate the Wing-T offense. It quickly changed Antioch’s offensive production. The Panthers went from averaging 79 rushing yards per game, to finishing the season with three straight games of 300 plus yards.

Head coach John Lucido said that the team has really liked that style of play and it has been an easy offense to keep around given the limited time the team’s had back on the field.

It’s easy to install, and to get you you only have three weeks to really put stuff in,” Lucido said. “We already had it in the blocking. So, we just kind of built off of that. We don’t want to confuse the kids and try to make things as simple as possible.”

Antioch is a young team. Out of the roster of 41 players, only eight are seniors. Running backs Jaysn Wade and Dwight Turner graduated but Lucido highlighted Dervon “Wu” Fryerson and Jorge Hernandez deal with most of the carries.

And while Antioch has a run-oriented offense, Lucido said quarterback Rocco Borelli will still have the opportunity to throw the ball plenty of times to receiver Charles Lindsey, Jr. Borrelli managed to throw for 976 yards in the 2019 season.

“We have different formations where we could run and throw out of it,” Lucido said. “So, you’ll see and throw the ball quite a bit. Try to have a lot of one-on-one matchups and kind of take what the defense gives us so we’re not one dimensional.”

But Antioch’s offensive line does not carry as much experience as opposed to other areas on the team, but Lucido emphasized how much this unit – featuring Daniel Johnson, Siaka Tonga,Sione Fetulimoeata and Ben Ulufaleilupe – has improved a lot over the past weeks.

Antioch will have a lot of two-way starters on the line, but defensive end Jailen Weaver will play a big role on defense and has the ability to move anywhere. The senior committed to Nebraska earlier this year.

Versatility is one of Antioch’s strengths according to Lucido. Even Borrelli – the quarterback – will also play linebacker but, will be rotating with starter Cameron Wright – who saw a lot of playing time last season.

Fryerson, Hernandez and Lindsey will also play defensive back for the Panthers.

“I think we’re solid all the way around,” Lucido said. “I think it’s a good team. I think they play together. They want to play together, if that’s our strength. It’s we’ve had talent in the past, and maybe they weren’t to get so close as a team. But these guys even with this pandemic going on are so close together as a team.”

Deer Valley Wolverines

As Deer Valley takes the field for practice, there is always one phrase senior captain Bryson Parker echoes to his team.

“Ain’t nobody ever gave me nothing,” he said.

The team always roars back with the same energy Parker brings out.

“And that’s kind of our motto, we see ourselves as underdogs,” Deer Valley head coach Robert Hubbard said. “We see ourselves as a team that has locked that grind and that’s gonna have to fight for anything we get. Literally take any yard, any when we got to go out and take it’s not gonna be given to us.”

Last season, in the fall of 2019 the Wolverines struggled with roster numbers. Sometimes, the team had just the minimum amount of players to suit the field, resulting in a 0-10 season.

Suiting up players on game day should not be an issue for Deer Valley at the varsity level this year. Hubbard – the 2019 BVAL fall coach of the year – said the Wolverines have between 35 to

40 players on the varsity roster this season, but there is no JV or freshman team this year for Deer Valley. Instead, players from all levels will be on the varsity roster.

“We’re going to suit up everybody,” Hubbard said. “But legitimately varsity players will probably only have about 22-24 guys this year.”

Reggie Hill will be the quarterback for the Wolverines this year. He should be seen as a dual-threat option considering he was one of DV’s key running backs from last season. He’ll have Parker and Richard Felder to connect with.

With Hill throwing the rock, Hubbard said he has talented players that will be playing the running back positions by committee. Sophomore Cameron Clanton is a player that Hubbard is really excited about that can also play defense. Ahmad Woodard and Kamel Jones are also going to contribute at running back according to Hubbard.

Hubbard also said the Wolverines’ offensive line is one of the most exciting parts of their roster, with Keion Vinson anchoring the way and Josiah Barnett playing a big role.

Defensively, many of these players will be playing on both sides of the ball according to Hubbard, Parker is a player that can excel at any of his positions. He is expected to have a big bounce back season after suffering injuries last season.

“He’s the one that leads the show for us,” Hubbard said. “If he’s out there now he’s going to be explosive he’s going to be exciting to watch on both sides of the ball.”

Annual Mayor’s Cup Game

Deer Valley will host Antioch on Friday, April 2 in the crosstown Mayor’s Cup game.

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