Ten Teams to Watch for 2015-16: Stagg football

Stagg's "Royal Rumblers" student section gets loud during last season. (CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD)

Welcome to my summer blog series, on 10 high school sports teams to watch from the area, looking ahead to the 2015-16 school year. These are not ranked, nor are they meant to exclude some other worthwhile teams, but to give a nod to those who will feature talented returners and more.

This, a look at the Delta Kings’ potentially resurgent football team, is the first of this ten-part series. These teams’ order was selected randomly. It’s not a ranking.

Here are some thoughts on Stagg, which hosts a loaded 7-on-7 tournament at 3 p.m. Friday. There’s also a lineman challenge at 4 p.m., and the 7-on-7 title game is at 9 p.m.

  • What a weird 2014: A season after going 10-2, winning the Tri-City Athletic League and earning the No. 2 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs, things started miserably for the Delta Kings. Six players were indefinitely suspended in the days leading up to a Week 0 date at Lincoln. Stagg also lost to American Canyon, but earned a win eventually via forfeit, as American Canyon had used ineligible players. And, though Fairfield cancelled a home game against Stagg due to weather, and refused to re-schedule it, the Delta Kings earned another forfeit win. Lavante Bushnell, Stagg’s junior quarterback, and a converted wide receiver, got better and better, and the Delta Kings beat Chavez 55-44 in Week 10 to earn an automatic playoff bid from the San Joaquin Athletic Association. As a reward? Stagg lost to No. 1 Folsom, the eventual section, NorCal and state champion, 70-14 in the first round.
  • Playmakers aplenty: With a confident, senior Bushnell leading the way, Stagg should put up even more points than it did in 2014. And that was a large number – 430 total and 39 per game. Bushnell will miss graduated wide receiver Lester Williams and linemen Tristen Taylor and Tyler Cornwell, but junior Cutrell Haywood, who will shine as a receiver and defensive back, as well as senior receiver Michael Thompson, will be instrumental. And, don’t forget a defensive leader returning: senior Jonathan Phillips, who had 112 total tackles.
  • Wide-open SJAA: Chavez was senior-heavy went it went 4-1 in the SJAA for an outright league championship last fall. The Titans lost quarterback Julius Davila, tailback Priest Jennings (first-team All-Area), key defensive backs Darryl Kapule and Sergio Fernandez , leading receiver Lamar Housely and tackles leader Tramaine Williams. So, that means high-flying Stagg, McNair and more have great shots at a league banner.
STAY TUNED: The rest of the Ten Teams to Watch list will roll on, continuing this week on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and next week from Monday through Friday as well.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

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Scorching Stockton: Ports on tear into All-Star break

In mid-May, the Ports couldn’t seem to find a consistent rhythm, or more importantly, a consistent way to win.

But while some teams swoon in June (see last year’s world champion San Francisco Giants), Stockton has been thriving in the summer heat.

The Ports (38-32) have won nine consecutive games, and 16 of 20 this month. Stockton has won some blowouts, but has also been victorious in three one-run games during its winning streak. A little luck is necessary to get rolling sometimes.

Stockton leadoff man Brett Vertigan, who joined the team well after the season began, is batting .337 with 17 extra-base hits, 27 RBI and a .400 on-base percentage. A perfect kick to the batting order. Franklin Barreto, the shortstop and the Oakland Athletics’ No. 2-rated prospect, has recovered from a miserable start. The 19-year-old Venezuelan is up to a .271 batting average, and has six homers and 30 RBI.

Matt Chapman, the Ports’ third baseman and the No. 3 A’s prospect, is slugging along, with 11 long bombs and 28 RBI. He’s got a ton of power, and a mid-level batting average (.244), so he seems like a prototypical Athletics power hitter.

Stockton’s starting pitching has improved, too, including team wins leader Dylan Covey (6-3, 3.16 earned run average), the Ports’ lone representative in the Cal League vs. Carolina League All-Star Game Tuesday in Rancho Cucamonga.

While the Ports were seemingly descending deeper into the North standings every day about a month ago, they finished the first half four games behind Visalia.

Perhaps another second-half divisional championship could be in the works? If this roster stays the same, manager Rick Magnante and company will be a confident bunch as Cal League play resumes Thursday in Lake Elsinore.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

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Full Offensive Statistical Breakdown: 42nd annual Lions All-Star Game

Eighty-nine points. Nine-hundred and forty yards.

That’s a sound summary of the 42nd annual District 4A-1 Lions All-Star Football game from Saturday in Tracy. The South won 51-38, as I wrote about here. Plus, I detailed how five of the North players were in their final game of pigskin.

Yet, here is your only full statistical offensive breakdown for both teams, with the players, their position and which high school they attended.

SOUTH

Passing

P.J. Wilson (Downey): 13 of 22, 166 yards, 2 TDs

Nate Phillips (Modesto): 12 of 20, 123 yards, 2 TDs, INT

Rushing

Nate Phillips (Modesto): 11 rush, 71 yards, TD

Justin Stefani (Buhach Colony): 9 rush, 67 yards, TD

Frankie Trent (Oakdale): 15 rush, 56 yards

P.J. Wilson (Downey): 8 rush, 37 yards

Dante Berggen (Waterford): 2 rush, 5 yards

Receiving

Damarrio Hammonds (Patterson): 7 rec., 114 yards, 2 TDs

Matt Vargas (Gregori): 3 rec., 49 yards, TD

Justin Stefani (Buhach Colony): 2 rec., 23 yards

Dante Berggen (Waterford): 5 rec., 21 yards

Jakob Magana (Downey): 1 rec., 19 yards, TD

Sean Bingham (Downey): 1 rec., 17 yards

Devondre Stendardo (Hughson): 2 rec., 16 yards

Josh Lowe (Downey): 2 rec., 13 yards, TD

P.J. Wilson (Downey): 1 rec., 11 yards

Nate Phillips (Modesto): 1 rec., 6 yards

On defense: Jakob Magana (Downey) – 2 INTs

NORTH

Passing

Julius Davila (Chavez): 10 of 17, 105 yards, TD, 2 INTs

Rushing

Nate Jones (Tracy): 7 rush, 125 yards, 2 TDs

Rashaad Cooper (Kimball): 8 rush, 101 yards, TD

Connor Hamilton (Calaveras): 16 rush, 56 yards, TD

Javonte Norman (St. Mary’s): 3 rush, 19 yards

Jake Alvarado (Tracy): 1 rush, 5 yards

Julius Davila (Chavez): 2 rush, 2 yards

Receiving

Hunter Johnson (Sierra): 3 rec., 25 yards, TD

Josh Clarke (Tracy): 2 rec., 24 yards

Nate Jones (Tracy): 1 rec., 23 yards

Rashaad Cooper (Kimball): 1 rec., 16 yards

Kahale Warring (Sonora): 1 rec., 10 yards

Sergio Fernandez (Chavez): 2 rec., 7 yards

On defense: Brandon Russell (Tracy) interception, Kiante Bell (Edison) fumble recovery

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

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Lions All-Star Football: Five Game Predictions

The Record's Thomas Lawrence predicts Jake Alvarado, 3, gets an interception in the 42nd annual District 4A-1 Lions All-Star Football Game Saturday in Tracy. RANDY ALLEN/RECORD FILE PHOTO

During football season I do weekly predictions for each game’s outcome from the area. The thing is, I have no clue what to expect from the South heading into the 42nd annual District 4A-1 Lions All-Star Football Game at 7 p.m. Saturday at Wayne Schneider Stadium in Tracy.

I know they’ll pass a lot — the coach is Modesto-Downey’s Jeremy Plaa, who said he runs what’s called an “air raid” offense — and I think both teams will score more than they did in last year’s 21-all tie.

However, this lack of familiarity with players from Stanislaus and Merced counties, for example, means I’m not going to predict an outcome.

I do, though, have five  predictions for this game.

Jake Alvarado will get an interception

The South quarterback, P.J. Wilson of Downey, had 34 touchdowns to just six interceptions last year. So he knows what he’s doing. But considering the volume he passes, Tracy graduate Jake Alvarado will get his hands on one. Alvarado led the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division I with nine picks last fall, and he’ll do it again on his home field.

Points, points, points

The South will score more than last year. As will the North. Chavez coach John Ward, also the North’s head coach, has his quarterback Julius Davila running his system. And talk about weapons. Sonora 6-foot-6 wideout Kahale Warring (San Diego State), Sierra’s 6-3 Hunter Johnson, a first-team All-Area receiver are big, strong targets. The backfield features versatility, speed and brute strength. And the offensive line features some mammoth, superb talents.

Minimal punting, minimal PATs

I don’t see a kicker on the North’s roster, and for good reason. I wouldn’t expect much punting — though the North does have our first-team All-Area punter in Bear Creek’s Craig Perkins — field goal tries or point-after attempts. Go for 2. Go for it on fourth down. Go for the win. I think Plaa and Ward will both embrace this.

Connor Hamilton will surprise some folks

Hamilton, a tailback from Calaveras, could have the stigma many small-school players do when they come down to a city for an all-star game. Can he hang with programs from schools with 2,000-plus kids? The North coaches certainly think so, and I’ll bet he provides some big first-down runs and a touchdown or two.

The North’s O-line will shine

Like I said, we talk about position players constantly, but this group is for real. Tracy’s Nate Brown, an NCAA Division I FBS recruit to Nevada, Reno, is on his home turf, and Stagg’s Tristen Taylor, a 6-7, 310-pound Eastern Washington commit, are for real. As are Stagg’s Tyler Cornwell, Manteca’s Darrell Clemons, Lincoln’s Keilen Mocencio and Sonora’s Zerek Saldivar.

Running the ball will be that much easier for Hamilton, Tracy’s Nate Jones and Kimball’s Rashaad Cooper.

2015 LIONS NORTH ROSTER

Jake Alvarado, Tracy, DB

Nate Brown, Tracy, OL

Josh Clarke, Tracy, WR/DB

Labron (LJ) Alofaituli, Sierra, LB

Kiante Bell, Edison, DB

Darrell Clemons, Manteca, OL

Rashaad Cooper, Kimball, RB

Tyler Cornwell, Stagg, OL

Julius Davila, Chavez, QB

Sergio Fernandez, Chavez, DB

Connor Hamilton, Calaveras, RB

Hunter Johnson, Sierra, WR

Nate Jones, Tracy, RB

Bradley Kazmierczak, Tokay, LB

Hawaii Leaf A Teao, Lathrop, LB

Dustin Littlefield, Amador, DL

Steven Martinez, Manteca, OL/DL

Keilen Mocencio, Lincoln, C

Javonte Norman, St. Mary’s, DB

Craig Perkins, Bear Creek, DB/P

Brandon Russell, Tracy, LB

Zerek Saldivar, Sonora, OL

Tristen Taylor, Stagg, OL

Tyler Cornwell, Stagg, OL

Jacob Wall, Tokay, OL

Kahale Warring, Sonora, WR

Ja’Quan Williams, Edison, LB

LIONS BLOG COVERAGE

My take on the North’s defense

My take on the North’s offense

Five potential North Offensive, Defensive MVPs

LIONS COVERAGE VIA RECORDNET.COM

Tracy legend Schneider remembers Lions game origins

North coach Ward enjoying football, life journey

Small-town players bring football pride to North Lions team

Lions North defense learning quickly, together

North quarterback, coach sync up one last time; offense explosive, eclectic

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

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Lions All-Star Football: Potential North Offensive, Defensive MVPs

Tracy running back Nate Jones (left) is a viable candidate for Lions All-Star Game Offensive MVP Saturday at his home Wayne Schneider Stadium. RECORD FILE PHOTO

Trying to figure out who might be the MVP of an All-Star Game is migraine-inducing. After all, many of these guys are MVP-caliber. That’s why they’re on the roster.

Yet, here are my handful of players who might be leading candidates from the North — I’m not yet familiar enough with the South to say anything about their prospects definitively — entering the 42nd annual District 4A-1 game at 7 p.m. Saturday at Wayne Schneider Stadium in Tracy.

Here are the North’s:

OFFENSE

Julius Davila (Chavez, QB)

Davila is not only the starting quarterback, and thus always a sound MVP candidate, but was quarterback at Chavez where North coach John Ward runs the program. Plus, 35 touchdown passes and 4,000 yards over two varsity seasons speak for themselves. The kid can sling it a little bit.

Nate Jones (Tracy, RB)

Jones, a two-time All-Area first team selection, is going to be the fastest person on the field, and one of the most dynamic. Some of Tracy’s athletes are forced into similar plays in a veer offense, that’s just the nature of the system, so I’m excited to see what Jones can do in a spread. As my friend Black Hat Football once said, Jones is the perfect candidate to run a little wheel route to give him miles of open space.

Connor Hamilton (Calaveras, RB)

Hamilton is no joke, the North’s coaches have said all week. There’s a reason he ran for over 1,400 yards with 21 touchdowns last year. The Redskins’ graduating senior was a beast from the Mother Lode League, and should split touches with Tracy’s Jones and Kimball’s Rashaad Cooper.

Rashaad Cooper (Kimball, RB)

Speaking of Cooper, the man who rushed for four touchdowns in a single game against small-school titan Central Catholic, he must be included here. I think the North will use all of its tailbacks, and thus, who knows who’ll break off a huge play or two and earn Offensive MVP honors? It’s quite possible.

Kahale Warring (Sonora, WR)

Warring is monstrously tall and muscular, and considering how great of an end zone target he could be for Davila, I have to include him on this list.

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DEFENSE

Jake Alvarado (Tracy, S)

Alvarado is like a heat-seeking missile finding any football in the air. He led Sac-Joaquin Section large schools with nine interceptions last year, and is a great late addition for the North. He’s also a versatile tool on offense, and could be used there as well.

Trevon McCray (Sierra, LB)

McCray, a beastly middle linebacker, is the hardest hitter on this defense and could be good for 20-plus sackles and a sack or two against Downey quarterback P.J. Wilson and the South’s offense.

Bradley Kazmierczak (Tokay, LB)

Kazmierczak is in his final football game Saturday, before he heads to the Marine Corps. Somebody with no tomorrow (for his career) could be a very dangerous football player.

Kiante Bell (Edison, CB)

Bell, one of the most underrated players in the area, could be a lockdown corner or pick off a poorly-thrown deep ball.

Javonte Norman (St. Mary’s, CB)

Same goes for the lightning-quick Norman, who’s also a capable wide receiver. One of the best cover corners in the area if not the section last year.

2015 LIONS NORTH ROSTER

Jake Alvarado, Tracy, DB

Josh Clarke, Tracy, WR/DB

Labron (LJ) Alofaituli, Sierra, LB

Kiante Bell, Edison, DB

Darrell Clemons, Manteca, OL

Rashaad Cooper, Kimball, RB

Tyler Cornwell, Stagg, OL

Julius Davila, Chavez, QB

Sergio Fernandez, Chavez, DB

Connor Hamilton, Calaveras, RB

Hunter Johnson, Sierra, WR

Nate Jones, Tracy, RB

Bradley Kazmierczak, Tokay, LB

Hawaii Leaf A Teao, Lathrop, LB

Dustin Littlefield, Amador, DL

Steven Martinez, Manteca, OL/DL

Keilen Mocencio, Lincoln, C

Javonte Norman, St. Mary’s, DB

Craig Perkins, Bear Creek, DB/P

Brandon Russell, Tracy, LB

Zerek Saldivar, Sonora, OL

Tristen Taylor, Stagg, OL

Jacob Wall, Tokay, OL

Kahale Warring, Sonora, WR

Ja’Quan Williams, Edison, LB

LIONS BLOG COVERAGE

My take on the North’s defense

My take on the North’s offense

LIONS COVERAGE VIA RECORDNET.COM

Tracy legend Schneider remembers Lions game origins

North coach Ward enjoying football, life journey

Small-town players bring football pride to North Lions team

Lions North defense learning quickly, together

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

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New coach ready to go

Pacific women’s basketball head coach Bradley Davis is in the big office now.

Davis occupied a smaller office inside the Pacific Intercollegiate Athletics building during his nine years under Lynne Roberts, now the head coach at Utah. The walls are sparsely decorated, as Davis settles into his new digs with new duties. Fortunately, he has a veteran core of players to help the transition.

“I’m really excited about our returners with Hailie Eackles and Erin Butler returning as fifth-year seniors,” Davis said. “The maturity they will bring is exciting for me.”

The Tigers will have seven players with considerable experience, which should help compensate for the loss of graduated seniors Kendall Kenyon, Madison Parrish and Kristina Johnson.

Davis said St. Mary’s product Unique Coleman is recovering nicely from a knee injury she suffered late last season. Coleman, who will be a junior, was establishing herself as a standout contributor before she was injured. Desire Finnie, Najah Queenland, Emily Simons and GeAnna Luaulu-Summers will be back, as well.

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Lions All-Star Football: The North’s Offense

Chavez High quarterback Julius Davila fires a pass against Sierra last fall. (CALIXTRO ROMIAS/THE RECORD)

Having too many weapons is a good problem to have. And that can be said about the North’s offense.

The 2015 District 4A-1 Lions North Football All-Stars have talent from Stockton, Tracy, Manteca, San Andreas and Sonora. They’ve got a sizable, menacing offensive line. And North coach John Ward, from Chavez, has his quarterback Julius Davila from the Titans leading the way.

Davila is the main quarterback on the new roster, one which no longer includes Tokay’s Grayson Dillon or Edison’s Sean Buligon, but there are those like Bear Creek’s Craig Perkins who have quarterback experience if necessary.

With that in mind, here’s how I’d construct the offense. Ward said today he runs a hybrid West Coast offense. It’s an iteration of a shotgun spread.

QUARTERBACK

Julius Davila (Chavez)

Davila, a solid pocket quarterback, threw for 2,134 yards and 17 touchdowns, with six interceptions, for the San Joaquin Athletic Association-champion Titans. Look out for streaks and deep posts in the end zone to the North’s tall, talented wide receivers.

TAILBACKS

Nate Jones (Tracy)

Jones, a first-team All-Area fullback, was a late addition to the roster but a monumental one. He’s one of the smartest and fastest players on the field, and rushed for 1,353 yards and 18 touchdowns in a slightly-injury shortened senior year. It’ll be an adjustment to Tracy’s under-center, veer offense, but something tells me Jones will handle it.

Connor Hamilton (Calaveras)

Hamilton, who can take a hit and keep on rolling, comes from the Redskins’ power, under-center offense, so he can adjust with Jones. He ran for over 1,400 yards and 21 touchdowns, and Ward says he’ll see plenty of action.

Rashaad Cooper (Kimball)

It’s hard to pick just two of these tailbacks. Cooper, a Dartmouth College player to-be, has great field vision. He was good enough to cash in four rushing touchdowns against three-time defending state champion Central Catholic. Kimball ran a Wing-T, so again, another running back, another adjustment to make.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Hunter Johnson (Sierra)

Johnson, a first-team All-Area wide receiver, does everything for an offense: He’s just as valuable blocking defensive backs as he is as a wide reciever. He’s got speed, great hands and an ability to make a catch and get popped. Though considering he’s a Cal Maritime Academy basketball commit, I’m guessing that program’s coach, St. Mary’s grad Bryan Rooney, hopes he doesn’t take too many hits.

Kahale Warring (Sonora)

As Sonora is out of our coverage area, I hadn’t seen Warring until attending Lions practice Tuesday and Wednesday. And wow – built like a grown man, with better height, I’m guessing, than anybody who can try and cover him for the South. Something tells me he’ll have a big impact on this game.

LINEMEN

Darrell Clemons (Manteca)

Clemons, an All-Area selection with Lions and Manteca teammate Steven Martinez, brings a trustworthy force to protecting Davila and company.

Tristen Taylor (Stagg)

Taylor may be the best offensive lineman in San Joaquin County. The Eastern Washington commit is 6-7, 310 pounds, and a two-time All-Area first team selection.

Tyler Cornwell (Stagg)

Cornwell, a teammate of Taylor and another capable big body, may factor in on the offensive line or on the defensive line. I believe I saw him taking snaps on the defensive side in Wednesday’s practice.

Keilen Mocencio (Lincoln)

Mocencio is the North team’s starting center. His communication and rapport with Davila will go a long way in deciding how this offense fares.

Nate Brown (Tracy)

Brown, another first-team All-Area member, was a consistent force for the section runner-up Bulldogs. Last I heard, he may be going to play for Nevada, Reno, alma mater of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

2015 LIONS NORTH ROSTER

Jake Alvarado, Tracy, DB

Josh Clarke, Tracy, WR/DB

Labron (LJ) Alofaituli, Sierra, LB

Kiante Bell, Edison, DB

Darrell Clemons, Manteca, OL

Rashaad Cooper, Kimball, RB

Tyler Cornwell, Stagg, OL

Julius Davila, Chavez, QB

Sergio Fernandez, Chavez, DB

Connor Hamilton, Calaveras, RB

Hunter Johnson, Sierra, WR

Nate Jones, Tracy, RB

Bradley Kazmierczak, Tokay, LB

Hawaii Leaf A Teao, Lathrop, LB

Dustin Littlefield, Amador, DL

Steven Martinez, Manteca, OL/DL

Keilen Mocencio, Lincoln, C

Javonte Norman, St. Mary’s, DB

Craig Perkins, Bear Creek, DB/P

Brandon Russell, Tracy, LB

Zerek Saldivar, Sonora, OL

Tristen Taylor, Stagg, OL

Jacob Wall, Tokay, OL

Kahale Warring, Sonora, WR

Ja’Quan Williams, Edison, LB

LIONS COVERAGE VIA RECORDNET.COM

Tracy legend Schneider remembers Lions game origins

North coach Ward enjoying football, life journey

Small-town players bring football pride to North Lions team

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

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Lions All-Star Football: The North’s Defense

Sierra High linebacker Trevon McCray (far right) will be pivotal in the Lions North All-Star defense. (CALIXTRO ROMIAS/THE RECORD)

Welcome to this week’s blog coverage of the 42nd annual District 4A-1 Lions All-Star Football Game, to be played at 7 p.m. Saturday at Tracy High’s Wayne Schneider stadium. I’ll be covering the North squad all week, which is staying at Pacific and practicing at Stagg High, and includes players from Stockton, Lodi, Tracy, Manteca, Lathrop, Sutter Creek, San Andreas and Sonora.

The South squad includes players from Modesto,  Turlock, Oakdale, Hughson, Atwater, Los Banos, Patterson, Waterford and Mariposa. For coverage of the South team, follow our friend James Burns of The Modesto Bee on Twitter @jburns1980.

For my first blog coverage (Record story links are included below) I’ll dive into the North’s defense. Now, coach John Ward — the Chavez High leader of five seasons — is not one to divulge any extra information the week of a game. So, asking him how he’s assembling his offense and defense will only yield so much.

What I’ve done, is taken the roster (also below) and assembled what I’d do with a starting D.

NOTE: Some of these players in my hypothetical lineup I comment on more than others. This is either because I saw them play more and am more familiar with their abilities, or I just have something more specific to say. It is not my subtle way of ranking them, I promise you.

MY NORTH DEFENSE

LINEMEN

Labron (LJ) Alofaituli (Sierra)

Alofaituli, though listed as a linebacker, is 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, and is needed on the line. This team has more linebackers than defensive linemen.

Steven Martinez (Manteca)

Martinez is a solid pick to be an inside defensive tackle in a 3-4 scheme (which is what I’d run with this roster, three linemen, four linebackers), at 5-11, 290 pounds.

Dustin Littlefield (Amador)

Littlefield, listed at 6-3, 215 on MaxPreps and 6-2, 225 on the North roster, is built like a 30-year-old. He’s battling a hip injury, so defensive end isn’t his natural position, but he’s got the natural build to make up for it.

LINEBACKERS

Trevon McCray (Sierra)

McCray, the Valley Oak League’s Defensive MVP, is an absolute masher inside. He’s the type of tackler to de-cleat even the sturdiest of runners.

Brandon Russell (Tracy)

Russell, a two-time reigning All-Area first-team linebacker, is a solid hybrid linebacker that can protect runs to the outside and screens, and drop into coverage when he needs to. Play him on the outside with guys like McCray in the middle.

Ja’Quan Williams (Edison)

Williams provides strength at 6-foot, 215, and was one of several underrated seniors on a Vikings team that struggled. In fact, Edison coach Andre Horace often called him the heart and soul of his team.

Bradley Kazmierczak (Tokay)

Kazmierczak, at 5-9, 180, was a consistent tackler for the Tigers and a good choice to be another outside ‘backer with Tracy’s Russell.

ALSO: At inside linebacker, Lathrop’s Hawaii Leaf A Teao is a good choice. I haven’t seen Sonora’s Serge (Billy) Kiriluk but at 5-10, 220, and on a good team, he’s in Stockton for a reason.

SECONDARY

Jake Alvarado (Tracy)

Alvarado is a (very) late addition to this final 27-man roster, which used to be 30, but could be one of the smartest choices made. He led Div. I with nine interceptions, and was a monster on defense, offense and special teams for section runner-up Tracy.

He’s a good choice at either safety spot.

Kiante Bell (Edison)

Bell, like Williams, incredibly underrated, is headed to play NCAA Division II football at Chadron State in Nebraska, along with Chavez grad Priest Jennings. And Bell should see heavy time at cornerback.

Javonte Norman (St. Mary’s)

Norman was one of the best cover corners in the area, if not the section, and has the foot speed to run a 21.54-second time in the 200-meter dash this spring. This secondary is beastly with guys like him.

Also at cornerback: Chavez’s Sergio Fernandez, a leader who knows Ward’s system well, could easily be a starting cornerback, too.

PUNTER/UTILITY

Craig Perkins (Bear Creek)

Perkins was The Record’s first-team All-Area punter, but can also pitch in as a safety, as a quarterback, as a running back and more. Look for him to do a variety of things on this team, even though most players will have one responsibility.

2015 LIONS NORTH ROSTER

Jake Alvarado, Tracy, DB

Labron (LJ) Alofaituli, Sierra, LB

Kiante Bell, Edison, DB

Darrell Clemons, Manteca, OL

Rashaad Cooper, Kimball, RB

Tyler Cornwell, Stagg, OL

Julius Davila, Chavez, QB

Demetrius Ferguson, St. Mary’s, WR

Sergio Fernandez, Chavez, DB

Connor Hamilton, Calaveras, RB

Hunter Johnson, Sierra, WR

Nate Jones, Tracy, RB

Bradley Kazmierczak, Tokay, LB

Serge (Billy) Kiriluk, Sonora, LB

Hawaii Leaf A Teao, Lathrop, LB

Dustin Littlefield, Amador, DL

Steven Martinez, Manteca, OL/DL

Keilen Mocencio, Lincoln, C

Javonte Norman, St. Mary’s, DB

Craig Perkins, Bear Creek, DB/P

Brandon Russell, Tracy, LB

Zerek Saldivar, Sonora, OL

Tristen Taylor, Stagg, OL

Jacob Wall, Tokay, OL

Kahale Warring, Sonora, WR

Ja’Quan Williams, Edison, LB

LIONS COVERAGE VIA RECORDNET.COM

Tracy legend Schneider remembers Lions game origins

North coach Ward enjoying football, life journey

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

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Tiger still has his stripes

On Tuesday, former Pacific men’s basketball standout Christian Maraker partipated in open gym at Janssen-Lagorio Gymnasium on campus.

The 6-foot-9 Swede has played professionally overseas for nine seasons, most recently in his native country. Maraker helped the Tigers reach the NCAA tournament three consecutive seasons during his tenure from 2002-06. He averaged 17.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game and was the 2005-06 Big West Conference Player of the Year.

“I miss this place,” Maraker said during a break in the action. “That’s why I’m back here.”

Maraker spent some time offering tips to Pacific senior Eric Thompson, who figures to anchor the Tigers inside game this season.

Maraker’s stay in Stockton will be brief. He’ll soon head back to his home in San Diego and contemplate his next move. He’d like to continue playing basketball, perhaps returning to Japan where he played from 2009-11 for Rera Kamuy Hokkaido. Maraker also has played for teams in Sweden, Slovenia and Spain.

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Tigers’ open gym

Some members of the Pacific men’s basketball now are attending summer school and competing in open gym and several others will join the team later this month for workouts until mid-July.

David Taylor is with the Under-20 German National Team, which played Poland on Monday, T.J. Wallace is one of four students attending a conference of West Coast Conference presidents and athletic directors in Southern California, and incoming signees Anthony Towne, Maleke Haynes and Long Beach State transfer Jack Williams, who must sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA rules, are expected to be with the team shortly. Samy Eleraky is with the Tigers now and will play with the Danish National Team this summer.

“The guys are working really hard,” said coach Ron Verlin, whose team went 12-19 overall and 4-14 in the WCC, which tied Loyola Marymount for the worst conference record. “We’ll have a solid group of guys.”

Tonko Vuko looked impressive Tuesday in open gym. The 6-foot-7 forward from Split, Croatia, can stroke the ball from the outside and is smooth and athletic. Senior Eric Thompson also looked good at the power forward spot. D.J. Ursery, who was academically ineligible last season, and Raymond Bowles looked stronger and much improved.

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    Bob Highfill

    Bob Highfill has been with The Record sports department since 1990. He started as a part-time reporter/agate clerk then covered the high school sports beat before taking on the Pacific athletics beat. In 2006, he was named sports editor. Bob was ... Read Full

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    Linesburgh has been a member of The Record's sports department since 1988. A native of Wantagh, N.Y., he has covered the Stockton Thunder hockey franchise since its inception in 2005 and has spent more than two decades reporting on motorsports and ... Read Full

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    Lawrence became a prep and general assignment sports reporter for The Record in August 2014. He has covered high school, college and professional sports and more in his career. From November of 2011 through summer 2014, he covered college and prep ... Read Full
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