A look into Bearcats’ 2016 football season
Coming back from the 2015 season with a 5-6 record overall (2-2 in PAC 5), Varsity Football has returned to the gridiron in remarkable fashion, kicking off the 2016 season with a 5-0 show of power. Last season’s third place finish in PAC-5 feels a distant memory behind leadership of the team and it’s new offensive victories.
A 54 man roster, six returning offensive starters, five returning defensive starters, three new coaches and a new quarterback have dispatched the Lemoore Tigers 35-10, the Frontier Titans 51-33, the McClymonds Warriors 48-44, the Cajon Cowboys 31-28, and the Clovis North Broncos 24-7.
The Bearcats now stand at a national rank of 562 and California rank of 57, according to MaxPreps. They started the season at a national rank of 3,623 and state rank of 267.
Amid a winning record, some players feel this is the toughest competition this team has seen. However, the team has an array of tricks up their sleeves.
Three year varsity starter and running back senior Christian Erickson is one of them. The 5’11, 220 pound running back rushed and crushed 271 yards on 33 carries for five touchdowns in the McClymonds game.
For the past three years, Erickson has been the powerhouse of the team with a varsity career total of 43 touchdowns on 528 carries for an accumulated 3785 rushing yards.
In his first five games, Erickson has ran 651 yards on 106 carries for 11 rushing touchdowns and 13 total TDs this season.
Erickson will not be the only dominance on the field this season, as new quarterback and captain senior Steven Schouten has already proven he is worthy of the game. Schouten’s control of the offense and best game came during the Clovis North game where he went 13 for 15 for 184 yards with no interceptions or sacks. Schouten brings mobility at the QB position that Paso Robles hasn’t seen in a few years.
With Schouten in control of the ball, the previously power-run team now has a run pass option (RPO). This means the Bearcats follow a path of least resistance, giving Schouten the option to handoff, run, or pass the ball, depending on what the defense is doing—or getting beat at.
“It’s brand new [for us]. We were a power run team and ran the ball down people’s throat and this year we’re really spread out and run a lot of Run-Pass-Options (RPO). So every play we have an option to run the ball or throw it,” captain and middle linebacker senior Mark Armstrong said.
The new offensive language that comes along with RPO’s has tremendously aided the Bearcats. So far this season, the team has scored an accumulation of 189 points for an average 37.8 points a game, compared to last year where the team’s average score per game was 29.2.
Special Teams Kicker senior Jonathan “JJ” Jaimes and Punter junior Cade England have had major impacts on the team wins. Jaimes has been able to make 15 of his 16 PAT’s (points after touchdown) and has gone three for three on field goal attempts with one being 44 yards. England is leading the PAC-5 league in kickoffs with his nine touchbacks .
Bearcat defense has also played its role, including a goal line stand where the team stopped the Clovis North offense on the two yard line with 10 seconds left in the first half of the game.
“Recently we have made adjustments so that we are ready to go from the first snap and we have worked hard to make sure everyone is doing their job,” Armstrong said.
Another strength the team demonstrates is unity. “Everyone has bought into the program, we’re a lot closer, and there’s no egos on the field,” outside linebacker and senior Richard Goldammer said.