Righetti Football: Warriors, the last field team to start, have talent, depth and confidence this spring | Local sports

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Righetti will start the football season this spring as the last team in the region.

The Warriors, who were due to begin their season in Arroyo Grande on March 19th, will host Paso Robles on Friday night in their first game of a unique spring season. The kick-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Righetti’s original first game was postponed on March 16 after multiple COVID-19 cases were discovered in the program. A mandatory 10-day quarantine was put in place, forcing Righetti to postpone his schedule and postpone his first two games.

Santa Maria High was the only Santa Maria Joint Union High School that started its season on time. Pioneer Valley went into quarantine shortly after Righetti and started its season with a win over Mission Prep on Wednesday night. Santa Maria started its season on March 19 with a win at Morro Bay.

The first home game for SMJUHSD was the Pioneer Valley game this week. Santa Maria has its first home game against Atascadero on Friday evening at 6 p.m.

Righetti went 7-4 last year, a solid record that belies his 6-0 start.

Coach Tony Payne says Chris Miller, Ryan Boivin and Xavier Zaragoza were some of the key members of the team who had to move up during this uncertain season.

Zaragoza leads into the trenches

Payne was high on the role of Zaragoza, who will be the focus on offense and possibly nose protection on defense.

“Ryan Boivin, Chris Miller and 100% Xavier Zaragoza have pretty much taken the lead over the past few months,” said Payne. “Some of our guys were doing tracks and training in other things, so these guys really got up to speed.”

“Last year the captains were great guys and I wanted to leave my mark too,” said Zaragoza. “People lost their faith and I kept coming back in and telling the boys to keep the faith.”

Zaragoza was run by his parents, he said.

“My parents are hard workers, they are leaders themselves,” he said. “They’ve definitely put that on me since I was young. I’ve tried to be a role model for my younger cousins ​​and little sister.”

Zaragoza says the offensive is strong this season, with Brayan Soriano, Kyle Sogge and Tyler Spencer holding key positions.

“We’ll be doing it week by week but the AG and St. Joe games will be fun, we like these rivalry games,” said Zaragoza.

Miller, Cuevas take over QB position

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During a pre-season training session last month before the team went into quarantine, Miller and Joaquin Cuevas did reps on the quarterback. They are both juniors. Miller has made a contribution to the varsity level since his freshman season playing receiver and safety. He’ll be playing multiple positions this spring and is also a pitcher on the baseball team who threw a shutout against Santa Maria last weekend while hitting 10 bats.

Miller says he and Cuevas pushed each other for quarterback with a small competition.

“I’m very excited to be competing with him because he’s a great competitor,” said Miller. “We were able to keep our friendship and still compete. It’s great to compete against someone like him.”

The Warriors have taken advantage of the Double Wing offensive under Payne, with quarterback Logan Mortensen leading the scheme for the past two seasons. Mortensen has now graduated.

Warriors have some chemistry

Although the team has some younger key players, there is some serious chemistry and experience. Boivin is one of those seasoned players who joined college late in his freshman season.

“This team has become family to me, so it’s different when it’s so personal,” Boivin said during a training session last month. “The wait was difficult because we had ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and ‘I-don’t-know’ week after week. But we stuck together and there was no doubt that we will do it this spring. “

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Boivin says the team is definitely “broken and definitely pulling together. There is no doubt that we all have our backs. When times get tough, we are there for each other.”

Boivin is the leader on the defensive and will play any of the linebacking positions. The unit has some large holes with the exits from Joseph Cardenas and Jordan Fields.

“We have some good young people in the middle and Matt Simms on the other,” said Boivin.

Simms is a 1.80 m tall, 180 kg senior.

Another veteran is Senior Kidasi Nepa, a running back. Nepa has stormed 1,555 yards in 159 career carries and scored 16 dazzling touchdowns in two university seasons. He has also caught 15 passes for 263 yards and four more touchdowns. He can also play in defense, where he made 29 tackles and intercepted two passes last year.

Payne said his coaching staff deserve a lot of credit for addressing all of the issues that have emerged during this pandemic.

“My coaches, who have families and almost all of the off-campus jobs, have been showing up since September,” Payne said. “I can’t say enough how much I appreciate that. Even in really scary times, these guys have turned up every day. I respect that so much.”

The coaching staff consists of Payne, Jacob Lombard, Jeff Almaguer, Jeff Persson, Shawn Ramirez, Chito Armenta, Ernie Garcia and Willie McCormack.


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