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Chace’s question: So as we begin to go deeper into our individual league previews and team outlooks, a few teams continue to be intriguing. One of these teams is Clayton Valley. Since winning seven games (and tying De La Salle) in 2004, the Eagles are just 16-17 over the past three seasons. That’s a lot of rebuilding. But now Clayton Valley is in a new league and it has a three-year starter at quarterback. So do the Eagles breakout of their funk of mediocrity in 2008?
Ben’s answer: It’s interesting how much a quarterback has to do with the success of a high school team. In this instance, I think Joey Levine has the key to the kingdom. Now, it’ll be what the rest of the team does around him that makes all the difference.
We know basically what Levine is capable of. He’ll provide great leadership in the huddle, make some plays and generally keep the Eagles in games. Now, last year, I only saw the Eagles once (Week Zero against a very, very good Burbank-Sacramento team) and I was struck with the need to get the ball to Keith Franklin more. I thought Franklin was one of the more explosive players in the area and I thought he needed to get the ball even more than he already did.
The question this year is who fills that role of gamebreaker that Franklin (now at Portland State) has vacated? Will it be his backfield mate last year, Dozie Iwuagwu? Or maybe their hammer, Vince Buhagiar (who, by the way, I would NOT want to go head up with)? Whoever it is, I think it is critical that the Eagles find a way to take the load off Levine a little.
I think Clayton Valley will be relatively strong in the trenches but that’s where the DVAL is going to be won and lost. Clayton can contend with a pro-style offense and a pro-style quarterback but they’re going to have to be able to match up physically with the rest of the league. There are a lot of questions but I think there is also a lot of potential. At the very least, the Eagles will be an interesting team to watch.