30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 17): Healing On The Hill

Just a little more than three months ago, the Miramonte football program was in serious limbo after Coach John Wade announced he was going to be stepping down. However, the tragic passing of student (and football player) Joe Loudon brought the coach back into the fold in order to help the healing process. The 2009 Matadors baseball team (comprised of several football players) powered through the grieving period to take home an NCS Division III championship, and our question for today is:

What should be expected of Wade’s Matadors this season?

First of all, Miramonte should be fairly loaded at the skill positions. The team returns both it’s leading rusher (Kevin Paulsen) and leading receiver (James King) from 2008. King, who already has scholarship offers from Navy and UNLV, is likely to be a factor on both sides of the ball as Wade will do everything he can to make use of one of his best athletes.

P.J. Gabrielli and Jimmy Miller will steady the middle of the defense at linebacker, as the Matadors are likely to have a pretty solid back seven. It will be the lines, both defensive and offensive, that will deal with the biggest learning curves.

The other big question mark for the Matadors right now is who will be distributing the ball to both King and Paulsen. The quarterback battle is between sophomore quarterback Ross Anderson, and junior signal-caller Brett Collins.

“Both guys are good at certain things and need work at certain things,” Wade said in a recent interview. “I’m not sure how it’s going to pan out. They are both dealing with the speed of the game, and it’s pretty even right now.”

Miramonte will be the favorite in its first two games of the season, hosting Antioch on Sept. 4 and going to San Marin on Sept. 12. The Matadors first big test will come in on Sept. 19 when they head to Seattle to take on Glacier Peak (5-5 in 2008) at Memorial Stadium. Miramonte then comes home to finish its nonleague schedule by hosting Foothill on Sept. 25. Coming out of that stretch 3-1 would certainly have the Matadors looking like serious DFAL title contenders.

Chace Bryson