There are 92 days until Bronco football kicks off this fall on August 30 — a home game against a tough team from Santa Barbara, Laguna Blanca. Head Coach Andrew Crosby and Offensive Coordinator Charlie Casale have justifiably high hopes for the season based on returning experienced players with proven football talent.
One robust reason for the coaches’ 2019 optimism is the team’s host of talented returners.
At the top of that list is senior quarterback/kicker Emany Plasencia, who is expected to bring his explosive running game, passing skills, leadership and extraordinary talent as a kicker. The three-sport standout demonstrated those skills on the national stage in January when he placed first among all California high school kickers, and third among 400 high school kickers nationwide, in kickoffs at the Kohl’s Kicking Camp in Florida.
He hammered a kickoff 80 yards in the competition. Plasencia also placed fourth in field goals in that competition (booting a 60-yarder).
Broncos coaches didn’t attempt many field goals last season, but Plasencia gave the team a lift in the great majority of kickoffs, sailing the ball well over the endline, forcing opponents to start from the 15-yard line rather than having a chance to run the ball back.
Some of his kickoffs actually split the uprights of the goal posts.
“If the situation arises, we will kick a field goal,” Casale said. “Emany is an outstanding kicker, but you need an excellent snap, a perfect hold and solid protection up front.”
Another reason for optimism is the “very experienced” offensive line, which Casale calls “a great foundation.”
He added: “We will have great running backs and receivers.”
Junior Cristian Castillo is certainly among those receivers Casale alludes to. Castillo made numerous outstanding receptions last season, including some acrobatic grabs to keep drives alive. Emi Pena, who will be a sophomore, switched on occasion with Plasencia at the quarterback position in 2018 and showed competence in that role.
“Our coaching staff has spent a lot of time in the offseason preparing for this year,” Casale said. “We will continue to expand our offense/defense with players playing multiple positions to create depth and to make it hard for defenses to key on us.”
Crosby noted that the team has “five seniors on the team that have stuck with the game since they were freshmen. The previous two seasons we had only one senior that played all four years.”
He added: “Really excited about this upcoming season… our guys are hungry for football.”
This past Tuesday (May 28), spring football practice began at Coast Union. Meantime, one day each week during the summer, Bronco players will hit the weight room in the mornings and will be on the field working on fundamentals each evening.
Aug. 30: Laguna Blanca
Sept. 7: at Trinity Christian
Sept. 13: Riverdale Christian
Sept. 20: at Kings Christian
Sept. 27: Frazier Mountain
Oct. 5: at Crystal Springs Uplands
Oct. 11: at Maricopa
Oct. 18: Cuyama Valley
Oct. 25: at Valley Christian Academy