High School Sports

Mission Prep High School football out to defend league title, avenge early playoff exit

jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Mission Prep head coach Chad Henry implemented a more pass-orientated offense last year to take advantage of the arm of then junior quarterback Bryce Fledderman. It worked, as the Royals went 4-0 in the Northern League.

It will likely be more of the same with Fledderman entering his senior season.

Coming off it’s first-ever league title, expect Mission Prep to sling it all over the field with an exciting group of athletes at the skill positions in the hopes of again competing for a title.

A cause some concern, however, is a small offensive line, an inexperienced defense and a lack of depth.

“Our first eight players can compete with anybody, but then it drops off pretty quick,” Henry said of a program with just 34 players total and no junior varsity. “We have to stay healthy.”

Mission Prep at a glance

2015 record: 8-3 overall, 4-0 Northern League

Mission Prep’s convincing win over Nipomo was a high point of the season. The win finally got the program over the hump in its second season playing in the Northern League. But the season ended sooner than expected when the Royals gave up a 14-point halftime lead against Aquinas in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Northwest Division playoffs.

Key Departures

Patrick Miller (WR/LB), Conrad Ochotorena (DL), Sal La Casto (TE/LB), Christian Harvey (WR), Jacob Wright (DL)

With the departure of Miller, who is now playing at UC Davis, Mission Prep loses its emotional and receiving leader and second best tackler from 2015. Ochotorena and Harvey combined for 14 sacks and Harvey had more than 400 yards and four touchdowns.

Key Returners

Bryce Fledderman (QB, Sr.), Brayden Corona (RB/WR, Sr.), Angel Sanchez (WR/DB, Sr.), Joseph Miller (WR/DB, Jr.), Timmy Miller (WR/DB, Jr.), Robert Crandall (OL/DL, Sr.)

Fledderman’s impact is obvious. The Royals will go as he does. In Corona, the Royals return last year’s Northern League rushing leader who had more than 1,100 yards and 14 total touchdowns. He is expected to see more time at wideout this season. Then comes the speed. Sanchez is a 4.6, 40 guy who had 372 yards receiving and six total touchdowns before breaking his ankle six games into the season. The Miller twins, the speedy younger brothers of Patrick Miller, made an impact during their sophomore campaigns but will see the ball a lot more this season. Crandal (6-foot-4, 280) provides needed size on the offensive and defensive lines.

Under The Radar

Jacob Christian (WR/CB, Sr.), Branson Morain (RB/DB, Sr.), Brayden Farr (LB/RB, Soph.)

Fledderman said Christian is poised for a breakout year as a wide receiver. Morain is the power rusher opposite the shifty Corona and should see lots of time a free safety. Farr is a sophomore who worked his way from scout team to the starting middle linebacker.

Key Games

Nipomo (Oct. 21), @Templeton (Oct. 28)

The last two games of the regular season will be huge in determining whether Mission Prep can pull off a league title repeat.

CIF-SS Power Ranking

Division 10

Mission Prep is now in Division 10, ranked No. 217 out of 306 teams in the CIF-Southern Section and No. 22 out of 38 schools in the Division. Mission Prep is ranked below Templeton (No. 203) and above San Luis Obispo (No. 226).

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