High School Sports

San Luis Obispo High School football looks to strengthen defense in 2016

SLO High football focuses on improving defense, limiting turnovers in 2016

San Luis Obispo High's head football coach Pat Johnston hopes to improve the Tigers defense and record in his second season at the helm.
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San Luis Obispo High's head football coach Pat Johnston hopes to improve the Tigers defense and record in his second season at the helm.

The San Luis Obispo High School football coaching staff has emphasized two themes during the offseason: turnovers and tackling.

Missed tackles and fumbles were major contributors to a 2-8 record in 2015.

“There are some games last year where we were putting up a lot of yards, a decent amount of points at times, but we turned the ball over,” San Luis Obispo head coach Pat Johnston said.

Former Morro Bay High head coach Jack Greer is now in full control of a defense that is set on making more plays in 2016. But to do so, the Tigers will have to stay healthy with overall participation numbers down. Only 26 players were in pads at practice Monday.

On offense, San Luis Obispo will lean on a pair of experienced running backs when the team takes the field Friday against Santa Maria.

San Luis Obispo at a glance

2015 record: 2-8 overall, 0-4 PAC 5

The defense never got on track and gave up an average of 36 points per game.

Key Departures

Omeed Djassemi (QB), Delvon Jack (WR), Zennon Cano (LB), Geovoni Gabriele (RB/LB), Ryan Clayton (OL/DE)

Djassemi and Jack were a potent combination at times, with Jack leading the team in receiving yards (629) and 24 yards per reception. Cano and Gabriele were the top two tacklers on the team, and Clayton anchored the offensive and defensive lines.

Key Returners

Pierson Mosichuk (RB/DB, Jr.), Javon Montgomery (WR/RB/DB, Sr.), Tegan Rawlins (TE/QB/LB, Sr.), Brendan Avila (OL, Sr.)

Mosichuk rushed for 589 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore and will get a bulk of the carries in the Tigers’ run-first attack this season. Montgomery will provide the speed at running back along with playing as a slot receiver. Both Montgomery and Mosichuk will see time at cornerback. Rawlins, who may get time at quarterback with starter Will Mienhold nursing an injury, will bring his size (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) as a split-out tight end and an outside linebacker. Avila is a three-year starter at right guard and will clear the way for the run game.

Under The Radar

Will Mienhold (QB/K, Sr.), Mario Anderson-Humo (DL, Sr.), Isaiah Camat (WR/CB, Jr.)

Mienhold missed all of last season with a shoulder injury and re-injured it during a conditioning drill this offseason. If he can get healthy in time for the first game, the 5-foot-6 quarterback will be a big part of the run, as well as the pass, offense. Anderson-Humo has been playing well for a defensive line that needs to improve on last season, and Camat will bring speed to both sides of the ball.

Key Games

@Santa Maria (8/26), Pioneer Valley (9/2)

San Luis Obispo is a long (long) shot to win the PAC 5, but the Tigers have two winnable games to open the season. If they can get off to a good start and stay healthy, those wins will create good vibes for the program moving forward.

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