The562’s season previews for the 2022-23 school year are sponsored by Vertical Raise, the official team fundraising partner of The562.
The562’s coverage of Cabrillo Athletics is sponsored by the Cohn Family.
Expectations were modest for Cabrillo last season, with the Jaguars mostly looking to re-establish the program after missing the 2020 campaign due to the pandemic. Now in year three as head coach (but preparing for his second season), Shane Gonzales is looking for progress in the season ahead.
Though the Jags will not be fielding lower level teams this season, their varsity group has grown in 2022, showing signs that things are headed in the right direction on the West Side.
“We’re closer to where we want to be,” Gonzales admitted. “Like last year, we want to set attainable goals. So I keep preaching to these guys that we want to be the number one team in the country at running to the football. Because we struggled defensively with tackling and swarming and stuff like that, so that’s something that we can control. That’s what we’re preaching to these guys just to be more physical, tougher and to work as a team better.”
The roster has gone from around 30 players last season up to 40, showing important signs of growth for the program. Gonzales has also brought in a few new coaches to help out, and he likes the energy they’ve brought to practices so far. Lamar Avila is a Cabrillo alum who has come back to help coach the offense, special teams, and also run the weight room. Meanwhile, Long Beach Poly grad Rodney Van, who played college ball at UCLA, is working mostly on the defensive side.
“A lot of the energy you see from the team comes from them,” Gonzalez said. “They kind of feed off (Avila), Van and myself as well. We’re trying to teach these kids that they’ve got to attack every day with that energy and you can’t take any days off.”
On the field, the Jags will be more experienced than they were a season ago. That should be a big help for junior quarterback Luis Haro, who was thrust into his first action last year as a starting varsity QB. He’s a good athlete who can make plays outside the pocket and will also play safety for the Cabrillo defense.
Senior Antonio Elam is back at running back, where he showed a good nose for the endzone last season. He’ll run behind a deeper and more experienced offensive line that’s exclusively upperclassmen that got varsity reps a season ago. Junior right tackle Jose Gonzalez is the biggest of the group, checking in at around 6-foot-4, 280 lbs. Jayden Otero is one of two seniors on the line and will run the show from his center position.
“I’m most excited about winning more games than we did last year,” Otero said. “I think our spirits and our hopes are higher this year. And we have more enthusiasm on and off the field, where we’re gonna be able to finish games, push through and win some games.”
The receiving corps will have more size this year, led by senior Devin Edwards and lanky freshman D’Jon Pittman. Senior captain Marco Garcia will be a leader for the team on both sides of the ball as a versatile H-Back on offense and the starting linebacker on D. He said he loves being able to play different positions on the field.
“I’m really excited to do that, it’s something I really look forward to doing for the team,” Garcia said. “It’s to help us win, most importantly, wherever they need me. I’m really excited to play different positions, it’s really, really fun.”
Garcia mentioned that the experience from last year, as well as a full offseason in the weight room, bodes well for the team this year. He feels the team is stronger, more experienced and more committed this time around.
The Jags’ conditioning will certainly be tested with several guys playing on both sides of the ball, but there are some additional names who are just focused on the defensive side. Senior Thomas Rubio provides size up front at the defensive tackle spot, and freshman Dylan Edwards (Devin’s younger brother) shows great promise at linebacker.
Sophomore Isaiah Miranda returns to his starting role at corner and junior Aviann Ortega is a versatile safety/linebacker type.
Cabrillo will play the same schedule as last season, starting at home against Hawkins. The Jags have a favorable stretch for the first seven weeks of the season before their bye week on Oct. 7. From there, Cabrillo ends the season with road games at Poly and Jordan, followed by a home finale against Millikan on Oct. 28.
8/19 - vs. Hawkins
8/26 - at Jefferson
9/2 - vs. Glenn
9/8 - at Lynwood
9/16 - at Compton
9/23 - vs. Lakewood
9/30 - vs. Wilson
10/7 - BYE
10/14 - at Long Beach Poly
10/21 - at Jordan
10/28 - vs. Millikan
QB - Luis Haro (Jr.)
RB - Antonio Elam (Sr.)
TE - Jasiah Ceniceros (Jr.)
H-Back - Marco Garcia (Sr.) / Aviann Ortega (Jr.)
WR - Devin Edwards (Sr.)
WR - D’Jon Pittman (Fr.)
LT - Anthony Fuentes (Sr.)
LG - Angel Ramirez-Garcia (Jr.)
C - Jayden Otero (Sr.)
RG - Manu Sagale (Jr.)
RT - Jose Gonzalez (Jr.)
DE - Jose Gonzalez (Jr.)
DE - Manu Sagale (Jr.)
DT - Angel Ramirez-Garcia (Jr.)
DT - Thomas Rubio (Sr.)
LB - Marco Garcia (Sr.)
LB - Dylan Edwards (Fr.)
CB - Isaiah Miranda (So.)
CB - D’Jon Pittman (Fr.)
S - Aviann Ortega (Jr.)
S - Luis Haro (Jr.)
FS - Devin Edwards (Sr.)