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Cabrillo Football

Football Preview: Cabrillo Jaguars

The562’s coverage of Cabrillo Athletics is sponsored by the Cohn Family.

This year’s Cabrillo football team holds a special significance for head coach Shane Gonzales. The entire roster has only played for him, and the upperclassmen deserve a ton of credit for making sure there’s still football on the West Side.

“They are the reason why Cabrillo has a football team,” Gonzales said of his junior and senior classes. “Their freshman year, they didn’t have (a season), but that group came in and took their lumps as sophomores and kind of had that look on their face like, ‘I don’t know if this is what I signed up for.’ But now that they’re seniors and they’re the veterans on the team, they’ve grown into some big leaders, and it’s time for a good year. I’m excited for them. They deserve it.”

VIDEO: Cabrillo Football Preview

In year one under Gonzales in 2021, the Jags picked up a needed victory to help revitalize a program hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. In year two, Cabrillo made school history last season with a 4-0 start to the year. And despite those wins being taken away due to an eligibility issue, the Jags have taken confidence from the way they started the year. They know they’re capable of winning games, and each fall brings a new season and a new opportunity.

“This year we’ve got way more confidence than we had last year,” said senior offensive lineman Andrew Ramirez Garcia. “We were coming off a season where we barely won one game, and then the next year we got four wins, and we got them taken away. I feel like this year we have more confidence. We know we can do that again. And having a bigger roster too, is boosting our conference. I think we could really surprise some people this year.”

If Cabrillo can finish the summer strong and come out ready to go on Aug. 18, the first half of their schedule features winnable games. With continued improvement year over year, they could find themselves with a chance to make the playoffs, but they’ll also need to win their first Moore League game since 2019 in order to get that done.

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Fortunately, they’ll have a veteran at the most important spot on the field, as senior Luis Haro is back at quarterback. He had no experience at the position when he was thrust into a starting role as a sophomore, but he says the game is starting to slow down for him.

“We spent the offseason communicating with each other, and I think our bond got better,” Haro said. “Our line definitely improved, our receivers have definitely improved, I have more weapons to throw to. I definitely feel more confident throwing the ball, I don't feel so rushed in the pocket this season.”

He’s blessed to have sophomore D’Jon Pittman back at wide receiver. Pittman took the Moore League by storm as a ninth grader, making highlight reel catches and adding a legit perimeter weapon for the Jags. He’s got a high ceiling and will surely be a focal point of what the Jags look to do offensively this season. Returners Rodney Cheatum and Gabe Garcia also provide experience and reliability on the outside.

Sophomore Kewanee Foster and senior Antonio Elam will share time at running back, and they’ll benefit from an experienced offensive line who’ve played a lot together. Four seniors adorn the offensive line–Jasiah Ceniceros, Albert Ledesma, Ramirez Garcia, and Jose Gonzalez–line up from left guard to right tackle, respectively.

Johnny Garcia has taken over as the new line coach and run game coordinator, with Chris Hyduke stepping in as offensive coordinator. They’ve provided a different perspective for the returning core and it’s been well received so far. With the confidence they built last season, plus the chemistry they’ve fostered over the past three years at Cabrillo, it’s no wonder the o-line is considered an area of strength in 2023.

“All of our seniors have been bonding since our freshman year, the first year of coach G,” said Jose Gonzalez. “We created a bond. These are literally my brothers, they’re family, so it’s a strong bond on the field. What we did last year felt amazing, really amazing. But this year, we know we could do it again. We are going to surprise some people.”

The defense will have question marks, but there are some key returners in the stop unit. Linebacker Dylan Edwards was a standout as a ninth grader, and he should rack up tackles in bunches this season. Aviann Ortega is a key contributor in a linebacker/safety type role, and juniors Isaiah Miranda and Tristen Muk are returning starters in the secondary.

With more numbers in the program, Cabrillo will also be looking to field a junior varsity team for the entire season, which is an important sign of progress for a program that was teetering on the edge just three years ago.

The leaders on this team remember those days well, and they’ve put the time in to make sure Jaguar Football will kick off another season in Long Beach. And with what Coach Gonzales calls the deepest and most talented team he's had at Cabrillo, perhaps they’ll make the latest chapter a memorable one on the West Side.

Probable Starters:


QB - Luis Haro (Sr.)

RB - Antonio Elam (Jr.) / Keewane Foster (So.)

FB - Dylan Edwards (So.)

WR - D’Jon Pittman (So.) / Rodney Cheathum (Sr.) / Gabe Garcia (Sr.) / Aviann Ortega (Sr.)

TE - Carlos Estrada (Sr.) / Isreal Clayton (Jr.)

LT - Luis Chavez (So.)

LG - Jasiah Ceniceros (Sr.)

C - Albert Ledesma (Sr.)

RG - Angel Ramirez Garcia (Sr.)

RT - Jose Gonzalez (Sr.)


DE - Demeyon Love (Jr.) / Pedro Diaz (Jr.)

DT - Angel Ramirez Garcia (Sr.) / Jasiah Ceniceros (Sr.)

LB - Dylan Edwards (So.) / Hakeen Aurbey (So.)

LB/S - Aviann Ortega (Sr.)

CB - Isaiah Miranda (Jr.) / Tristen Muk (Jr.)

S - Antonio Elam (Jr.) / D’Jon Pittman (So.)

2023 Cabrillo Jaguars Football Schedule

8/18 - at Hawkins (7:30 p.m.)

8/25 - vs. Carpinteria

9/1 - vs. Verbum Dei

9/8 - at Los Amigos

9/15 - vs. Compton

9/22 - at Lakewood

9/29 - at Wilson

10/7 - BYE

10/13 - vs. Long Beach Poly

10/20 - vs. Jordan

10/27 - at Millikan

Tyler Hendrickson
Tyler Hendrickson was born and raised in Long Beach, and started covering sports in his hometown in 2010. After five years as a sportswriter, Tyler joined the athletic department at Long Beach State University in 2015. He spent more than four years in the athletic communications department, working primarily with the Dirtbags baseball program. Tyler also co-authored of The History of Long Beach Poly: Scholars & Champions.