The Warriors, who kick off the new season at home to Enterprise on Friday night, have seven of last season’s 10 all-league selections back, including a player who head coach Nick White describes as arguably the best lineman in the H-DNL.
Add to that a coaching staff that is among the best on the North Coast and a program that thrives on playing physical football and you have the recipe for a successful fall.
“We’re going to do what we do and see what happens,” White said. “Every kid is a little bit better at each position.”
The Warriors were a disappointing 1-2 in the Big 4 during the shortened spring season and 2-2 overall, but with the majority of their starters back it’s a team that should now benefit from those growing pains.
“The kids have definitely taken a step up as leaders, with their execution and their confidence,” White said. “Everything that goes along with having a year under your belt.”
The Warriors open against Enterprise, before games against North Medford, West Valley and Kelseyville in September.
After a bye later in the month, they begin six straight weeks of league action, with the Big 4 expanding the schedule to a home-and-away format this year.
And White expects a battle every week in league play.
“Like it is every year, you take it one game at a time in league. There’s very good teams and very good coaching in our league,” he said. “I expect three of the four teams — and I don’t know which three — or all four to make the playoffs. I think it’s that talented a league.”
One player expected to lead the way is senior Sam Schauerman, who White has described as arguably the best lineman in the league.
Schauerman is one of two returning first-team all-league selections from the spring, along with senior running back/cornerback/linebacker Caleb Dodson, who is coming off a sensational breakout season in the spring.
Also back and expected to play a key role are all-league honorable mentions Konner Price, RJ Loftin, Giancarlo Desolenni, Jacob Dane and Trevor Freeman.
Dane, a junior, will help anchor the trenches along with seniors Freeman and Price, as the line returns four starters, along with senior Aidan Thomas.
Senior tight end Hunter Giddings rounds out the talented unit, which is expected once again to pave the way for a physical offense.
Junior Cooper Maxwell will start for a second season at quarterback, with Dodson, Loftin and Desolenni all expected to feature heavily in the offensive backfield and giving the Warriors a potent one-two-three punch once again.
All of these players will also feature heavily on defense, where White and his players looking to set a physical tone on both sides of the ball.
“It’s going to be a group effort,” the head coach said of his defense. “We have a good mix of kids returning and it’s going to start with the defensive line.”
The head coach says he is expecting a tough opening game against Enterprise.
“They have a talented group of kids,” he said. “They’re athletic and they have a lot of returners like us.”
Friday night’s game is set for 7:30 p.m., with the JVs playing at 5.