Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012
High expections for Los Banos
By Shawn Jansen / firstname.lastname@example.org
His name is Sams. James Sams.
He likes his Gatorade shaken and not stirred.
He has a license to thrill.
However, James' days as a secret agent may be over after he blew his cover last year when he ran for 1,872 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Expect Sams to play a starring role again this year for a Los Banos team, which comes into this season with high expectations thanks to nine returning starters on an offensive unit that won the Western Athletic Conference championship and advanced to the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs n 2011.
"Everything goes through James," first-year head coach Dustin Caropreso said. "You look at the last two games he had in the playoffs last year. I think he ran for 225 yards against Vanden and 250 against Casa Roble.
"I've seen some good running backs come through Los Banos. He has a chance to be there with some of the best."
Unlike most Bonds movies, this won't be a one-man mission.
Sams will have plenty of help from quarterback Chris Corpuz, returning after throwing for 1,455 yards and 20 touchdowns last year.
Also returning are play-making receivers Daeton West, Delvonte Moore and Keith Turner.
"Daeton brings a lot to the team," Sams said. "He helps open up the running game and he helps the other receivers get catches because a lot of teams like to double Daeton.
"If teams want to put eight in the box, Chris can start passing to help open the running game."
With the Tigers likely dropping down to Division 4 come playoff time, Los Banos has the talent to make a long run in the postseason and possibly a shot at a state bowl.
Getting there won't be easy. Los Banos has a tough non-conference schedule with teams like Escalon and Manteca waiting to take their shot at Sams and company.
Central Catholic comes into the season as the WAC favorite. But first things first.
"Everyone I talk to is excited about opening up against Escalon," Caropreso said. "They won a state bowl two years ago. We play a Roosevelt team we don't know much about and then come back with Manteca, Dos Palos and Central Catholic. After the first five games, we'll know how good we are."
Caropreso takes over the reins of the program after Dennis Stubbs returned to Golden Valley. The Tigers made the playoffs four times in the five seasons under Stubbs.
"He came in and got the program headed in the right direction," Caropreso said. "I've never been one to shy away from a challenge. This is the job I always wanted. I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Caropeso is hoping his seniors will help make the coaching transition a smooth one.
Sams knows more is going to be asked from him as a second-year player and the face of the team.
"My role is going to change a lot," Sams said. "I have to make sure people follow our footsteps. I have to be a leader on and off the field.
"It's going to be a learning process for me, but I think I'll be comfortable with it. For us seniors, we know this will be our last year playing together. This season is important to us. For some of us, it may be our last year playing football at all."