Prep Football Sneak Peek: Panthers have depth, experience this year

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comJune 8, 2013 

The first few years of Pacheco football have been about building for the future.

Not anymore. Pacheco's spring practice this year was all about being successful this coming season.

"This is kind of the year we've been looking forward to," Pacheco coach David Snapp said. "We have 54 guys on the roster, not including kickers. We have a lot of depth and a lot of experience."

The Panthers are set at a few positions -- notably running back, despite the loss of senior Paul Parks (138 carries for 988 yards in 2012). Soon-to-be juniors Kalama Kamoku (125 for 868 yards) and Frank Ginda (26 for 150 yards) will carry the heavy load.

Where it all starts, though, is the line, and with most of both the offensive and defensive lines returning from 2012's 5-6 campaign, Pacheco has a foundation to build upon.

In the passing game, the top three pass catchers from 2012 all return -- receivers Adam Perez (23 catches, 408 yards) and Maurice Harden (8 catches, 85 yards) and tight end Hunter Mendez (26 catches, 339 yards).

Harden is in the mix for the starting quarterback position after last year's starter Jacob Parks (48 of 101, 786 yards) and backup Daniel Marquez (13 of 22, 196 yards) are both graduating. Snapp said Harden may be too valuable at receiver, with junior Juwan Epperson running the offense under center after a successful sophomore campaign.

"We're four or five deep at receiver," Snapp said. "We can spread the ball out, and we're comfortable in what we're doing, which is a big deal for us. We were pretty versatile last year, and we're versatile again this year."

Speaking of versatility, Snapp said Ginda may step in at middle linebacker in addition to his running back role, stepping between outside linebackers Michael Dumagan (15 tackles) and Anthony Gonzalez (41 tackles). That spot is opened by the graduation of Robert Burkart, who tied with Julian Kelly to lead the team in tackles with 77, and was a leader on defense. Mendez is also looking to again play both sides of the field with some time at defensive end.

"The linebackers, you can see the confidence with all these guys now," Snapp said.

New opportunities will open up on the defensive line and secondary with the graduation of safety safety Kelly and defensive lineman Luis Zendejas (35 tackles).

"I thought (spring practice) was real productive," Snapp said. "Guys are a little more comfortable, and we know what we're doing. There's a lot of competition."

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