The Sobrato High football team took every opportunity it got this summer to condition, lift weights and compete in 7 on 7 passing league contests. Coach Jubenal Rodriguez is banking on the team’s hard work and diligence to pay off as it plays its season-opener against Christopher on Saturday.
“We finally get the opportunity to attempt to have a normal season,” he said. “We’re all excited and chomping at the bit to compete.”
Rodriguez said the team’s strength is the offensive line, which features Ryan Mcglashan, Mark Collins, Anthony Anderson, Lucas Laisure and Colin Bringuel. Laisure is just a sophomore but plays both on the offensive and defensive line.
“The offensive line has done an awesome job over the off-season working hard in the weight room and on the field,” Rodriguez said. “The majority of them played last year so everyone is pretty much returning, and they’re bigger, faster and stronger. Their size, intelligence and speed also make them a strong unit. They definitely rank right up there in terms of some of the best O lines we’ve had in the past.”
A solid showing from the offensive line should set up quarterback Seth Hernstedt to have a special season. Hernstedt had a nice showing in the Covid spring season manning the offense which was limited to running the ball the majority of the time. However, Hernstedt and the team did some 7 on 7s with the hopes of being able to develop a superior passing game this season.
“After the five games in the spring and a full summer, I’m definitely getting a little more comfortable and building a better chemistry with the receivers,” he said. “I definitely think we’ll be able to throw the ball a little more this season. We have a lot of guys who showed up and seemed to put in the work.”
Rodriguez has high expectations for Hernstedt, who is still relatively new at the position having taken it up in his freshman year.
“Seth has gone through so many growth spurts physically, emotionally, and mentally with the X’s and O’s, that we’re looking for a breakout year from him,” Rodriguez said.
Christian Byrum, a 6-foot-3, 170-pound safety and receiver, looks to be a difference-maker on both sides of the ball. Returning starters Nathan Ortiz and Trey Bringuel will figure prominently into the team’s plans once again. Ortiz, a 5-8, 147-pound senior, possesses plenty of speed and moves in the open field, while Bringuel plays slot receiver and also impacts the game defensively at safety.
“Nathan is a speedster who isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder,” Rodriguez said.
Remy Hernandez should see his fair share of carries at running back as he earned Blossom Valley League Santa Teresa Division Freshman of the Year honors last season. Hernandez is a physical player and capable of carrying a big workload. Jacob Laisure, a 5-11, 195-pound tight end and middle linebacker, and C.J. Taylor, a returner at strong safety, will be counted upon to make game-changing plays throughout the season.
“We’re excited about the product we’re going to put on the field,” Rodriguez said. “If we can stay healthy, I believe we will surprise a lot of people.”
Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]