Thursday, August 4, 2016

2016 Prep Football Preseason Rankings: #10 El Camino Wildcats

#10 El Camino Wildcats

Location: Oceanside, CA
School Colors: Brown & Gold
Division: I
League: Avocado
Championships: 10 (League), 8 (Section)
Head Coach: Jerry Ralph (1st Season)

2015 Recap: 7-6 (0-4 Avocado League, 5th)

El Camino was riding high after a 5-0 start to the season, but ended up dropping their next five games. Despite the 5-5 regular-season finish, the Wildcats clinched a berth in the Division I playoffs and advanced to the finals, where their roller-coaster season ended with a 23-14 loss to crosstown rival Oceanside.

2016 Outlook

After back-to-back 7-6 seasons under John Roberts, El Camino hired Jerry Ralph to take over the program. Ralph spent the last four seasons at Hoover, where he led the Cardinals to a 27-19 record and a city league title during his tenure.

The Wildcats are looking to earn its first league title since 2001, when legendary Herb Meyer was still in charge. For that to happen, they'll need to survive a revamped Avocado League that features some of the best teams North County has to offer.

“The league is the best in the state top to bottom and will be a huge challenge.” Ralph says. “We also play two defending state champions [Rancho Bernardo & Citrus Hills].”

Ralph will inherit an offense that returns six starters, including highly-touted junior running back Chris Brown (who is also a standout linebacker).

“Brown is a very humble and unselfish player,” says Ralph. “He goes hard every day and in every deal, takes coaching very well, and is a great example to other players.”

Junior Jaden Casey returns for his second season as the starting quarterback. Casey is coming off a stellar sophomore year where he threw for over 400 yards in two separate games.

He'll also have a big target in 6-foot-3 receiver Manuel Kariuki.

“He will be hard to cover if defenses stack the box to stop Brown.” says Ralph of Kariuki.

Quinn Kerwin, Jaylen Newman, Gideon Moore, Joseph Carvajal and Eddie Laie will power a very big offensive line that “no one knows about yet”.

El Camino graduated it's top four tacklers and top two leaders in interceptions, but they get back defensive lineman Malu Malutumau and linebacker Rocky Katoanga; both (along with Brown) are expected to be impact players for the Wildcat's front seven this season.

“We have to stay healthy and keep all our weapons,” warned Ralph. “Our defense has to make plays and put us in position to win.”

El Camino heads into the upcoming season with a very young squad that has been through some ups and downs during their prep careers, but tough experiences and a hunger to win should make these Wildcats a dark horse team to look out for.

“We have really come together as a football family,” Ralph added. “I think we will be a team that opposing coaches will be very concerned about.”

* League Opponent
(R) Revenge Game
(#) Rivalry Game

Impact Losses

WR/FS John Armentrout
LB Spencer Katoanga
DE Aleli Tuitasi

Impact Returners

Junior RB/LB Chris Brown
Rushed for 882 yards & 7 TDs in 2015

Junior QB Jaden Casey
Passed for 1352 yards & 9 TDs in 2015

Senior DE Malu Malutumau
Totaled 56 tackles and 5 sacks in 2015


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