May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

First look at Esperanza football 2021: Aztecs try to replace key players from CIF title team

Esperanza’s football team takes the field for a game last season. (Photo courtesy Esperanza football)

It was a special season in 2019 for Esperanza High’s football team, which captured the CIF Division 13 title.

The Aztecs, under Coach Wes Choate, are hoping for another successful season. Esperanza, like other teams, is scheduled to open the season on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. CIF officials came up with a revised plan moving the season from August 2020 to January. Local and state health officials will have to give the final approval for the seasons to happen.

“Our team goal is just to be competitive in our league and put together back to back seasons with winning records,” Choate said. “We lost 23 seniors and only returning three on offense and five on defense.

“We lost some pretty important, school record breaking pieces that we’re working on replacing.”

Among the talented players from last year’s team were quarterback Nate Nadeau, who is headed to NAIA Trinity International University; wide receiver Roshawn Lacy (Riverside Community College); and running back Walter Gooding, who set the school’s single season rushing record.

Nadeau set career passing record, and Lacy broke the school single season and career receiving record, Choate said.

Top returning players this year are fullback/linebacker Cody White, running back/defensive back Nick Koclanakis, lineman Lucas Ambuehl, tight end/defensive lineman Diego Reynoso, wide receiver/defensive back Mike Nadeau and running back/linebacker Caiden Gastil.

The Aztecs have not started their athletic camp yet but are continuing preparations for the start of the season, Choate said.

“We haven’t started practice yet, no reason just to condition for a week and then shut down again for a month,” Choate said. “The guys are still getting at it. All of our position coaches get one conditioning video and three lifting videos a week sent to them from the players.”

Esperanza advanced to the CIF 5A Southern Regional game, losing to Reseda 28-0.

2021 ESPERANZA FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

(Home games at Yorba Linda High School)

Friday, Jan. 8, vs. Walnut (H)

Friday, Jan. 15, at Nogales

Friday, Jan. 22, at Ocean View

Friday, Jan. 29, Sonora (H)

Friday, Feb. 5, at Santa Fe

Friday, Feb. 12, at Yorba Linda

Friday, Feb. 19, Villa Park (H)

Friday, Feb. 26, at El Dorado

Friday, March 5, Brea Olinda (H)

Thursday, March 11, Canyon (H)

Send football news to timburt@ocsportszone.com