May 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

OC Sports Zone Kickoff 2019: Northwood aiming high with new coach and key returners

Northwood’s football team is led by (from left) Xavier Cousar, Adam Fujiwara and Jaden Piazza. (Photos courtesy Northwood football, for OC Sports Zone)

Northwood High’s football team got back into the CIF playoffs last year and the Timberwolves are hoping to continue the success this year under first-year coach Paige Nobles, who has set some lofty goals.

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo

Nobles replaces Pete Mitchell, who led Northwood to an 8-4 overall mark and 3-2 record in the Pacific Coast League before deciding to step down after the season following a two-year run. The Timberwolves celebrated their first CIF playoff victory since 2010.

The Timberwolves open the season on Friday, Aug. 23 against Saddleback Valley Christian at Irvine Stadium.

Northwood has six starters returning on offense and eight on defense.

Nobles said he wants his team to “keep improving as a team, cut down on penalties, be more disciplined. We want to improve each day we take the field either at practice or in a game.”

Nobles said the Timberwolves want to win the Dennis Toohey Fence Post Trophy, “improve on our winning record from last year and win that (CIF) Division 12 title.”

The Timberwolves are led by quarterback Jaden Piazza, an all-league player who passed for 1,341 yards and 15 touchdowns and lineman Xavier Cousar, an all-league and all-CIF lineman.

Tentative offensive starters

Jaden Piazza, QB, senior, all-league; Mcain Mould, RB, junior, all-league, 256 yards rushing; Daniel Kim, junior, RB, 108 yards rushing; Travis Arena, junior, WR, all-league, 582 yards receiving and seven TDs; Trey Littlejohn, junior, WR, all-league, 279 yards receiving and three TDs, 1,271 kickoff receiving yards; Josiah Smith, junior, WR; Nate Maloney, junior, wide receiver; Jackson Baker, senior, wide receiver; Xavier Cousar, senior, OL, all-league, All-CIF; Rayan Garzan, junior, tackle; Fayez Kobeissy, senior, tackle.

Tentative defensive starters

Xavier Cousar, senior, DL, 110 tackles, seven sacks; Travis Arena, senior, DL, 24 tackles; Max Tait, junior, LB, 59 tackles; Fayez Kobeissy, senior, DE, 19 tackles, two sacks; Najib Hersi, senior, DT; Brian Williams, senior, DT; Shaun Walkman, sophomore, DT; Mcain Mould, junior, DB; Daniel Kim, junior, DB; Trey Littlejohn, junior, DB; Jackson Baker, senior, DB.

Special teams

Jaden Piazza, senior, punter; Adam Fujiwara, senior, long snapper; Trey Littlejohn, junior, FG, PATs; Matthew Stankovich, senior (utility).

A closer look at the Timberwolves’ standouts

—Quarterback Jaden Piazza: “He demands perfection not only from himself but from the whole team,” Nobles said.

—Lineman Xavier Cousar: “X is a force,” said Nobles. “No one can stop him. X is one of the most dominating players players in the PCL and probably all of Division 12.”

—Travis Arena, WR and DB: “He’s a quiet kid but he gets the job done. Also, he’s a player who everyone runs away from.”

–Receiver Trey Littlejohn: “He’s tough and catches everything,” Nobles said.

—Jackson Baker: “He’s the surprise workhorse on offense and defense and will turn your lights off on defense,” Nobles said.

—Max Tait: “This guy is my hardest hitting linebacker,” Nobles said. “He will knock your head off if you’re not prepared.”

2019 NORTHWOOD FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com