May 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Portola football team gets ready for first PCL game vs. Beckman tonight

Portola’s football team takes the field for its first game in school history.

Portola’s football team will play its first Pacific Coast League varsity football game in school history tonight (Thursday, Sept. 27) when it faces Beckman at 7 p.m. at Tustin High. Coach Peter Abe brings us up to date on the Bulldogs.

Talk about the first five weeks:

Abe: We finished the pre-season 2-3 and are excited and encouraged with the rapid improvements our players have shown in their maturity and development as a varsity football program thus far.  It almost feels like we have played a full season already, mentally and physically for some of our guys, but as the weeks go on and we reflect on our journey, our staff couldn’t be more proud of the work the team continues to put in with such admirable effort and pride.  

What often goes unnoticed when building a program from the ground up is the unbelievable and unwavering support from our administration and staff, dedicated coaches, our football booster organization, and local community sponsors as we consistently advance our mission to Protect the Bulldog Pedigree. Few wins, few losses in our inaugural preseason, and with every learning opportunity or shred of adversity, the Bulldogs continue to step back up to the line, ready for our next test, together.

What did you like and what areas do you need to do better:

Abe: As with any young team, we need more game-speed reps, which is hard to replicate with only juniors and sophomores and so many on our scout teams having only gotten reps as a freshman Bulldog in 2017. That said, we challenge those young guys every week to focus on one theme each week, and each week they continue to surpass our expectations. They’re a lot of fun to watch as they work every day, every play to get our starters ready to compete… Definitely wouldn’t be where we are without those guys.    

List the top offensive and defensive players so far:

Abe: Offense, Brandon Yue, junior quarterback; Joseph Kim, junior lineman;  Joey Omar, junior tight end; Kaveh Wojtowich, junior wide receiver; Andy Lo sophomore wide receiver; and Russell Sung, junior running back.

Defense, Adrian Valerin, junior linebacker; David Chiu, junior lineman; Miles Wat, sophomore defensive back; Andre Quiroz, sophomore defensive back; Trevor Yue, sophomore defensive back; Jared Van Haren, junior defensive end; and Max Gatti, sophomore linebacker

What are your thoughts on the league opener with Beckman?

Abe: Pacific Coast League in 2018 kicks off for the Bulldogs on Thursday against a strong Beckman Patriot team.  Under the guidance of Coach (Marcello) Giuliano, the Patriots play a disciplined and aggressive brand of football that will be a great test for our young Bulldogs.  We look forward to taking another step in our programs history as we play our first PCL football game in school history, and are humbled to think about the journey to not only get our players here, but have them prepped and ready to compete.

What about the PCL race?

Abe: The Pacific Coast League should be a lot of fun to watch in 2018.  Some really talented student-athletes across the board and high-quality coaching, should make for some exciting football in the city of Irvine.  

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone