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COMMENTARY

Starting from scratch

By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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Western Sierra Collegiate Academy is in its fourth year of football. They are members of the Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League and, like other Division VII schools, they have a limited roster for 11-man football.

However, in three short years, head coach JP Dolliver took the academy from a winless first season to 7-4 last year, runners-up in the SMAL and a trip to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs. For all intents and purposes, Wolves football had arrived, temporarily.

But Western Sierra went through some changes in the offseason. Dolliver left to take over El Camino High’s football program, graduation took its toll and some would-be returning players transferred to other schools; experience has never been WSCA’s strong suit.

Friday night, the academy suffered its third straight loss of the new season, losing big, 68-20; however, you would not have known it had you been there.

After the game, there were no hanging heads, tears or looks of embarrassment and exasperation. And their new head coach, Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler did not read them the riot act in the postgame huddle. In matter-of-fact tones, his message was “We’re going to get better.”

What many of the players at Western Sierra know is that they can get better. After all, it took them only three years to do that the first time and they still have some tools to work with. All-league quarterback Aiden Lucia has returned and he as a potential MVP receiver in junior Chris Delaloye.

Delaloye had two receiving touchdowns in Friday’s game and caught a pass for a 2-point conversion. Unofficially, he had 11 catches for 200 yards.

“First of all, our passing game is getting more efficient. Obviously (Delaloye) is a special kid, but more kids than Chris are catching the ball,” said Roeszler, adding that the offensive line has also improved in pass protection. “So there are little things that you don’t see that we are getting better at.”

Coach Roz said what he will emphasize Monday in practice is tackling. He said he has young players on defense that are still learning the fundamentals.

“We have to tackle better. We can hide that we’re young on offense more than we can hide that we’re young on defense,” Roeszler said. “We have to tackle better.”

Running back Oscar Hernandez was also starting to get the concept of running north and south when 6-foot-5-inch wide receiver Chris Shimp went down. Hernandez had to move to Shimp’s position and Hernandez was replaced in the backfield by a 100-pound freshman.

Although having sufficient backup players in a small school is limited, Coach Roz said he has been able to do more substituting as the season progresses. He will also get back a few players previously sidelined by minor injuries.

A former college player and playing briefly with the Oakland Raiders, Roeszler is no stranger to the game. He has had extensive prep coaching experience and is a friend of Dolliver’s, who recommended him for the job.

There is solidarity among the Wolves’ players and they seem to relish learning the game, in spite of a few lopsided scores not going their way.

“The kid’s spirits aren’t broken so there are many things that I’m seeing,” said Roeszler. “We have to get more confidence and more of a nasty attitude.”

If there is one thing the kids at WSCA know, it’s how to learn.

Western Sierra Collegiate Academy is in its fourth year of football. They are members of the Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League and, like other Division VII schools, they have a limited roster for 11-man football.

However, in three short years, head coach JP Dolliver took the academy from a winless first season to 7-4 last year, runners-up in the SMAL and a trip to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs. For all intents and purposes, Wolves football had arrived, temporarily.

But Western Sierra went through some changes in the offseason. Dolliver left to take over El Camino High’s football program, graduation took its toll and some would-be returning players transferred to other schools; experience has never been WSCA’s strong suit.

Friday night, the academy suffered its third straight loss of the new season, losing big, 68-20; however, you would not have known it had you been there.

After the game, there were no hanging heads, tears or looks of embarrassment and exasperation. And their new head coach, Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler did not read them the riot act in the postgame huddle. In matter-of-fact tones, his message was “We’re going to get better.”

What many of the players at Western Sierra know is that they can get better. After all, it took them only three years to do that the first time and they still have some tools to work with. All-league quarterback Aiden Lucia has returned and he as a potential MVP receiver in junior Chris Delaloye.

Delaloye had two receiving touchdowns in Friday’s game and caught a pass for a 2-point conversion. Unofficially, he had 11 catches for 200 yards.

“First of all, our passing game is getting more efficient. Obviously (Delaloye) is a special kid, but more kids than Chris are catching the ball,” said Roeszler, adding that the offensive line has also improved in pass protection. “So there are little things that you don’t see that we are getting better at.”

Coach Roz said what he will emphasize Monday in practice is tackling. He said he has young players on defense that are still learning the fundamentals.

“We have to tackle better. We can hide that we’re young on offense more than we can hide that we’re young on defense,” Roeszler said. “We have to tackle better.”

Running back Oscar Hernandez was also starting to get the concept of running north and south when 6-foot-5-inch wide receiver Chris Shimp went down. Hernandez had to move to Shimp’s position and Hernandez was replaced in the backfield by a 100-pound freshman.

Although having sufficient backup players in a small school is limited, Coach Roz said he has been able to do more substituting as the season progresses. He will also get back a few players previously sidelined by minor injuries.

A former college player and playing briefly with the Oakland Raiders, Roeszler is no stranger to the game. He has had extensive prep coaching experience and is a friend of Dolliver’s, who recommended him for the job.

There is solidarity among the Wolves’ players and they seem to relish learning the game, in spite of a few lopsided scores not going their way.

“The kid’s spirits aren’t broken so there are many things that I’m seeing,” said Roeszler. “We have to get more confidence and more of a nasty attitude.”

If there is one thing the kids at WSCA know, it’s how to learn.

Western Sierra Collegiate Academy is in its fourth year of football. They are members of the Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League and, like other Division VII schools, they have a limited roster for 11-man football.

However, in three short years, head coach JP Dolliver took the academy from a winless first season to 7-4 last year, runners-up in the SMAL and a trip to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs. For all intents and purposes, Wolves football had arrived, temporarily.

But Western Sierra went through some changes in the offseason. Dolliver left to take over El Camino High’s football program, graduation took its toll and some would-be returning players transferred to other schools; experience has never been WSCA’s strong suit.

Friday night, the academy suffered its third straight loss of the new season, losing big, 68-20; however, you would not have known it had you been there.

After the game, there were no hanging heads, tears or looks of embarrassment and exasperation. And their new head coach, Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler did not read them the riot act in the postgame huddle. In matter-of-fact tones, his message was “We’re going to get better.”

What many of the players at Western Sierra know is that they can get better. After all, it took them only three years to do that the first time and they still have some tools to work with. All-league quarterback Aiden Lucia has returned and he as a potential MVP receiver in junior Chris Delaloye.

Delaloye had two receiving touchdowns in Friday’s game and caught a pass for a 2-point conversion. Unofficially, he had 11 catches for 200 yards.

“First of all, our passing game is getting more efficient. Obviously (Delaloye) is a special kid, but more kids than Chris are catching the ball,” said Roeszler, adding that the offensive line has also improved in pass protection. “So there are little things that you don’t see that we are getting better at.”

Coach Roz said what he will emphasize Monday in practice is tackling. He said he has young players on defense that are still learning the fundamentals.

“We have to tackle better. We can hide that we’re young on offense more than we can hide that we’re young on defense,” Roeszler said. “We have to tackle better.”

Running back Oscar Hernandez was also starting to get the concept of running north and south when 6-foot-5-inch wide receiver Chris Shimp went down. Hernandez had to move to Shimp’s position and Hernandez was replaced in the backfield by a 100-pound freshman.

Although having sufficient backup players in a small school is limited, Coach Roz said he has been able to do more substituting as the season progresses. He will also get back a few players previously sidelined by minor injuries.

A former college player and playing briefly with the Oakland Raiders, Roeszler is no stranger to the game. He has had extensive prep coaching experience and is a friend of Dolliver’s, who recommended him for the job.

There is solidarity among the Wolves’ players and they seem to relish learning the game, in spite of a few lopsided scores not going their way.

“The kid’s spirits aren’t broken so there are many things that I’m seeing,” said Roeszler. “We have to get more confidence and more of a nasty attitude.”

If there is one thing the kids at WSCA know, it’s how to learn.

Western Sierra Collegiate Academy is in its fourth year of football. They are members of the Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League and, like other Division VII schools, they have a limited roster for 11-man football.

However, in three short years, head coach JP Dolliver took the academy from a winless first season to 7-4 last year, runners-up in the SMAL and a trip to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs. For all intents and purposes, Wolves football had arrived, temporarily.

But Western Sierra went through some changes in the offseason. Dolliver left to take over El Camino High’s football program, graduation took its toll and some would-be returning players transferred to other schools; experience has never been WSCA’s strong suit.

Friday night, the academy suffered its third straight loss of the new season, losing big, 68-20; however, you would not have known it had you been there.

After the game, there were no hanging heads, tears or looks of embarrassment and exasperation. And their new head coach, Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler did not read them the riot act in the postgame huddle. In matter-of-fact tones, his message was “We’re going to get better.”

What many of the players at Western Sierra know is that they can get better. After all, it took them only three years to do that the first time and they still have some tools to work with. All-league quarterback Aiden Lucia has returned and he as a potential MVP receiver in junior Chris Delaloye.

Delaloye had two receiving touchdowns in Friday’s game and caught a pass for a 2-point conversion. Unofficially, he had 11 catches for 200 yards.

“First of all, our passing game is getting more efficient. Obviously (Delaloye) is a special kid, but more kids than Chris are catching the ball,” said Roeszler, adding that the offensive line has also improved in pass protection. “So there are little things that you don’t see that we are getting better at.”

Coach Roz said what he will emphasize Monday in practice is tackling. He said he has young players on defense that are still learning the fundamentals.

“We have to tackle better. We can hide that we’re young on offense more than we can hide that we’re young on defense,” Roeszler said. “We have to tackle better.”

Running back Oscar Hernandez was also starting to get the concept of running north and south when 6-foot-5-inch wide receiver Chris Shimp went down. Hernandez had to move to Shimp’s position and Hernandez was replaced in the backfield by a 100-pound freshman.

Although having sufficient backup players in a small school is limited, Coach Roz said he has been able to do more substituting as the season progresses. He will also get back a few players previously sidelined by minor injuries.

A former college player and playing briefly with the Oakland Raiders, Roeszler is no stranger to the game. He has had extensive prep coaching experience and is a friend of Dolliver’s, who recommended him for the job.

There is solidarity among the Wolves’ players and they seem to relish learning the game, in spite of a few lopsided scores not going their way.

“The kid’s spirits aren’t broken so there are many things that I’m seeing,” said Roeszler. “We have to get more confidence and more of a nasty attitude.”

If there is one thing the kids at WSCA know, it’s how to learn.