Last season, things didn’t go to plan for the Thornton High School football team. After beginning the season 5-0, they suffered some injuries losing some close games, and ended up 5-5 in league. Even though the Trojans had the state’s No. 1 offense and led class 5A in rushing, total yards and finished third in scoring.
But head coach Mike Marquez is confident. Really confident.
This year, with the entire offensive line returning, Marquez is certain they will grab a playoff spot and is even predicting the Trojans will conclude the season in first place in league.
“We’re returning a lot of starters that have started for us as many as three years,” Marquez said. “We learned some lessons from last year. We’ve been waiting for this year since our senior class were freshmen. Hopefully it all comes together this year.”
The Trojans have a senior-heavy team with 25 on the roster this year. They’re more experienced, which is the reason why Marquez said that’s how injuries will be prevented.
“We’re pretty deep and competitive at some positions to where if we do suffer an injury it won’t be as dramatic of a loss,” Marquez said. “Last year our back-up guys were sophomores, now they’re seniors and sometimes juniors. We’re just older and more experienced.”
Marquez and Co. will start the season with a different approach. Since the Trojans lost a good amount of production at running back, they are going to throw the ball more than running the ball. But Marquez isn’t worried.
He said there are about five or six players that are already competing for the position and could possibly share the running back position.
The Trojans will also continue to run a no-huddle offense.
They tried it during the 2012 season and found it worked well for them. While the no-huddle offense isn’t too common in high school football, the Trojans discovered it was one of their strengths.
“We found one of the reason we led in statistics was our pace meant we had more snaps on the field,” Marquez said. We went from averaging 52 offensive plays a game to 64 last year.”
Senior Demitri Montour is back for his final year in the wide receiver position and will help out the offense immensely. Montour has been on varsity since his freshman year and has been all-conference all three years.
In Montour’s first two seasons as a Trojan, he scored 10 touchdowns each year and has 100 career receptions for over 1000 yards coming into his senior season.
Montour proved he was a versatile player last year when he stepped into the quarterback role for the first three games after their starter was injured. Montour was injured for a few games in 2012 so Marquez said he hopes Montour can stay strong for his senior season.
“He really is a threat any time he touches the ball to go the distance or do something special,” Marquez said. “We’re hoping he can stay healthy. You lose someone like him and that’s going to have a huge impact.”
Offensive lineman Levi Lebaron is also returning to the squad. The Trojans averaged 320 yards on the ground per game last year and a great amount of it was running behind Lebaron on the left side. Marquez said he thinks Lebaron didn’t give up a sac all year. He said Lebaron brings intensity and a tough mentality to the football team. Lebaron agrees with Marquez in that the Trojans will go far in the 2013 season.
“I think we’re looking pretty good,” Lebaron said. “I think we can match those expectations by coach.”
The Trojans need to still fill a few holes in some key positions including running back, but once they do, they will have a strong team. Montour said he has a lot of confidence in the squad; however they can’t get over excited.
“We’re looking good,” Montour said. “We have to not get ahead of ourselves as if we did something last year. We have to come back as if nobody expects it from us.”