APTOS — The North Monterey County Condors return two big players to their 2013 roster. Big in terms of scheme and big in terms of size as well.
Senior linemen, Peter Best and Jonathan Servin, both All-Monterey Bay League Pacific first teamers, will lead the quick and speedy NMC ball carriers to pay dirt this year as they anchor the left side of the offensive line.
“I’m kind of old school I like to run the ball,” said interim head coach Hector Villalobos.
But don’t peg the Condors as a one-dimensional team. They’ll try their best to stay balanced in their offensive attack with sophomore quarterback Jordan Graves.
“I feel excited,” said Graves. “I really like playing with these guys. They treat me like a family, and I just like everything about them.”
Graves steps into a position that was filled by committee last season. Josh Garnett and Isaiah Garcia both saw time under center for the Condors last season, but this year they’ll lean on the young Graves to fling the ball around.
“As far as technique and mobility,” said Villalobos, “that’s why we have him there.”
Graves started last season on the freshman team, and has played quarterback since his pop warner days, so he says there’s no pressure going into Saturday, just a little “nerves”.
Still, the Condors strength will lie in their running game.
Best, their 5-foot-9-inch 250 pound center, and Servin, their 6-foot-1-inch 270 pound left tackle will help running backs Josh Garnett, Carlos Anaya and Julian Quintero find their way through the defense.
Garnett will shift into the running back position this season, and give the Condors offense another explosive weapon to use.
Last season he ran for 245 yards on just 39 carries.
“I feel like I can help the team out by playing running back this season,” said the 6-foot 170 pound back. “We were low on running backs and I can run the ball and hit people.”
Anaya, who was the second leading rusher behind Rufino Calderon last year’s MBL Pacific co-most outstanding player, will expect to see the most carries.
On 90 attemps he was able to tally 481 yards and seven touchdowns.
Speed is what has made Quintero a defensive weapon since his sophomore season on varsity, and he’ll try and show that speed off while carring the ball this year.
“Defensively we’re solid and offensively we’re good, but we can always improve,” said Servin. “We’ll make a few tweaks before Saturday, but we’re ready.”
Another returner to the offensive line is Orlando Banuelos, a 6-foot 270 pound guard, who will also be in the running for All-League honors this year.
The Condors will start their season against Galileo of San Francisco Saturday at home at 2 p.m.
They have never played against the Bay Area team, but from watching film Villalobos said one thing stands out: speed.
Something that his defense, which has a good mix of youth and returning talent, will look to stop.
J.P. Garcia, who played on the junior varsity last season before being moved up in the final games of the season, is part of a strong junior class and has become one of the leaders of the defense according to Villalobos.
The Condors, along with everyone else in the MBL-Pacific, feel like they have a chance at winning the division this season especially with the departure of Seaside, MVC and Alisal.
“I like out chances,” said Villalobos. “We feel like we’re going to come out every game and compete. Football is one of those things that you have to take every week. That’s what we tell our kids, ‘let’s just worry about the three things: executing, hustle and having a good time.’”
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