(Montebello) – Oh there were some big kids, and there were some small kids. There were some tall kids and some short kids. And there were some skinny kids and some…well…not so skinny kids. But the first thing I noticed when I walked out on to the practice field at Schurr High School Friday afternoon was the amount of kids. They were everywhere.
On the north end of the field they were running some offensive sets featuring quarterback Aaron Cantu throwing passes. On the south end offensive line coach Phil Jimenez was running a group through blocking drills. Somewhere in the middle HC Ben Negrete was overseeing some defensive drills facing a live offense.
There were also a couple more groups on the west end of the field (JV Squad) going through the paces.
Overall the total number of players from JV to the varsity was close to 150. It’s the first week of June but 150 is nearly twice the roster size that a majority of high school squads are running this time of year.
“We had about 100 last year so when we saw the increase we were like ‘what the heck?’ Jimenez said. “We’ve got some kids that we’re playing other sports so they might be a little raw but they definitely have potential.”
Cantu, the Spartans returning senior, was one of the 150 on hand as he fired long and short strikes to his receivers. He is expected to have a huge season after leading Schurr to the second round of the playoffs last year where the Spartans lost to eventual CIF finalist representative Diamond Ranch.
Chris Chiaromonte and Matt Contreras, both seniors will be on the receiving end of Cantu’s tosses. Cantu should be well protected by a line featuring center Albert Perez, and left and right tackles Alvin Garcia and Art Trejo.
Bradley Powell a junior is expected to be the primary ball carrier lining up behind Cantu.
Schurr historically has had a hard hitting defense and that shouldn’t change this year with linebacker Abe Gonzalez and Robbin Nell who will anchor the line at defensive end.
The Spartans won’t have to worried about depth however as they have plenty of guys waiting in the wings and itching to get on the field.
“It’s always nice to have this many players out. We’re excited about this season,” said Negrete. “We’re looking forward to it.”
Schurr, a favorite in the Almont League, has been placed in the newly configured Mid Valley Division this year along with leagues such as the Mission Valley, Rio Hondo, Montview, Valley Vista and Olympic.
“We really like it because it keeps it all local,” Jimenez said.
Schurr will be participating in several passing leagues over the next few weeks and on into the summer.
Cantu, who threw for 2500 yards and 28 touchdowns a year ago, has a busy month ahead of him. He is traveling to Arizona for a football camp this weekend and to Tulsa, Oklahoma the following weekend for another camp. Later this month he will be going to Las Vegas as he continues to refine his skills.