Daily Journal Sports File
Alec Goff was a standout defensive back for El Camino last season and is expected to make more of an impact on offense this season for the Colts.
There is little secret what the El Camino coach Mark Turner wants to do with the Colts offense: pound the ball on the ground.
The big question is: who will that be?
With the loss of running back Brandon Gip to graduation, Turner is tasked with finding his replacement. Turner said he has a number of guys who could fill the role. He’s just hoping to find that one workhorse back.
“Everybody knows we’re going to run it and usually we’re going to run it well. To have success, we’re going to have to control the line of scrimmage. Whether it’s one guy doing it or three guys doing it, we have to do it,” Turner said. “We have three guys who are competing [to be a feature back]. … I think we can do the rotational thing, but I prefer to know who that (main) guy is, who is going to take us where we want to go?”
Where the Colts want to go in the Central Coast Section playoffs. The only way to do that, however, is to win the Peninsula Athletic League’s Lake Division championship. They have been in the mix for the title the last several years — finishing in a three-way tie for first two years ago – but have come up short in their quest for the playoffs.
“We’ve been close the last couple years,” Turner said. “We’re senior heavy. Those guys have had some taste of success and have also had the taste of being close. These guys are hungry.”
Until a main running back emerges, however, Turner likes the options he has in the offensive backfield. A pair of seniors, Alex Goff and DJ Evangelista, figure to see some carries this season, but those two are critical to the El Camino defense — Goff at safety and Evangelista at linebacker.
“(Goff) is one of our, overall, best players and will be a major player as a running back,” Turner said. “(Evangelista) is a pretty solid player for us.”
As such, Turner is hoping junior J.P. Nacion can emerge as the Colts’ every-down back.
“He’ll probably play a pretty good role for us,” Turner said. “He’s still picking up (our offense). He would be fresher to run the ball, because of a lack of a defensive position.”
On top of the running back situation, Turner will also be breaking in a new quarterback. Turner said there is a two-man battle at the position, but that senior Andrew Pierotti has the inside track. Pierotti served as the Colts’ backup last season, but didn’t see any playing time at the spot.
“There’s been little struggles here and there,” Turner admitted. “But he understands things. He’s a competitor. He’ll be OK. … If we can perform [at quarterback] and make a few plays there, we’ll be fine.”
Pierotti’s receiving targets will be Andres Abarca, a two-way starter last season, and Armin Webb.
“[Webb] is a good all-around athlete,” Turner said. “He should play a significant role, contributing both ways, but is more of an offensive guy.”
The Colts’ strength on offensive should be the offensive line, which features two players who have received all-league honors over the last couple of years. Guards Malik DeMartha and Darnel Salcedo are both seniors and three-year starters. DeMartha was an all-league selection last season, while Salcedo earned that accolade the previous year as a sophomore.
Anchoring the line will be senior Gabe DeOliveria, who came on strong last season, starting the last seven games in 2013.
Like a lot of teams in the PAL, El Camino’s key players will be playing both offense and defense, so expect some of the same guys on offense to be counted on to lead the defense as well.
Shukry Lama, made a name for himself on defense last season, earning all-league honors as a defensive lineman. This year, he is taking a couple steps back and lining up as a linebacker.
“He’s always wanted to play linebacker. He’s definitely a good player,” Turner said. “When it comes to physical part of the game, that’s when he stands out.”
Coach: Mark Turner, 5th season
2013 record: 3-2 Lake Division, 6-4 overall
Key returners: Alec Goff (sr., RB/DB); Malik DeMartha (sr., OL/DL); Darnel Salcedo (sr., OL/DL); Gabe DeOliveria (sr., OL/DL); DJ Evangelista (sr., TE/LB); Shukry Lama (sr., LB); Armin Webb (jr., WR/DB); Andres Abarca (jr., WR/DB).
Key newcomers: Andrew Pierotti (sr., QB); J.P Nacion (jr., RB).
2014 schedule (home game in CAPS): Sept. 6, @ Washington-SF, 2 p.m.; Sept. 13, ARAGON, 2 p.m.; Sept. 20, LINCOLN-SF, 2 p.m.; Sept. 26, @ Wilcox-Santa Clara, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10, @ Carlmont, 7 p.m.; Oct. 17, KING’S ACADEMY, 3 p.m.; Oct. 24, @ Capuchino, 7 p.m.; Oct. 31, @ Jefferson, 7 p.m.; Nov. 7, MILLS, 7 p.m.; Nov. 15, @ South City, 2 p.m.