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August 26, 2009 > More MVAL football

More MVAL football

By Biff Jones

For the Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL) composed of American, Irvington, John F. Kennedy, Mission San Jose and Washington High Schools of Fremont, plus Newark Memorial and James Logan of Union City, the largest of the fall sports openings is just around the corner.

Irvington, Washington, Newark and Logan begin play on Friday, September 4 while Kennedy opens the next day. American and Mission do not start until September 11.

Irvington will be a young team, but they expect to have the personnel to fit their offense and put some points on the board. Defensively, the Vikings will be aggressive and fast with also some size. If they can shore up what they perceive to be any weakness, they may enjoy a potentially successful 2009 season.

Returning players for Head Coach Casey Kester are seniors Dane Burgess, Lucas Bush, Steven Gomez, Nick Harmon, Matt Kaufman, Roman Lee, Charles Stewart, Jim Thongkham and Dan Topps along with junior Nick Marino. New varsity players include seniors Chris Geronimo, Matt Lee, Warren Ocano, Jay Pannu, Austin Szelendak and Peter Yi. Juniors Scott Bennett and Theo Green along with sophomore Raeshawn Lee are also expected to make the 2009 Viking varsity football team.

Although only Fred Avina, Ron Odfina and Zack Silvernale return to the coaching staff, new coaches Jay Dore, Greg Kaufman, Joseph Robinson, Rich Sanchez and Charles Stewart have coached together for the better part of seven years.

Irvington opens at Mt. Diablo of Concord on September 4 before hosting Arroyo of San Lorenzo a week later.

Washington High Huskies Head Coach Ken Wittmer is expecting an exciting year after winning the MVAL Championship in 2008 for the first time in 10 years. They have a tough pre-season schedule against ranked teams California High of San Ramon, Deer Valley of Antioch and Pleasant Hill's College Park.

According to Coach Wittmer, "We have streamlined the coaching staff at WHS which now requires the varsity positional coach to be responsible for the JV players at the same position. So in reality, we have only JV coaches for game-day assignments.

"All practices are run with Varsity and JV together for program unity. We have seen great growth with this concept," Wittmer continued. "It would not work in all situations but in programs such as WHS where the numbers per team average 30 players, it works well."

Returning WHS players are senior captains Cedric Louis and David Ross. Other seniors coming back are Rico Donelson, Hassan Khalled, Tanner King, Thomas Lamas, Jack McCoy, Kevin Nganga, Dominic Perucca and Dustin Perucca. Also returning are juniors Deandre Carter and Casey Jennings (catcher on the Niles-Centerville Senior Little League team that made it to the finals of the Senior League Baseball World Series this past week).

Assisting Ken Wittmer are coaches Todd Beck, Antoine Brown, Dave Butcher, Tyler King, Ricky Rodriquez, Eddie Smith, Eric Wittmer and Ryan Wittmer.

No information was received from Mission San Jose nor John F. Kennedy high schools by press time.

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