RIO VISTA — If part of having a “bad year” is making the playoffs, as the Rio Vista High football team did last season, Rams coach Cliff Malta is excited about the prospects for 2013.
Rio Vista returns eight starters on offense, seven on defense, including senior fullback Chace Marlowe, who rambled for 1,584 yards and 26 TDs last year, according to Maxpreps.com, He averaged 144.0 yards per game and 7.9 per carry.
Malta, who is 18-15 in three seasons as Rams coach, is a big fan of experienced players.
“You don’t have to start from beg with everything,” he said. “We have five guys with three years of varsity experience. There’s five guys who know system really well. They’re coaching guys on the field as much as we are.”
Also back is senior wingback Tanner Layton (558 yards, 5 TDs). Sophomore Dylan Eggers is at quarterback.
Back up front are center Tyler Gomes, left tackle Brady Swink, left guard Eric DelAguile and right guard Freddy Alvarez, as well as tight end Jose Torres, all seniors.
The strength of the defense is at linebacker where the Rams return Gomes and Torres in the middle, junior Hernan Ruiz on the left side.
Returning on the defensive line are seniors Nick Duran at left tackle and Alfonso Gilebarto at nose tackle.
Marlowe and Layton are back in the secondary at left cornerback and strong safety, respectively.
Gomes and Marlowe are Rio Vista’s only returning All-Sierra Delta League players.
The Rams will have additional depth this season, including a roster with more than 30 players. That’s not necessarily a plus, however, as there weren’t enough players for a junior varsity team, forcing the school to go with just varsity – including freshmen – in 2013
Malta wouldn’t say what his biggest areas of concern are but said the team’s goals are to win the SDL and Sac-Joaquin Section titles. He sees Bradshaw Christian and Highlands as the biggest challengers in the pursuit of the former.
As for what it will take for the Rams to reach those goals, according to Malta it’s not that complicated.
“I’m a pretty simple guy, football’s a pretty simple game. If you block good and tackle good you win. Whenever we have a good tackling team, we’re in every game. There’s not many teams that are going to go down the field 5 yards at a time. If you’re a good blocking and tackling team, you’re going to win most of them.”
The Rams look to win the first one when they host rival Delta of Clarksburg in the annual “Battle for the Bell” on Friday at 7 p.m.
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.