Football Preview: Balboa’s return to Turkey Day starts up front

After graduating three of the best players in the City, Balboa will find strength in it's offensive line of (from left) Matthew Dabit, Kendrick Martin, Alonzo Sweets, Jesus Pleitez and Gabriel Davis. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Bonta Hill

In high school football, rebuilding and replacing graduating seniors is an annual hurdle.

It’s no different at Balboa High School entering the 2011 season, as head coach Alvaro Carvajal has the task of replacing Academic Athletic Association Player of the Year Christian Pulusian, All-City quarterback Kerati Apilakvanichakit and standout running back Greg Warren, a trio that led Balboa to a Turkey Bowl appearance.

Senior David Lantow will take over for All-City quarterback Kerati Apilakvanichakit in Balboa's spread offense. (Photo by Devin Chen)

“When talking about replacing those cornerstone players in Christian, Kerati and Greg, it’s pretty simple — we do it with character,” Carvajal said. “We do it with character and discipline at this program. With any type of talent, we’ll always work with what we got, and go from there.”

Carvajal knows the production of those three players will be hard to replicate, but with his offensive line being the strength of this year’s squad, making another run at a championship could be attainable.

Center Alonzo Sweets, left tackle Gabriel Davis, left guard Jesus Pleitez, right guard Kendrick Martin and right tackle Matthew Dabit form the wall protecting senior quarterback David Lantow in Balboa’s spread offense, which averaged 38 points in league play last season.

“We have a lot of new faces, but we have a lot of willing workers,” said Sweets, a senior and captain for the Buccaneers. “We have the guys that we need, and that’s our biggest thing. We need guys that will work hard no matter what.”

As Lantow steps in under center replacing Apilakvanichakit at quarterback, Antoine Crecy and Lewis Moran will compete for carries at running back.

Seniors Andres Arellano and Keene Roque will look to help Balboa’s spread offense as the lead receivers, and help defensively at free safety and cornerback.

Pulusian, who played nearly every down at linebacker, running back, receiver and kick returner, will be irreplaceable. However, Balboa feels just fine coming into the season due to the work they’ve put in this offseason.

On top of weight training and conditioning, Balboa took part in a slew of football camps this summer, participating at programs hosted by Cal, Stanford, San Jose State and San Diego State.

Senior wide receiver Andres Arellano was a big-play threat in 2010 and has thrived in the spread. (Photo by Devin Chen)

Carvajal hopes it will be a springboard to a better non-league season, as Balboa finished 5-8 last season and lost all of its non-league games before making its run in the AAA to the Turkey Bowl.

“Before I got here, there was a culture of coming up short in this program,” Carvajal said. “The mind-set was like, ‘We’re not going to win any non-league games, but we’ll turn it up in league and win those games.’ Now it’s more of a sense of we can win, no matter if its preseason or league, and that victory can come in any given week.”

Although last season’s 36-6 Turkey Bowl loss to Washington stung the program, that memory has been washed away. Coaches and players at Balboa insist it’s a distant memory, as 2011 is the only thing they’re worried about.

“Last year, we did have great players, but this year’s team is ready to step up and work just as hard,” Arellano said. “It’s a process every day to get better, and we’re going to work hard and take this season week by week.”

2011 Schedule – AAA games in bold
Scrimmage: Sat. 8/27 – @ Riordan, 1 p.m.
Week 0: Sat. 9/3 – vs. Kennedy (Fremont) @ Washington (Fremont), 7 p.m.
Week 1: Sat. 9/10 – vs. Oakland Tech, 2 p.m.
Week 2: Fri. 9/16 – @ Analy (Sebastopol), 7 p.m.
Week 3: Bye
Week 4: Sat. 10/1 – @ Lincoln, 2 p.m.
Week 5: Sat. 10/8 – vs. Mission, 2 p.m.
Week 6: Fri. 10/14 – vs. Marshall @ SOTA, 3 p.m.
Week 7: Thu. 10/20 – vs. Lowell @ SOTA, 3 p.m.
Week 8: Sat. 10/29 – vs. Galileo, 2 p.m.
Week 9: Sat. 11/5 – vs. Burton, 2 p.m.
Week 10: Fri. 11/11 – @ Washington, 2 p.m.

If you enjoyed this article and value the coverage we provide, please consider making a donation to Help Keep SanFranPreps.com Alive!

(Photo Illustration by Josh Jalil)

Be Sociable, Share!

7 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    they think they raw….

  2. Anonymous says:

    They only play in the AAA no big deal

  3. Anonymous says:

    LOWELL got this

  4. Anonymous says:

    AAA is raw I don’t know what your saying

  5. The City says:

    AAA gets embarrassed on and off the field by non-league opponents, team put gal and lincoln and wash and mission on their schedules so they can boost their kids’ confidence with those 40-0 whoopings on the aaa, not out of respect

  6. Anonymous says:

    I dont think any AAA team got put down 40-0 in pre season. If you look at Washington they only lost 1 pre season game and it was by 7. they also beat irvington and oakland

  7. RAY says:

    BALBOA! BALBOA! BALBOA! RAAAAAAAAYYYY!

Leave a Comment

Comments that advocate violence, racism, or libel, as well as comments featuring profanity will not be permitted. Repeat offenders will have their commenting privileges suspended. All comments must abide by our Commenting Code of Conduct.