Tulare County high school football fans will have an opportunity to get an extended sneak preview of the 2012 Central Section football season over the next three days if they’re in a mood to watch some football competition.The 21st annual Redwood Trench Wars is today at Redwood High School, and the 30th annual Redwood Passing Tournament begins Friday with games at Redwood, Mt. Whitney and El Diamante high schools.The Trench Wars start at 4 p.m. today. Offensive and defensive linemen from more than 45 teams will compete in six events that test strength, power, agility and teamwork.Arroyo Grande won last year’s Trench Wars event, followed by El Diamante and Redwood. Expect El Diamante and Redwood to be near the top of the list again. El Diamante and Redwood took first and second place, respectively, at the El Diamante lineman competition on June 9.The passing tournament consists of 24 teams including defending champion Frontier and 2010 tournament champion Torrey Pines (San Diego). Twelve of Tulare County’s 18 teams will be in action, including all five Visalia schools and two Tulare schools (Mission Oak, Tulare Western).Perhaps the most intriguing bracket is the one that will take place at Mt. Whitney. Mt. Whitney, the 2011 Visalia city champion, will be joined by Central Coast power Atascadero, Fresno and a team from Aztec, New Mexico. Aztec finished second in last year’s tournament. Fresno is now coached by former Porterville coach Rick Stewart. Stewart’s career is filled with turning around languishing programs.Another bracket to watch is one that involves a possible David-Goliath matchup between Farmersville and Torrey Pines.Torrey Pines, one of the programs in the San Diego Section, will face a Farmersville team that features sophomore quarterback Sam Metcalf, who ranked among national leaders last year in yards passing, touchdowns and passing efficiency for a varsity freshman quarterback. Torrey Pines and Farmersville meet at 10 a.m. Friday at El Diamante
Redwood head coach Shaun Ball made it clear, "It was time, we either win or lose."
The first-year Redwood coach was referring to going for the two-point conversion in the second overtime against Sanger on Friday night.
The two teams had traded the lead several times in their Central Section Division II first round game at Groppetti Automotive Visalia Community Stadium.
But as the second overtime loomed, Ball said it was time to end the game. So after Sanger scored to take a seven-point lead, the Rangers, moreover quarterback Raul Alvarez and running back Jordan Morrison, had the game in their hands.
On third-and-goal from the 19, Alvarez found Manuel Rubalcaba in the end zone just in front of the pylon to draw Redwood within one point.
There was no joy in Mudville yet.
A few minutes later, there would be a raucous celebration for one team.
The two-point play was for Morrison to get the ball. And he delivered. The senior went left then cut back inside and scored to give the eighth-seeded Rangers a heart-pounding 42-41 win over the ninth-seeded Apaches in double overtime
"After last week, we just needed to make big plays," said Morrison, who had 56 yards rushing and 48 yards receiving. "It's been like that all season, when we've had to make plays, we've made them.
"Coach asked me in the huddle if I was ready to win the game and when I heard '29 Toss,' I was ready to go. I was a little nervous before but I saw the cutback and took it. It was the greatest feeling."
Redwood had a knack for coming back in its win over Sanger but a little luck didn't hurt either.
In the first overtime, the Rangers scored on Morrison’s 2-yard run. But there was a bad snap on the point after touchdown and Andrew Luis missed the PAT.
All looked lost for Redwood (6-5) especially after the Apaches’ Chris Santos bulled his way into the end zone, his fourth of the game. But on the ensuing extra point, Steve Villagomez missed it giving the Rangers new life.
“There was some adversity — we got into some bad spots — but the kids kept fighting back and believed in each other. Man, they came through at the end,” Ball said. “We made the plays when we needed to and that says a lot about these kids — how mentally tough they were tonight.
“The kids got it done. After the disappointment of last week, to get this and to feel this, is good for them. They deserve it.”
The game was tied at 7-all at halftime.
In the second half, there was an offensive explosion.
Redwood would lead 14-13 after three quarters but in the fourth, Sanger seemingly took control of the game.
The Apaches (4-7) led 21-14, 21-20 and 28-20 with 6 minutes, 35 seconds left in regulation.
The Rangers looked like they were driving for the tying score as Alvarez hit Ervin Yancy on a 51-yard bomb — one of his seven receptions for 240 yards.
That put them at the Sanger 21. But the Apaches defense stopped Redwood short of a first down.
Still, time was on the Rangers side. Their defense forced a punt but there was a bad snap. Sanger punter Jacob Anthony tried to run for the first down but Michael Saeteun tackled him before he could get there.
Redwood was in business at the Sanger 17.
But these are the Rangers and nothing comes easy for them. They ended up being faced with a fourth and 13 at the Apaches 20.
No problem for Alvarez as he stepped up and found Malik Harrison in the back of the end zone to make it 28-26.
Still, the Rangers needed to the two-point conversion to send the game into overtime. Alvarez was again called on to make a play and he did as found tight end Brodie Surfus all alone to tie at 28-all.
“We started out well than had a lull in the middle but I still stuck with my receivers, I knew we had the game,” said Alvarez, who finished with 366 yards on 22 of 44 attempts and three TDs. “Our team never gave up. We practiced so hard this week, we wanted this. We want to get that ring.”
Each team almost had the same number of total yards. Redwood finished with 475 while Sanger had 461.
Redwood now faces top-seeded Garces next week in Bakersfield in the quarterfinals. After last week’s loss to Mt. Whitney in the annual Cowhide Game, that’s a destination the players and coaches are happy to be headed.
“We just moved on from [the Cowhide],” Alvarez said. “We didn’t let it get to us because it was just one game — I know it’s a rivalry game but we just had to move on to this week.
“Without the [offensive] line and defense, the comeback would have never happened.”
HANFORD — The Redwood Rangers came out on Thursday night and were as efficient as can be in spoiling the home and season finale for the Hanford West Huskies.
The Rangers scored on six of their first seven possession and racked up 516 yards of total offense in manhandling Hanford West 43-6 at the Neighbor Bowl.
"It's kind of a tough game because we're coming off the high of the El Diamante game and next week's the Cowhide," Redwood head coach Shaun Ball said. "It's a Thursday night game and we're traveling again so it was a tough game for us as far as preparation-wise. But the kids responded and did exactly what I asked them to do."
After stopping Hanford West's opening drive of 17 plays, 55 yards and nearly six minutes off the clock, it took Redwood less than two minutes to take a 7-0 lead.
Jordan Morrison initially scored on a 16-yard run but a holding penalty took it back to the Huskies 26. No problem for Morrison who rumbled into the end zone from 26 yards for the first score of the night.
Morrison finished with 93 yards on eight carries.
The Rangers would have to punt on their next possession, but after that, they reeled off 29 straight points with three different players scoring touchdowns.
"We were able to throw a couple of times when we needed to," Ball said. "But getting that running game going was big for us. Our defense was solid. They have a bunch of athletes on that team and we were very solid defensively."
Redwood (5-4, 3-2) led 22-0 at halftime as Andrew Martinez caught a 36 yard touchdown pass from Raul Alvarez and Tony Hannah scored on a 4-yard run. Martinez had 84 yards on 14 carries.
The Rangers were clicking so well that even when there was a mistake, they were able to overcome it. After Hannah's score, the snap for the extra point was bobbled. Gabe Marquez scooped it up and threw the ball to Martinez for the two-point conversion.
Redwood came out in the third quarter and made no bones about what it was doing — just run the ball.
Alvarez punctuated the third-quarter drive with a 14-yard run. He finished with 50 yards on seven carries and was 5 of 6 for 99 yards and a touchdown.
"Raul I think is on the same path as the rest of the team," Ball said. "We're getting better and hopefully we're going to get where we want to go as far as improving."
The Rangers finished out the scoring with big dose of Hannah.
The senior running back scored on a 41-yard run and after giving up a score to Hanford West (3-7, 0-6) late in the third quarter, Hannah closed things out with a spectacular 80-yard run that saw him being gang-tackled at the Huskies 30-yard line. But all of a sudden Hannah broke free and scored for his third touchdown of the night. He finished with nine carries for 166 yards.
Redwood as a team had 417 yards rushing. The only negative for the Rangers was being penalized 11 times for 110 yards.
The fourth quarter was played with a running clock.
With the win, the Rangers clinched a playoff spot but more importantly, head into the 57th annual Cowhide Game with rival Mt. Whitney on a roll.
"We're starting to get better and closer to where we want to be," Ball said. "And it's at the right point in the season for that."
It may not be the ideal season game plan to follow, but the Redwood Rangers are showing signs that they could emerge as a force in the Central Section Division II playoffs — perhaps good enough to claim the outright city championship by season's end.
And during this process of growing into a solid team, the Rangers have discovered they have one of the Tulare County's top players in senior Jordan Morrison.
Behind a star-making performance by Morrison, Redwood moved to within a win from securing a spot in the Division II playoffs with a resounding 55-30 win over the El Diamante Miners Friday night at Giant Chevrolet-Cadillac Mineral King Bowl.
Having to play tailback because of injuries to other players, Morrison, a senior who entered the game as one of the area's leading receivers, scored five touchdowns on 114 yards rushing and 35 yards receiving.
"I was a little surprised that I broke out like this. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to play and perform," Morrison said. "This [win] was good for the team, it was good for the student section. This game means a lot to our school."
Morrison was part of a Redwood offense that performed like a well-oiled machine.
Redwood could do no wrong offensively from the 9-minute mark in the second quarter until the final gun sounded.
It was a simply a case of superb execution. Redwood scored on seven straight possessions which turned a close game into a virtual shredding — the Rangers were up 55-24 with 7:44 left in the fourth quarter.
Those seven scoring drives totaled just 33 combined plays.
"I think the kids are starting to feel more comfortable with what we're trying to do. They're starting to play at the level that we need them to play, and this is definitely the right time of the year to be doing it," Redwood coach Shaun Ball said.
Redwood (4-4, 2-2) took advantage of two El Diamante turnovers. The Miners coughed up the ball on their first two possessions to start the third quarter — an interception and a fumble — and the Rangers cashed those in for 14 points, using just four offensive plays to score the two touchdowns which extended Redwood's 20-10 halftime lead to 34-10.
The Rangers finished with 518 yards of total offense, and the 55 points was the most ever allowed by an El Diamante team. Redwood held the previous record with a 49-14 win over El Diamante in 2004, the Miners' first season.
Redwood junior quarterback Raul Alvarez had his most effective game of his career Alvarez was 17-of-20 passing for 238 yards and four touchdowns (all to different receivers) which equated to a 155.8 NFL-formula passing efficiency rating.
Redwood evened its record for the first time with the victory, and needs a win over Hanford West or Mt. Whitney to advance to the postseason. Over their last two games, the Rangers have scored 103 points.
The playoff forecast for El Diamante (1-7, 1-3) isn't nearly as pleasant.
The Miners must win their last two games to finish with a .500 WYL record, a requirement for a Visalia Unified school team if it doesn't have a .500 overall record.
"Redwood played a really good game," El Diamante coach Mark Rogers said. "At times we played well, at times we played poorly."
But was Rogers was disappointed with how quickly this game got away from El Diamante — the Miners were down 13-10 with less than two minutes left in the second quarter.
"You're always disappointed when you don't play up to expectations," Rogers said. "But we're going to continue to work hard, and try to improve. We still have two games, and those are two opportunities for us to still make the playoffs."
El Diamante scored three touchdowns over the final 15 minutes of the game, but the Rangers had done too much damage for the Miners to pose as any kind of threat during the second half.
Jacob Valdez was 13-of-22 passing for 171 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown. The Miners had 226 yards rushing on 36 carries.
After a less-than stellar offensive performance last week in a loss to Hanford, the Redwood Rangers flipped the script on Tulare Western in a nonleague contest at Giant Chevrolet-Cadillac Mineral King Bowl on Friday night.
The Rangers piled up 451 yards of total offense including two 100-yard rushers in defeating the Mustangs 48-21.
"The kids came out and they were ready to play," Redwood head coach Shaun Ball said. "We made a lot fewer mistakes than we did last week and it showed on the scoreboard."
Junior quarterback Raul Alvarez was efficient in his two-and-half quarters of play.
Alvarez completed 7-of-11 passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns. And he also made noise on the ground. Alvarez rushed for 105 yards on six carries including an 83-yard touchdown.
His backup, Jacob Gatewood, wasn't too shabby in the final quarter-and-a-half that he played. The sophomore was 7-of-9 for 75 yards and two touchdowns. His only mistake was losing a fumble on his first possession late in the third quarter.
"Both quarterbacks did a good job," Ball said. "Jacob deserved the time, so I wanted to make sure I got him in and got him into the flow of the game."
Also rushing for over 100 yards was receiver Jordan Morrison. He gained 105 yards on five carries with one of them an 80-yard touchdown run. Teammate Ervin Yancy had four catches for 49 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, the Rangers (3-4) held the Mustangs to just 14 yards on 13 carries. They also had three interceptions including Adam Johnson's 35-yard return for a touchdown just 24 seconds into the third quarter.
"Defense was good," Ball said. "The two passes we'd like to have back, but the defense definitely stepped up from last week."
Redwood led 21-0 at halftime and had a 28-0 lead before Tulare Western (1-6) finally put points on the board.
"It shows how much character you have to come back and actually fight," Chamalbide said. "I know a lot of teams would have given up. I'm glad my boys came out in the second half, put up some points."
All three second-half touchdowns scored by the Mustangs came off of Ranger turnovers, moreover, fumbles.
"We have to eliminate the turnovers and mental mistakes," Ball said.
As for the Mustangs, Chamalbide saw turning the turnovers into points as a positive sign for his offense and his team.
"That's what I was proud of — they came out and fought," Chamalbide said. "They hussled a little bit. We caught some breaks there but Redwood, they outhussled us.
"Redwood is a tough team. They play with a lot of passion and they get after it."
The Mustangs got two touchdown catches from receiver Jordan Maquinalez. He had one for 38 yards and another for 5 yards. He finished with five receptions for 111 yards.
Throwing him the ball was sophomore quarterback Anthony Avila. He finished 18-of-39 for 183 yards but had three costly interceptions. The Mustangs finished with just 197 yards of total offense and had 12 penalties for 96 yards.
"We're not clicking on all cylinders [on offense] but we are getting better every week," Chamalbide said. "We do have a good defense that normally does the right thing but we had some key injuries. We put a bunch of sophomores in and it showed."
Both teams return to league play next week. Redwood hosts El Diamante while Tulare Western is at home against Cesar Chavez.
"El D, even though their record isn't where they want it to be, they're still a good team," Ball said. "We got to stay focused and get the job done."
for the Times Delta
October 7, 2011
One team was looking for their first win of the year and the other was looking at finishing the second half strong.
Unfortunately for Golden West (0-5 overall, 0-1 West Yosemite League) the winless streak continues.
For Redwood, a little redemption from last week's loss and their first West Yosemite League win of the season.
The Rangers (2-3, 1-1) passed to a 25-0 halftime lead and chewed up the clocking with their running game in the second half to dump the 'Blazers 31-11 at Giant Chevrolet-Cadillac Mineral King Bowl.
"I'm happy for the kids. They gave a great effort all week and it showed tonight," said Redwood coach Shaun Ball.
Redwood running back Dominic Magana had a game-high 98 yards rushing on 14 attempts and scored two touchdowns on runs of eight and nine yards to pace the Rangers.
Redwood's 25-0 lead at the half gave the running game some repititions in the second half and Magana and company responded.
"This win felt good and I'm excited for our team," Magana said. "Coach told me to slow down and read my blocks."
The first half lead was built on a solid passing attack with Raul Alvarez airng it out for 167 yards through the air on the night by completing 14-of-28 throws and one 2-yard touchdown toss to Joseph Mendoza just five seconds into the second quarter. This was despite five dropped balls.
"We talked at halftime about not having a letdown in the second half and our success passing in the first half allowed us to run later in the game to milk the clock," said Ball.
Golden West got their first points on the scoreboard by a 22-yard field goal by Gonzalo Hernandez. The "Blazers then scored with just 27 seconds left in the game on a 13-yard pass from Austin Garcia to Angel Wirth as Wirth fought off a couple Redwood defenders for the ball.
"We have to change the atmosphere and believe in ourselves that we can play and we'll be fine," said Golden West coach Paul Preheim.
"They were blitzing heavy and we knew we had to open it up with our passing game in the second half."
Garcia completed 11 of his 23 passes for 132 yards but was intercepted three times.
Golden West's Devin Gomez led the rushing attack with 73 yards on just seven carries.
Redwood senior Jordan Morrison continues to be a focal point of the offense rushing for 31 yards and grabbing five passes for a game-high 79 yards.
"We have Hanford next week and they have a lot of experience on offense and are very athletic. It will be a challenging week for us," Ball said.
Golden West hopes to get in the scoring column next week when Lemoore comes to town.
Redwood vs Hoover
For the Times-Delta
Sept. 24, 2011
After an 0-2 start to begin the 2011 football season, Shaun Ball finally has something to smile about.
The first-year Redwood head coach earned his first victory with a 43-29 road win against Hoover at McLane Stadium.
"It feels really good," Ball said of the win. "I'm really proud of these kids; they earned it."
Rangers quarterback Raul Alvarez accounted for four touchdowns (two rushing and two passing), and Andrew Luis connected on a 26-yard field goal as the Rangers nursed a comfortable 37-6 lead with 11:17 to play in the fourth quarter after a Tony Hannah 5-yard touchdown plunge.
But it almost wasn't enough as the Patriots scored three unanswered touchdowns in a span of over six minutes to close the scoring gap at 37-29. Patriot receiver Travis Patton caught a little bubble screen and rumbled for a 58-yard touchdown reception to begin the late Hoover rally.
After a Redwood three-and-out and a punt, Hoover running back Davontae Williams broke off an impressive 43-yard touchdown on the Patriots' first play of that possession. Williams was flushed nearly 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage before racing towards the end zone untouched.
The Patriots scored again after a Redwood punt when quarterback Nick Peterson found receiver Silas Jones for a touchdown to narrow the margin to eight, but that's as close as Hoover would get.
"That was a little bit scary at the end," Ball said of Hoover's late rally. "It got the heart beating a little bit faster.
"You have to give them credit; they never quit."
Neither did Redwood.
With the game on the line, and after a failed onside kick by Hoover, the Rangers answered back when the team needed it most. Redwood converted a first down to keep the clock moving, and then when it seemed like disaster struck after Alvarez coughed up the football on third down, receiver Jordan Morrison picked up the loose ball to seal the Rangers' win, scoring the game's last touchdown.
"I wanted this win so bad," Alvarez said. "We been working so hard this week to get it and got it. We want more."
Alvarez passed for 170 yards on 13-of-22 passing and also added for 27 yards on the ground.
Redwood will hit the road again next week when it travels to face a familiar foe in Lemoore, Ball's former team.
HS Football Preview: Rangers set to start first season without John Yavasile as head coach in 23 years
Just like everyone else in the Central Valley, Shaun Ball is ready for the football season to begin.
It's been a hectic seven months since the former Lemoore head coach was brought in to take over the reigns at Redwood from longtime coach John Yavasile.
Because Ball still taught at Lemoore, everything to do with Redwood football he did in the evening. It wasn't until the 2011-2012 school year began that Ball got to be around his new football players all of the time.
"It was definitely grueling," Ball said. "But I've gotten in the groove. It's still hectic and my head is still spinning but I feel a lot more comfortable. It's a lot easier now because I'm around the kids all of the time. They know what to expect and what I want them to do."
While at Lemoore, Ball experienced a lot of success. He went 62-55, won a West Yosemite League title and a section title in his 11 seasons there. Even last year, Ball led the Tigers, who finished fourth in the WYL, to the Central Section Division II semifinals.
But to people in Visalia, moreover, Redwood alumni, that's Lemoore. Ball is now a Ranger and they are used to winning WYL titles, beating rival Mt. Whitney in the Cowhide Game and making deep runs in the Central Section playoffs.
"Our theme this year is 'old tradition, new era,'" Ball said. "We're going to keep some of the basic traditions of Redwood football, but we're also beginning a new era and hope it's in a positive manner."
And there's no doubt where Ball wants the program headed.
"We don't set goals as far as records or anything like that," Ball said. "We want to be the best. Our goal is to be great. It doesn't get more in-depth than that. We take care of that, everything else will take care of itself."
One thing lacking going into the 2011 season for Redwood is star power.
Gone are Dillon Root (Fresno State), Travis Beck (Cal State Northridge), Joaquin Murillo (Lewis & Clark College) and K.C. Pearce (San Jose State). They were the heart of the offense and defense for the Rangers as they reached the Division II quarterfinals last season.
Following in their footsteps could prove difficult as the battles for spots at quarterback, running back and wide receiver are still ongoing. Ball has yet to name a specific starter at those skill positions.
"We have a good group of kids coming back," Ball said. "We have a good group of kids coming up. There's potential there. The kids have responded. They've worked extremely hard to adapt to my system and the way I do things. It's shown in their performance in practice. The sooner they get comfortable, the more things we can do.
"I think there are a lot of unproven entities involved. I'm excited to see how they improve throughout the year."
Like most teams, the Rangers open up on Friday. They host Centennial-Bakersfield then the following week face Buchanan-Clovis. That's after scrimmaging Clovis last week.
Facing three strong Division I teams in four weeks — talk about testing your team right out of the gate. Ball said it should only make his team better as the season goes along.
"We got better as we went through the scrimmage with Clovis," Ball said. "It's a good challenge for us. We learned and improved as we went along. We get five more days of practice. We have some work to do to make sure we're ready to go against a high-quality opponent."
Golden West, Redwood hit the trenches with new head coaches
July 7, 2011
Written by ANDREW BETTENCOURT Visalia Times Delta
Estevan Felix has been an ideal model of what a strong work ethic can mean for a player in the Redwood Ranger football program.
Felix may not have a laundry list of college football coaches calling him this summer, but he has established himself as one of the county's premier offensive linemen because of time well spent at practice, in the weight room and on the field. He was named the 2010 Times-Delta/Advance-Register all-Tulare County first-team center, the only non-senior honored on the offensive line. So when a reporter asked Felix about his thoughts on entering his third year as the Rangers' starting center, Felix corrected him. "Hopefully, I'll be the starter," Felix said. Felix's answer might seem like just a humble statement that one might expect from an offensive lineman. But there was a clear, underlying tone in Felix's words: Every member of the Redwood football program knows that the 2011 season signifies starting a new slate with new head coach Shaun Ball, and every starting spot is up for grabs, no matter what accolades players have collected in the past. "I've got to work just as hard as everybody else, and right now everybody has been working pretty hard," Felix said. "We've been pumping a lot of iron. I feel good on how we're doing this summer, and how we're performing. Coach Ball has been pushing us to our limit. He'll get you to do as much as you can. We're having a good summer." The Rangers had another excellent showing at their 20th annual Trench Wars Thursday at Redwood High School. Redwood took third place. The top three teams were within a half-point of each other. Arroyo Grande won the football lineman competition. El Diamante was second. The Rangers won two of the six events, topping the field in the barrel relay and jump rope. "They're doing a great job this summer," Ball said of Redwood's linemen. "Matt Seals has coordinated the linemen competitions and the Trench Wars, and this was my first time to see [the linemen] compete and they did really well. They've done an outstanding job in the weight room all summer. I'm really pleased with their efforts." When told of Felix's comments about how he has to fight for a starting job, Ball explained that was part of the mindset that he wanted to establish in his first year as the Ranger head coach.
"I hope they understand the importance of competing all the time. Hopefully no one feels content on where they're at, and that they're always striving to get better," Ball said. One of the key developments for Redwood this summer is to see if the Rangers can remain a West Yosemite League contender with a new head coach, a new starting quarterback and a new featured running back. The Rangers fielding effective offensive and defensive lines would be pivotal in that quest, and some might suggest that Redwood's offensive and defensive fronts are in fine shape based on their impressive showing Thursday. But Ball is adamant that lineman competitions do not translate into how a group is going to play on the field. He is pleased with the effort, though. "This allows them a chance to compete. Everything you do to play this game, from lifting in the weight room all offseason to practice, it's about competition," Ball said. "You want to see players wanting to compete, and that's what this is all about."
REDWOOD EX-RUNNING BACK DILLON ROOT LOOKS FOR BIG FINISH
Redwood High's Root looks for big finish
Despite injuries, Rangers' standout ready for state success. Posted at 11:11 PM on Wednesday, Jun. 01, 2011 By Nick Giannandrea / The Fresno Bee
VISALIA – Redwood High track and field standout Dillon Root is brimming with confidence despite a senior season that started late because of a fractured kidney suffered in football and is ending with a tender hamstring he will nurse into the state meet.
"I feel like with all the training and stuff I've been doing this year, this is my best chance to ultimately win state in some event because that's my goal," said Root, who has completely healed from the kidney injury. "I'm strong enough to do what I'm supposed to do."
The four-time state qualifier is seeded eighth in the long jump with a wind-aided 23-6 and ninth in the 100 with a wind-aided 10.70 heading into Friday and Saturday's CIF State Track and Field Championships at Buchanan's Veterans Memorial Stadium. His legal bests are 23-7 and 10.93.
And Root – a Fresno State football recruit who has been an All-Bee selection in football and track and field during the past 12 months – said he's capable of more, particularly in the long jump, an event he placed sixth in as a junior and ninth as a freshman.
He said the big obstacles to making up the distance between himself and the four competitors who have sailed more than 24 feet this season are healing the hamstring on his left (launch) leg that he injured last week and perfecting his landing, which he called "lazy."
Rangers coach Randy Ziraldo said Root doesn't extend his feet all the way to the pit. Root worked on his landing all last week, hoping improved technique there alone is worth another 6 inches on his best jump, which would put him in the 24-foot club.
"I think it is in me," Root said. "I've been waiting for it all year. It just hasn't happened yet, but I think it will happen Friday, or if not Friday, because we might shut it down if we get into the finals, then Saturday it will definitely happen.
"I feel like the atmosphere of the state meet will bring it out of me because there is nothing like it. It's a whole different level of athletes. I look forward to the competition."
Ziraldo believes Root has more in him, too.
"If Dillon puts it together and gets his approach right, gets his takeoff angle correct, he could be in the lead real easy," said last year's Bee Coach of the Year. "He has the ability. He's got the speed, he's got the strength, and he's got the coordination. I can see him going past 24 feet, but as always, you've got to get to 24 feet first."
In the 100, Root knows there is a big separation between him and the elite of the state, where Covina's Remontay McClain sets the pace with a legal 10.31.
There are 13 other runners with legal times faster than Root's wind-aided mark, but as Ziraldo says, there's always someone not ready for state and it's Root's challenge to go by anyone who slips up.
"That's a big goal of mine, just to make the finals," Root said. "I didn't quite make it last year, and if I do this time, I'll be happy. If I run faster than 10.7 and [set a personal record,] I'll be really happy."
After Saturday, Root's focus will turn to football, a sport where he set career records in rushing yards (3,653) and scoring (332 points) for the Rangers before signing with Fresno State.
"I'm ready to start over and see if I can do it better in college than I did in high school," said Root, who would also like to run track for the Bulldogs if his coaches and schedule allow it.
Tulare County football teams use spring, summer to prepare for fall
June 24, 2011
Written by ANDREW BETTENCOURT
New Chief Ranger
A new era of Redwood football gets under way with former Lemoore head coach Shaun Ball taking over the Rangers after John Yavasile's successful 22-season reign. Like Rogers at El Diamante, Ball also has to find a new starting quarterback and a new featured running back. Ball made it clear that all of the Rangers' starting positions are up for grabs with a new head coach at the helm, but he is very pleased with what he sees at Redwood. "I'm really excited with how things are going," Ball said. "I'm excited about how the kid are responding to our system. It's been a lot of fun." Any concerns that Redwood may need a year under Ball's system in order to be a WYL contender? Not really. "I think so," Ball said when asked if he expects the Rangers to have a successful season. "These kids know how to play football. It's not rocket science. If we keep working hard and improving, we have a chance to be very competitive."
Numbers Game One area where Ball won't have to be too concerned with is the number of players in the Redwood program. Ball said that he has 66 players on the varsity team and 55 on the junior varsity team. "It's nice to have those types of numbers. It gives you all kinds of options," Ball said.
QB Derby There are several starting quarterback battles taking place inside county lines, here's a look at a few: Ranger Danger?: Ball stated that Redwood's massive numbers provides him plenty of options, and that couldn't be more evident in the fight for the Rangers' starting quarterback post. There were four players used at quarterback during the El Diamante passing tournament. The focus is probably on two players — sophomore Jacob Gatewood and junior Raul Alvarez. Ball didn't give any hints on who might win the job, or who's the frontrunner, or if the situation will be settled by the time fall practice begins in August. It should be something that intrigues Redwood fans, though, if they plan to attend the Redwood Passing Tournament. The Redwood passing tournament is July 8-9, and Ball said there are 27 teams scheduled to participate. The Redwood Trench Wars are slated for July 7 with 40 teams participating.
REDWOOD EX-QB MURILLO GOING TO COLLEGE
June 23, 2011
Murillo set to head to Lewis & Clark after all-star game 11:21 PM, Jun. 23, 2011
Written by DAMIAN MARQUEZ Visalia Times Delta
Redwood High School quarterback Joaquin Murillo will wear his Ranger helmet one last time in Saturday's Tulare/Kings Counties All-Star Football game at Bob Mathias Satdium in Tulare.
And once that game is over, Murillo will be looking forward to the near future when he begins to wear a Pioneer helmet. But not a rival Mt. Whitney Pioneer helmet. Murillo will be attending Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore. in the fall where he will play Division III football for the Pioneers. "It is crazy how things work out," Murillo said. "I've been at Redwood and now I have to become a Pioneer. I hear a lot of jokes from my friends, but in the end, I just want to play ball." Murillo admits he has been given a bit of a bad time by his Ranger classmates for becoming a Pioneer, but doesn't mind one bit because of the $49,000-plus he will be receiving yearly to attend Lewis and Clark. Murillo said Lewis and Clark started to show interest in him after a Nike scouting combine he attended. The combination of football, academics and a ROTC program was too attractive for Murillo to pass up. Murillo isn't receiving a football scholarship, but football paved the way for the school to find him scholarships and grants that will pay most of his tuition. "It is a blessing in disguise," Murillo said. "Football is my passion. The fact that I'm playing Division III is not a big deal. The bottom line is I still get to play football. That's been my goal since I was in fourth grade." Standing at a generous 5-foot-10 and weighing 175, Murillo isn't exactly the prototypical size that Division I football recruits are looking for in a quarterback. But former Redwood coach John Yavasile says Murillo has the intangibles needed at the quarterback position. "He has the athletic ability," Yavasile said. "He didn't light up the scoreboard, but has a lot of things that go will with playing quarterback — leadership, discipline, accountability and good foot speed." Yavasile has been around long enough to know that not every player is a Division I talent — not very many are — but that doesn't mean they can't keep playing football somewhere.
"One thing about kids is they always think they can play Division I football," Yavasile said. "That's a reach for a lot of kids. But there are a lot of good Division II, Division III and NAIA schools they can go to and play and get some of their education funded."
Murillo intends to take complete advantage of the opportunity that has been placed in front of him. Murillo will play football, major in biology and join the school's Army ROTC program. He said he plans on graduating in four years, and upon graduation and completion of the ROTC program he will be a second lieutenant in the Army. "My dad is in the Army," Murillo said. "He is in his 16th year there and it is the way I have lived. I lived the military life and I liked it." Murillo will leave for Lewis and Clark in mid-August, and Yavasile is excited about having yet another one of his players continue his playing career while getting his education paid for. "I love to see kids go on and further their education however they can," Yavasile said. "If they can use sports, that's awesome. Whatever motivation they need to continue their education is great. And I know Joaquin will do a great job up there."