The Fullerton College football team opened the season against Long Beach Saturday. The team dominated, scoring 28 points in the first half en route to a 41-21 win.
They will be led by new quarterback Jose Escobar, who threw for two touchdowns and 211 yards in the opener.
“It is so imporant to get a win Saturday,” Poti said. “We want to win state so we need to get a win and carry it through for the rest of the year.”
They are looking to improve on a season that saw them go 7-4 and 6-1 in conference play. They also won the Western State bowl against Citrus College.
Even though the team has a lot of returning players, there are a few big questions marks after a few players moved onto the next level. Punter Nick O’Toole is playing for West Virginia and kicker Jesse Aguilar is playing at Sacramento State. All Conference quarterback Conor Bednarski has also moved on to Stony Brook.
Bednarski threw for 2,453 yards and 25 touchdowns last year. It appears that Jose Escobar will be asked to take over the starting quarterback job.
“Jose Escobar will most likely be the starter [this season]” Byrnes said. “Blake McKenzie will also see some time though.”
Although Escobar will have his work cut out for him, the fact that the whole offensive line is returning should help him a lot.
“Our whole line is returning,” said sophomore offensive lineman Brian Hobbs. “We were really good last year, and I think we will be even better this year.”
The return of one thousand yard rusher Ryan Byrd should also take some off the pressure off of Escobar.
“We are going to run Byrd a lot,” Brynes said. “That and a lot of play action. With our offensive line, we plan to play a lot of smash mouth football.”
The defense is also expected to be dominant. The Hornets will show a lot of aggression and try to make plays on defense.
“Our motto this year is eleven hats to the ball on every play,” said sophomore linebacker Simon Poti.
There are a lot of guys returning on the defensive side of the ball. There should be no lack of defensive leadership.
“We are a real tight-knit group,” Poti said. “Between myself, Justin Owens, Corey Ferguson and Alex Bernstein, we have a lot of guys to show the younger guys how to fly around and make plays.”
If all plays out as planned, the Hornets should compete for the the conference title at the very least. The biggest question remaining for the Hornets is how the kicking game will play out. With Aguilar and O T’oole leaving, the Hornets need to replace an All Conference kicker and punter.
“The one place I am a little worried is the kicking game,” said head coach Tim Byrnes. “We have some guys who have looked good in practice, but it is a matter if performing in games.”
Anthony Martinez will likely be the punter and Casey Eyman and Ian Boozer will compete for the kicking duties.
“This team is not going to lose a game this year unless we beat ourselves,” Hobbs added. “We are probably the best team in California, and want to go out and show it early.”
The next game for the Hornets will be Saturday at Cerritos College. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.