Delta High School is coming off a successful 2012 prep football season in which it recorded a 6-2 3A WSL record and 8-4 overall. The Panthers advanced to the state quarterfinal round where they were eliminated from further play in state competition.
This year's Delta Panther players roster numbers 74 and promises to be another good year for the Panther faithful.
Ben Johnson will be entering his fifth season as the Delta High School head football coach and gets ready for his 20th season overall.
Johnson will have the services of six assistant coaches in 2013. Ryan Whittington returns for his seventh season as Delta's quarterback, running back and linebacker coach. He is the defensive coach for Delta as well.
Craig Cerise has returned to Delta where he will coach wide receivers and defensive backs. This will be Cerise's 10th year in football.
Also returning to the friendly confines of Delta County is Jeremy McCormick. Both Cerise and McCormick once served as head coach for the Paonia Eagles. McCormick will be in his 18th year and will work with the offensive and defensive linemen.
Lane Varner is a third-year coach for the Panthers, and he will work with outside linebackers and running backs.
Matt Hamm enters his second season for the Panthers and will work with wide receivers and defensive backs.
Delta has five seniors and two juniors who return as starters from a year ago. Senior Ryan Whiteside is 6-3 and plays wide receiver on offense and as cornerback on defense.
Senior Jasiel Garcia is the shortest (5-7) of the returning letter winners but is one of the heaviest at 250 pounds. He is expected to play on the offensive line and will anchor the defense as a nose guard.
Tyler Sandoval will see plenty of action on offense as a running back and will also play a key role on defense as a linebacker. Sandoval is 6-0 and weighs 195 pounds.
Cordell Stroud stands 6-3 and weighs 190 pounds and loves to hit people. He'll have ample opportunity to make his presence felt from his linebacker's position on defense.
Saul Sanchez will be a force at his defensive back position. He is 6-0 and weighs 170 pounds.
There'll be plenty of notoriety for juniors Marcus Garcia and Easton Byers.
Garcia is a healthy 6-4 and weighs 270 pounds and will be most helpful in moving the opposition out of the way from his offensive lineman's position. Byers will be a running back who packs a punch at 5-10 and 190 pounds.
Delta will also rely on some players who will have somewhat of a newcomer's tag. Junior Cade Gafford is one of the tallest players for Delta (6-6) and won't be hard to find as he lines up under center as the Panthers' quarterback. A 190-pound frame will serve as an offensive threat as both a passer and a runner for the Panthers in 2013. Gafford saw limited action last season.
Other newcomers include junior David Brown (5-7 and 150 pounds) who will see action as a defensive back. Chance Wolfe is another junior who weighs 250 pounds and plays on the offensive line.
At 220 pounds, Junior Alejandro Medina will make good use of his size on the offensive line while Kory Mills will see action as the Panthers' tight end (6-2 and 190 pounds).
Tristan Brown will be an untested commodity for the Panthers. The 6-2 freshman weighs 195 pounds and is a linebacker on this year's squad.
Coach Johnson, and the rest of the league, has Rifle, Palisade and Glenwood Springs as teams to beat. Some coaches see Delta as an add-on to that list.
The Panthers open their season with Gunnison at Panther Stadium on Aug. 30 with kickoff set for 7 p.m.blog comments powered by Disqus