La Jolla High Vikings start season with confidence

By Ashley Mackin

The players on the La Jolla High football teams are amped. Coming off what Coach Jason Carter called “a very productive” scrimmage against La Jolla Country Day on Aug. 23, the guys are ready to kick off this season.

“I think we’re going to shock a lot of people because it’s not going to be like the teams that have been here before; it’s a different look from the offense standpoint and defense standpoint,” said newly appointed Carter.

Outside linebacker Ian Beed agreed. “I think this is finally the season we’ve been waiting for,” he said. ”I know we’ve been saying that for a couple of years, but now we have real change.”

that change stems from the training strategy imposed by Coach Carter. the players trained and conditioned since the spring, and they feel stronger for it. after the Aug. 23 scrimmage, Beed said, “I felt really conditioned ... like it was easy, I was ready for more, I was begging for more playing time.”

Receiver and safety Carlton O’Neal echoed his thoughts. “You could tell our conditioning was helping us out because they were winded and we weren’t,” he said of the torreys. “as the game went on, we got stronger and stronger and they got weaker and weaker. We’d like to get off to a strong start and stay strong (in future games) and we won’t fade toward the end of the game and we won’t get tired. the other teams won’t be able to keep up with our tempo.”

During the scrimmage, the Vikings came in quietly, but really gained momentum in the second half, eventually coming out on top, winning 56-14.

though Coach Carter said there isn’t one team they are eager to play over another, some players have their eye on the big prize. “We’d like to go get Madison (High school) because they are the state champs,” said O’Neal. “We’d like to steal one from them.”

Though looking forward to playing schools like Mount Carmel, left guard Michael Penny said the conditioning would be an advantage for them, no matter who they play.

“We know that we are more conditioned than most teams. We run a fast-paced offense, even if we’re playing teams from (top) schools that have a big selection of kids or private schools that can recruit, we’re confident that we’re in better condition than they are,” he said. “We’re just going to grind them down. they’ll get tired and we’ll come out on top.”

A refreshing change in attitude for the Viking’s JV and Varsity players, who Penny said are coming off a three-and-eight season. He called this season “a rebuild.” Further, Beed said he has been playing football at LJHS for four years and has never been this confident going into a season.

A lot of that is thanks to the system — and encouragement — placed by Coach Carter. “They have to be able to play with confidence; they have to be able to play with a sense of urgency and understanding that they belong on the field with the other team,” he said. “they have to know that all the work that they put in is worth it.”

So they practice and play with energy, lots of energy. Coach Carter said part of his job to make sure they have it, and show it.

Now all they need is the community’s support. The season opener was Friday, Aug. 30 against the Mount Carmel High sundevils at their Poway School District campus. The first home game is 7 p.m. sept. 13 (did someone say Friday Night Lights?) against Valley Center.

“We want to be a big part of this community and we’d like it if people would come down and support us and see how far we can go,” Beed said, “We think we can go really far this season and with the community behind us, we can only go farther.”