Hardened Highlanders ready for season
The start of football season is quickly approaching and the La Habra High School football team is giving it their all in hopes of going deep in the playoffs this year.
With another Freeway League title under their belt, the Highlanders are coming off a 10-2 season after losing a close game to Newport Harbor in the second round of playoffs. That post-season sting will serve as motivation for the Highlanders this upcoming season.
“We left a little disappointed last year and [this year] we’re looking for more,” said Frank Mazzotta, La Habra head coach.
This season brings new challenges for La Habra, but one thing that will stay the same is tradition.
“I expect them to play hard,” Mazzotta said. “Our number one goal is always to play hard no matter what. I expect that tradition to not change. La Habra kids play hard and we’re going to play tough.”
As the summer practices are coming to an end, Mazzotta plans to see some skilled players, on both offense and defense, stepping foot on the field this fall.
“I expect to see some kids with some skill,” Mazzotta said. “We’ve got some good wides out and some good running backs.”
With a mixture of rookies and experienced players, a young offensive and defensive line won’t stop the Highlanders from going hard and giving it their all this season.
“Our quarterback is returning with a lot of experience and he can get the ball to all of them,” Mazzotta said. “I expect to see some defensive kids who are aggressive and athletic. We have two really good corners and three really good linebackers as well. I expect to see us play at our normal level of toughness, effort, and total consistency.”
The Highlanders return eight starters this season, including Junior quarterback Eric Barriere. Last season Barriere threw for 2,401 yards and 29 touchdowns.
With a full year of varsity experience under his belt, the sky is the limit on what this young quarterback will bring to the field this season.
“I think I have more experience this year from last year,” Barriere said. “Now I have another year under my belt so I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing. I’m looking forward to playing some good teams. I want to have a good season and make it to the championship this year.”
Along with a solid quarterback, the Highlander’s running back, Carlos Martin, and wide receivers are projected to have a solid season.
“I’m looking forward to playing with my teammates, having fun, winning some games and having a good year because it’s my senior year,” Martin said. “I’m looking forward to my first game and hopefully my last will be the CIF championship at Anaheim Stadium.”
Defensively, La Habra’s corners and linebackers are ready to come out strong and challenge teams this year.
With an interesting preseason schedule, the Highlanders plan to use those games to enhance their skills and prepare for league.
La Habra’s first preseason game will be at home against El Toro High School on August 29.
“It’s going to be a challenge and that’s what our kids want, that’s what we want, that’s what our fans expect, and it does make you better,” Mazzotta said. “The tougher teams you play early is like hardening that steel.”