Football: Ganske, Pasadena focused in spring
The Pasadena football team seemed to be turning a corner when they started 3-0 last season. But then they didn't win again, and it was back to the drawing board for the Eagles and their coaches.
"Our kids played hard all year, and I've preached to them basically all this offseason that the reason we didn't get where we wanted to go was because of discipline, doing all the little details right," Pasadena coach Jeff Ganske said.
"All those little things added up to make us not be good enough to win those games."
Building discipline and instilling an attention to detail was the focus throughout spring practice, which ended with the Eagles' spring game Wednesday. It was nothing fancy, just the basics.
Ganske and company will face the same challenges the program's dealt with for a while again this fall. The Eagles don't have a ton of participation, or a lot of the football talent needed to compete.
They came close last season, using a new spread offense to generate more points and more excitement, but small mistakes here and there snowballed into huge deficits in District 22-5A games.
Basically, the Eagles have to be perfect to win.
"It was disappointing because we're trying to get over the hump and it's an uphill battle here with our numbers, and we don't have a lot of speed, so between those two things we've got to overcome by doing everything right," Ganske said.
The Eagles' numbers were further depleted going into spring practice, which began May 2. Sophomore defensive line starters Jose Chavez and Luis Flores both were injured and didn't work out this month.
They also lost a move-in from Deer Park who Ganske thought could factor heavily into their plans this coming season to a torn ACL that likely will end his career.
Worse, the Eagles have been without first-year offensive coordinator Chris Towery, who was brought in to run their new offense. His family is still in Louisiana, and he's been there all spring.
"We're trying to see what's going to happen there," Ganske said.
Defensive backs coach Cirilo Ojeda, a graduate of Pasadena High, ran the offense during spring practice and did a good job, Ganske said, so no changes are planned for the Eagles right now.
"Hopefully everything will jive and our offense will be improved from last year," he said.
It'll have to jive with a new quarterback under center.
Rene Fuentes and Hector Davila, who split time at QB last fall, are graduating this month, leaving sophomore Nick Bernal to run the offense. He was a receiver last year but quarterbacked the freshman team.
"He's got enough speed where he can hurt you running the ball," Ganske said. "He's not superfast, but he's got enough speed to be dangerous there, and he throws a good ball.
"His biggest thing, what he's working on in spring training, is making decisions, going through your reads and being able to check down to different receivers, and he's working on that really hard."
Top running back Kris Ungacta also is graduating, so Julian Nance is being groomed to take over as the No. 1 ballcarrier. He saw spot duty at RB last year and played the whole season at linebacker.
"He's looking really good right now," Ganske said. "He's worked hard in the weight room and he's always been a workaholic."
Other players who've looked good this spring include three juniors: offensive lineman Armanda Chavana and linebackers David Hernandez and Xavier Hernandez, who both are much improved.
Chavana benches close to 400 pounds and squats well above the average, somewhere around 550 pounds.
"He's far and away our best offensive lineman and has some really good prospects for playing in college," Ganske said.
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