Vista Murrieta (Murrieta, Calif.)
was likely the best team in Southern California last season but never got to prove it.
A roster technicality forced the Broncos to forfeit five games last season. Despite the fact that it won its section by beating both Upland and Corona Centennial, Vista Murrieta was overlooked for the CIF Bowl Games.
In 2012, with an impressive arsenal of skill players returning, Vista Murrieta could be as good or better than last year.MaxPreps Preseason Top 25 High School Football Early Contenders
Offensively, 6-foot-4 quarterback Nick Stevens
returns. A pleasant surprise a year ago, Stevens guided the offense and threw for 1,692 yards while rushing for another 906 yards. Transfer Kishawn Holmes
, who rushed for more than 1,200 yards last year, will be big for the Broncos. Running back Kei-ron Long
, who boasts 10.9 speed, returns in the backfield alongside the team’s top returning rusher, Su'a Cravens
Not only is Cravens the team’s leading rusher and the team’s leading defensive player, he’s the top defensive back in the country and one of the top players in the state of California in years. In every game it plays this season, Vista Murrieta will have the best player on the field.
While the offensive line is a weakness, the team’s defensive line will be a strength. Curtis Bolton
and Tyler Cook
return at defensive end, while Grant Clearly
will plug the middle. Bryce Smith
is back at linebacker, where Cravens saw most of his defensive reps last fall. The secondary will be entirely new.
While there are certainly holes to fill, Vista Murrieta, in its 10th season, has not thrived on huge linemen and superb athletes. It may not be the most imposing team walking off the bus, but it plays very well as a team and will be extremely hungry in 2012.Local look:
“When Coley Candaele took the football coaching position at Vista Murrieta nine years ago, he established a set of goals for the program shaped in the form of mountain. After a few close calls and narrow misses, the Broncos reached the summit Friday night.” - Eric Paul Johnson, Riverside Press-Enterprise, after Vista Murrieta downed Corona Centennial in the Inland Division title game.