The Panthers picked this word as a motivator, and its meaning is one that second-year head coach John Lucido has been preaching to the players throughout summer workouts. Antioch believes it can turn things around after winning just three games in the past two years. The Panthers haven’t beaten a Bay Valley Athletic League foe since an Oct. 23, 2009 victory over Freedom.
But the power of belief is strong. Antioch feels that with an experienced squad and a year of Lucido’s spread offense under its belt, it can start to grow this season.
Lucido is excited about this year’s ground attack led by seniors Josh Oseguera and Eddie Robinson. Oseguera could be a major force this season as halfback, receiver, kick returner and linebacker.
“We need to give him the ball at least 20 times a game,” Lucido said. “He’s our guy. He’s a great athlete. He’s a good kid with a lot of heart. It seems like he doesn’t ever get tired.”
Robinson, before his 2010 campaign ended with a knee injury, led the Panthers with 609 yards and three touchdowns.
Last season’s backup quarterback, senior Troy Amate, will take over under center. Lucido liked the improvements Amate made over the summer and is impressed with his ability to read defenses. Jeremy Bittle, a senior receiver and defensive back, made 14 tackles and snagged an interception last year. Senior linemen Tory Ramirez and Nick Reyes should also play major roles for the Panthers this season.
Anthony Borelli, a senior linebacker and receiver, caught two touchdown passes last year.
Amate’s understudy, Hunter Karnthong, looks to be a solid athlete not just at the quarterback position, but as a linebacker. Karnthong will likely be Antioch’s starting outside linebacker. Elbert Hamilton, a junior, will join Robinson and Oseguera at running back.
Darrion Jones, who also runs track for the Panthers, could be a force as cornerback and receiver. Lucido loves the junior’s speed and his ability to run precise routes.
Antioch will draw from its talented wrestling team to fill out its defensive line. Senior Kyle Clark, who transferred from Oregon last year and wasn’t able to play, will likely start at defensive end. Clark is one the most dominant wrestlers in the North Coast Section in the 215 pound class. Lucido said Clark has the talent to “manhandle” offensive linemen.
Despite a tough schedule, Lucido feels the Panthers have improved enough since last season to add a couple crooked numbers to the win column. “We’ve got a lot of experience coming back,” he said. “We’re moving forward and everything’s looking pretty good.”
The Panthers again face Mt. Diablo, their one victory from last season, on Sept. 30 at home. Non-league match-ups against Clayton Valley on the road and Napa at home will prove to be early tests for Antioch.
The Panthers’ league schedule is also no pushover. They face crosstown rival Deer Valley, its eyes on a league title, on Nov. 4 in the Mayor’s Cup. The next week, Antioch travels to Pittsburg for the 93rd installment of an East County tradition – the Big Little Game.
Game to watch: Sept. 9 vs. Clayton Valley
Head coach Kevin Tracy is excited about the offense that the JV Panthers will put on the field. Sophomore quarterback Isaac Lewis will start under center. Tracy said Lewis has a firm grasp of the offense and makes good decisions.
Lewis will appreciate the talent on the other end of his passes in the form of sophomore wideouts Joseph Beasley, Leonard Grillo and Alex Gerardo. Sophomore running back DJ Wall figures to be a key part of the offense as well.
On the other side of the ball, sophomore linebackers Lorenzo Cortez and Antonio Kinkade will help keep some points off the board.
September 2, 7:30 PM @ Gregori (Modesto)
September 9, 7:00 PM @ Clayton Valley (Concord)
September 23, 7:00 PM vs. Napa
September 30, 7:00 PM vs. Mt. Diablo (Concord)
October 7, 7:00 PM vs. Northgate
October 14, 7:00 PM* @ Heritage
October 21, 7:00 PM* vs. Freedom — Homecoming
October 28, 7:00 PM* @ Liberty
November 4, 7:00 PM* vs. Deer Valley — Mayor’s Cup
November 11, 7:00 PM* @ Pittsburg — Big Little Game