2014 Tulare County Football Preview

We are a weekly newspaper serving the communities of Exeter, Lindsay, and Woodlake California.

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8 • MKP, INC. S ince his sophomore season, Austin Car- doza has been a run- ning back to watch. In his first year as a starter, Car- doza rushed for 1,706 yards on 292 carries. In his junior year his rushing yards went up and his carries went down. He ended the season last year with 1,884 rushing yards on 240 carries. That puts his career totals in rushing yards at 3,590 on 532 attempts. By the time this season is over Cardoza could be over 5,000 yards rushing in a career and also it should have him looking at many more offers to play at the next level. Not wanting to leave California to go to school, Cardoza has his sights set to play for the Cal Poly Mustangs but will definitely consider any other offers that come his way. After heading to an elite camp in Los Angeles over the summer he was able to get more exposure to col- lege coaches. He was one of seven running backs at a Los Angeles camp selected to go to a top gun camp in Ohio. In Ohio, Cardoza ran drills next to some of the nation's best high school running backs. The experience gave him something he wasn't expecting to walk away with - confidence. He gained valuable exposure in front of key college coaches and recruiters. But more impor- tantly, he began counting himself among the nation's best running backs heading to college next year. "I thought they would be a lot bigger a lot more ath- letic, but in all honesty we were all in the same boat," said Cardoza. Heading into this final season as a member of the Exeter Monarchs, Cardoza will be running in a differ- ent offensive scheme. The Monarchs are looking to run more of a spread offense that will see Cardoza in the slot position. Cardoza feels this will help him get to the next level just be- cause it will show college coaches just how versatile he can be. You will even see Cardoza play on the defensive side of the ball as well which really has him excited. Even though he wants to play at Cal Poly next season, he said he will re- ally have to do some hard thinking if another California college gives him an offer. One thing he is really go- ing to look at is the type of scheme the team runs and how he will be used. There is no doubt about it that Cardoza will be hav- ing schools come calling on him, especially when Cardoza ends his senior with just over 5,000 rushing yards. #33 Austin Cardoza RB <> Exeter Unified High School Senior <> 5'5" <> 139 lbs. M ission Oak was nearly unstop- pable last season, falling two points shy of a perfect season and a Valley Championship. The Hawks' powerful offense and punish- ing defense dominated the competition – and Le'Andre Jefferson played a role on both sides of the ball. At 5'10", 185-pounds, Jef- ferson is being recruited by numerous D-I colleges as a defensive back position after a junior season where he helped the Hawks defense allow just 9.8 points a game. Jefferson led the team with 4 interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns. Colleges actively recruiting him are Mountain West Con- ference schools Wyoming, Boise State, UNLV from the WAC. There is also interest from PAC-12 schools Utah, Colorado and BYU, an inde- pendent school. Jefferson won't be just succeeding on the field he plans on doing it in the class room as well as he plans on majoring in agriculture business. At the moment Jefferson is undecided where he would like to attend college but no doubt when he makes his decision the team will be getting a versatile player. As a junior, Jefferson had 47 catches for 706 yards and nine TDs. In an early game against Exeter, Jefferson caught four passes for 96 yards and a touchdown in the team's 47-21 victory. This year Jefferson will be asked to step up his play on offense and step into the biggest shoes on the team. Jefferson had a decent year running the ball last year but will have to do better to take over the starting posi- tion from the school's best running back ever. Elijah Porchia was Mission Oak's first 1,000-yard and 2,000- yard rusher holding every record in the books for the Hawks with a career 5,428 yards and 85 touchdowns. The Hawks ground game will also be without one of their best lineman, Evan Van Beek. Jefferson would de- scribe his junior season as a "battle" and would sum it up as "rewarding at the end." He said the experience from last year and another year in the offense will help him carry the load for the Hawks. "Personally, my plans are to live, breath and think football for his season," Jef- ferson said. "We have a lot of work as a team to get back to that kind of football and I am looking forward to the challenge." The expectations for this team and Jefferson could not be higher just missing out on their school's first Valley Championship. But Jefferson understands every game is about improving, even the losses. "As long as we work, take it one week at a time, one game at time and just see where it goes the next week, we will go far," he said. #6 Le'Andre Jefferson DB <> Mission Oak High School Senior <> 5'10" <> 185 lbs.

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