The Ontario Christian High football team hasn’t had a losing season the past two years, but hasn’t made the CIF-Southern Section postseason either.
“We finished in a tie for third place in our league in each of the past two seasons, and lost the tiebreaker to get into the playoffs,” said fourth-year coach Matt Hoekstra. “The target game last year was the Linfield Christian game. That was a game we felt if we won we’d make the playoffs, if we lost we wouldn’t. And we lost.”
Coach Hoekstra said this year’s Knights football team doesn’t return a lot of starters— four on offense and four on defense.
They’re not fast, not huge in terms of size, the coach said, but he has plenty of confidence in the types of players he has to earn a postseason berth.
Maximus Hernandez, Ethan Venerable, Moses Serrano and Dylan Williams all return on the offensive side, and all could see time at running back.
“There is a lot of experience there,” Coach Hoekstra said.
Sean Halpin, an All-Ambassador League first-team honoree leads the defense, which also has a couple of young cornerbacks returning this season.
Last year’s backup quarterback Daniel Serna will get the start after three-year quarterback Kevin Jack graduated. Jack is now playing golf in college.
“Daniel is a really tough kid. He’s grown a lot, trained with coach Chris Rix during the summer, and put in a lot of work in the weight room. He’s a great leader and the players trust him,” Coach Hoekstra said.
Ontario Christian will kick off its season at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, taking a 4 1/2-hour bus ride to Bishop Union High School in Bishop.
“We’ll be staying the night after the game. The kids like to travel,” Coach Hoekstra said.
The Knights will finish their nonleague schedule with games against Ontario, Valley Christian, Calvary Murrieta, and Calvary Chapel before opening Ambassador League play Sept. 28 at Arrowhead Christian in Redlands.