There’s a new team in town, their name is the Pebble Hills Spartans and they are more than ready to to take on all comers this fall.
The Spartans wrapped up their spring football camp with their first-ever varsity scrimmage on Wednesday, taking the field with the energy of a Texas Football Friday Night…even though the calendar reads May.
Pebble Hills was formerly El Dorado’s ninth grade academy and the Spartans have been patiently waiting to take on big brother. Just like head coach Mark Torres will take on his brother Ruben Torres, who leads the Aztec’s program at El Dorado, but don’t call it a rivalry just yet.
“We’re going to have to beat them before there’s any kind of rivalry.” Torres said. “We haven’t played any varsity games so there’s no rivalries whatsoever. Somebody happens to take care of us and we don’t return the favor, it’s not a rivalry… it is what it is, we’re the new kids on the block, we’re everybody’s homecoming, we know it and we have to do everything we can to compete at a high level.”
The program that is currently made up of only freshmen and sophomores, holds 110 student-athletes; but the school is expecting 800 incoming students next fall.
With the influx in enrollment, the coaching staff also received a boost in numbers, something Torres said has made an immediate impact.
“It was a big transition because we gained a lot of coaches so that has been the biggest help,” Mark Torres said. “There’s more eyes on the details, we have more kids that are getting coached up in positions that normally wouldn’t get coached in.”
Players have been responding to the coaching in anticipation of their first ever varsity season, calling it an amazing experience to know that they’ll be the first.
“All the coaches want to see what we’re all about, not just the school, but the whole city,” Sophomore Defensive End Johnny Santiago said.
“I think we can shock the city.”
As Torres spoke about not getting ahead in calling any rivalries, he gives that same message to his players as the focus remains on what’s present.
“We talk about what’s ahead of us tomorrow, not what’s ahead of us in the season.” Torres said. “If we look at it as if we have to play this team in the fall, they get ahead of themselves and that’s not good for us.”
As the campus grows in enrollment, so has the expectation for their football program, and the challenges that face Torres will be focused on getting his players mentally prepared for what’s to come.
“Leading it is not a big thing, when you’re coordinating, you’re leading,” Torres said. “It’s the other stuff, dealing with other people’s problems that’s the difference and the challenge for me. The football stuff is the fun and easy stuff. With these young guys, it’s the psychology part of it,
trying to make sure they are prepared and they believe they can compete when they get on the field.”
While the preparation for spring is over, the countdown continues for the Spartans as they patiently await their inaugural varsity football season.
“We want to prove them wrong, we have to work hard,” Sophomore Linebacker Kevin Esquivel said. “We have a clock in our locker room, that shows us what’s next. It’s a countdown clock, we’ll just have to work hard until then, but time doesn’t stop so we shouldn’t either.”