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Dana Hills confident it will show improvement
DANA POINT - The Dana Hills football team will take the field Friday seeking its first non-forfeit win since November 2013.
The Dolphins struggled the past two seasons in the South Coast League. This season, they will be in the Sea View League.
Coach Phil Skinner dismisses the idea the Dolphins are playing a lighter schedule in 2016.
“We got to see some Sea View League teams this summer, and I think the competition level is right up there with other leagues in the county,” Skinner said. “It isn’t a step down, it’s just a different step and probably a better fit for us.”
The Dolphins open the season against Marina, a team which has also struggled in one of the most competitive leagues in the county, the Sunset League.
“Marina is a team that is going to hit you in the mouth," Skinner said. “I’m excited to have a physical test right off the bat."
As for what might happen if the Dolphins win that game, Skinner said, "That first win could cause some mayhem on the field. We might have to protect that goal post from coming down.”
Junior quarterback Corey Cisowski is excited to take the field for the first time this season.
“We are treating this game like it’s a championship," he said. "There was a lot of doubt on campus about us, but word is getting around that we have been working really hard to get better.”
Cisowski struggled in some games in 2015 but showed a promising skillset. He was named second-tam All-South Coast league as a sophomore.
“The young man has had an excellent summer," Skinner said. "We have played in multiple passing league tournaments and his maturation is second to none. I’m excited to see him compete.”
“Last year I was a little hesitant with my throws and now I’m much more confident on where to throw the ball,” Cisowski said.
THE DARK SIDE
The Dolphins are optimistic going into the season partly because they have so many returning starters. Last year, they had numerous sophomores starters who gained experience playing some of the top teams in the county.
“They took their lumps as sophomores in the South Coast League," Skinner said. "They are just going to be juniors this season. While we’re still young, we have experience as young players which is a huge advantage.”
One of the returning starters is Julian Casillas, who was first-tam All-South Coast League as a sophomore in 2015. Casillas is one of Dana Hills’ captains.
He leads the defense, which the team refers to as “The Dark Side."
“We call ourselves that because it’s a redemption from last year," Casillas said. "We want to prove that we are a better and tougher defense than last year.”
The defensive players wear black jerseys at practice to symbolize toughness.
“They have that bad attitude but in a fun way. It’s really progressed and taken hold,” Skinner said.
Casillas is the undisputed leader of the defense and will make the calls and adjustments during the games.
“He understands what we are trying to do and keeps everyone in line,” Skinner said. “Julian is a great football player, and as he grows and matures through this season and his senior year, I think we will see him playing on Saturdays in the future.”