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Monday Blitz: Sonora has plan for the postseason

STAFF WRITER

Check out OCVarsity's Blitz from Sonora's football practice on Monday:

Sonora coach Paul Chiotti jokingly referred to it as his team’s “15 minutes of fame.”

That’s how long the Raiders were in the Southwest Division playoffs last November before the CIF-SS realized it had erred and pulled them out. The final at-large berth was awarded to Irvine.

If all goes according to Sonora’s plan for this fall, there will be no way to keep Chiotti and Co. out of the postseason in 2015.

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With nine returning starters on offense and six on defense, Sonora has the potential to be one of the county’s most improved teams and should push for one of the Freeway League’s three guaranteed playoff spots.

“What we’ve talked about is not leaving it up to somebody’s decision this year,” Chiotti explained Monday afternoon, minutes before the Raiders’ first official practice of the new season got underway. “We want to make sure our playoff destiny isn’t put into somebody’s decision, but to take care of the business at hand and control the things we can control.”

Sonora running back Jacob Fimbres is the county’s leading returning rusher, having compiled 1,622 yards last season. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound senior workhorse scored at least three touchdowns in nine games last season, and with an offensive line that returns four players with starting experience, expectations are high on Sonora’s campus.

“I want to go for at least 2,000 (yards) this year and then try to shoot for more touchdowns than I had,” said Fimbres, who reached the end zone 32 times last season.

Lofty goals, but also very much attainable if Fimbres can stay healthy and the Raiders are able to sneak in a couple of games in the postseason.

“He only played 10 games last year, and a couple of those game got out of hand early and we pulled him pretty quick,” Chiotti explained. “I definitely think he can be a 2,000-yard rusher this year if he get some games under his belt.”

With city rival La Habra returning three-year starter Eric Barriere at quarterback, the Highlanders will be the team to beat in the Freeway League. Buena Park nipped at La Habra’s heels a season ago, and it should do so again with the dynamic Zach Taylor back under center.

But what makes the Freeway League even stronger this year is the expected improvement from Sonora, Troy, Fullerton and Sunny Hills, which is under the direction of a new head coach, Pete Karavedas.

“It’s always competitive and it’s tough again this year,” Chiotti said of the Freeway League. “We stress getting better everyday, so by the time we get to league, we’re playing good, quality football.”


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