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Scorpions prepare to defend Pacific View title with defense

Interception of a player.
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© Richard Gillard/Acorn Newspapers
Camarillo High senior Corbin Covey runs with the ball. The Scorpions, who open the season Fri., Aug. 31 at Buena, will try to win their fourth straight Pacific View League championship. © Richard Gillard/Acorn Newspapers
Nobody could stop the Camarillo High football team’s high-octane offense in 2011.

The Scorpions, however, couldn’t slow down opponents’offenses. Camarillo’s final box scores mimicked Arena League agate.

Camarillo overcame an inconsistent defense by averaging more than 37 points per game last season en route to a third straight Pacific View League championship.

So much for the cliché that defense wins championships.

But the Scorpions aren’t satisfied with just being great on offense.

ACHS hired former Newbury Park defensive coordinator Jack Willard to improve a Scorpion defense that surrendered 148 points in the final three games last season, including a 54-28 loss to San Luis Obispo in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Western Division playoffs.

“Our defense has improved from last year,” said senior cornerback Brandon Knupp.

“We were shaky, giving up a lot of points (last season). Our offense bailed us out many times. This year we have a new, faster defense.”

Camarillo kicks off the season Aug. 31 against Buena on the road.

The move to Camarillo was an easy one for Willard, who coaches the Scorpion varsity softball team.

Knupp and the Scorpions want to prove that the defense is legit.

“We want to shut some people up because they have been saying we’re soft and slow,” Knupp said, “and that our defense can’t stop anybody.”

Senior Corbin Covey, Camarillo’s No. 1 wide receiver, assists the defense at safety.

Covey said he’s a fan of Willard.

“He’s an amazing coach,” Covey said. “Coach Willard improved our defense tremendously.”

In a marquee matchup, Camarillo plays host to Thousand Oaks of the Marmonte League on Sept. 7.

Senior quarterback Travis Valdez circled the brouhaha on his calendar.

Valdez, however, can’t rely on Jake Maulhardt and Conrad Kotake anymore.

Maulhardt, who caught 119 passes for 1,674 yards and 15 touchdowns last year, is a freshman wide receiver for the University of Wyoming. Kotake nabbed 60 receptions for 1,013 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2011 before graduating this spring.

Covey and Philip Pizzo are the top targets.

“It’ll be hard replacing (Maulhardt and Kotake), but people just have to step up, and we’ll find those guys,” said Valdez, who completed 155-of-214 passing attempts for 2,537 yards and 34 touchdowns and five interceptions.

“We have some good receivers this year. Philip Pizzo is a big tall guy. Corbin Covey will have a better year—he’s my No. 1 receiver.”

Covey missed five games last season with a broken left ankle, but he still managed to snag 32 receptions for 524 yards.

Valdez also missed the significant time with an injury.

The gunslinger missed the first three games of 2011 with a broken right hand. Valdez returned off the bench in a lopsided Sept. 30 loss to Ventura.

ACHS recovered from a 1-3 start to win the next six games and go 5-0 in PVL action.

The Scorpions are healthy so far.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that everyone stays healthy,” said head coach Dennis Riedmiller, now in his 10th season with the Scorpions.

“It’s great to have (Valdez) back and healthy. Let’s hope it stays that way.”

Camarillo brought in reinforcements from Marmonte League schools Westlake and St. Bonaventure.

Christian Bernal, a 6-foot-3 senior wide receiver, played for the Warriors last fall.

Junior Elijah Wallace, a starting defensive tackle for St. Bonnie last season, transferred to Camarillo this summer.

Josh Hoth played for the Scorpions’ junior varsity in 2011, but he competed for the Seraphs as a freshman.

Hoth is expected to start at linebacker. The junior will receive carries at running back.

With an improved defense and talented newcomers joining the squad, Camarillo is ready to secure its fourth consecutive Pacific View League title and make a deep playoff run.

“Last year we didn’t take it as serious as we should have,” Knupp said.

“This year we’re more into it. We were kind of settled with winning league last year. We won’t let that happen again. We want to make it far into the playoffs.”

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