An extra dose of pressure was added for Gahr High School football last season as the CIF realigned its leagues across the board to promote a more competitive schedule.
The San Gabriel Valley League was reorganized into a six-league conference, leaving the Gladiators and their division rivals with one less automatic postseason bid than in years past. This gives each of the six leagues two automatic berths, leaving room for four wild card selections for the playoffs.
Incidentally, Gahr finished fourth in the league last season, missing the playoffs with a .500 record that would have qualified them for the postseason in 2009.
With added importance on the regular season, Gahr coach Greg Marshall knows it is second place or bust for his Gladiators squad.
“We can definitely do it,” said Marshall of his team’s chances to grab one of the San Gabriel Valley League’s automatic CIF bids.
Marshall added that he thinks Dominguez will be the favorite to take the league title, but that the rest of the conference is wide open to see who will step up and take the other playoff spot.
The Gladiators intend to move the ball through the air, and they will be looking for their top two wide-receivers to carry them this season.
“We’re going to throw the ball maybe 40 times a game, but by limiting our turnovers we should be fine,” said Marshall of his team’s plan of attack for this year.
Senior wide receivers Delshawn McClellon and Dewayne Washington each have received Pac-12 scholarship consideration. McClellon, a three year starter for the Gladiators is getting a strong look from the University of Utah. Washington has already verbally committed to the University of Washington.
Senior quarterback Eric Richardson will be asked to distribute the ball to those top receivers.
Despite finishing with a 5-5 record last season, the Gladiators aren’t being shy about their hopes for the season.
“We want to win a championship,” said McClellon of his goal for his senior year.
Richardson echoed his teammate’s sentiments, saying that he just wants to win, one game at a time.
Gahr opens the season Friday Sept. 2 as it hosts Millikan High School in a non-league matchup. Game time is set for 7 p.m.