Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Friday, Aug. 31, 2012 | 2 a.m.
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When you mix just a few returners at key positions with a majority of inexperienced players, it’s difficult to figure out exactly what type of team you’ll have. That’s what Desert Oasis High football coach Scott Staudinger is going to find out, and it won’t take him very long to get a good idea of the results.
Desert Oasis opens its season Friday against Arbor View, a matchup that doesn’t give the Diamondbacks much room for error.
“We’ll see where we’re at right away,” Staudinger said. “It’s a double-edged sword, playing a program the caliber of Arbor View.”
If the opener doesn’t go well, it’s difficult to imagine things going much better in the stacked Southwest division. There’s a lot of talent in the league this year, and it’s going to take the right mixture from Desert Oasis to make an impact.
“It’s certainly going to be tougher, there’s no doubt about that,” Staudinger said.
The guys most responsible for bringing that together for the Diamondbacks may be in the backfield. Senior Herman Smith returns at quarterback after coming in midway through the 2011 season, and Devin Fortenberry is starting for the third straight season at running back/fullback. The offense also has returning leading receiver Marvin Duty.
On the other side, three-year starter Mark Fredericks, who in 2011 had seven interceptions at safety, leads the Diamondbacks. The defense runs out of a 3-4 set, which this year will rely almost entirely on new linebackers. A couple of guys at outside linebacker have moved up from junior varsity, and the inside guys have only a little more experience.
“We’re looking at everybody right now just to see where they measure up,” Staudinger said.
Fredericks is the only returner in the secondary, but there’s a bit more experience up front. All in all, it’s a lot of unknowns surrounding a small group of experienced guys. That could lead to a lot of different results, and it’s almost time for Staudinger to find out.
“We feel as if we have a good core back,” Staudinger said. “… We want to attack it this year, do the best we can and see where we’re at at the end.”