Crusaders hope to repeat as Central Section champions with young, untested squad

By Ed Martin, Editor
Crusader Coach Cameron Brooks after last year's title game.
Crusader Coach Cameron Brooks after last year's title game.
Photo by Bill Burris, Photography for Kings County

The Kings Christian Crusaders can’t do much to top last year’s Central Section championship, particularly that final game against Fresno Christian, in which the Crusaders erased a 28-point halftime deficit to storm back and win the Central Section title 57-56.

The season-ending victory allowed the Crusaders to complete a perfect 11-0 record.

Kings Christian Schedule

It may not be that easy to repeat this season, but according to Kings Christian Coach Cameron Brooks, his team is ready this year to give it another try. Brooks has several returning starters, but for the most part will field a bunch of newcomers to the program.

“We’re green,” said Brooks. “We’re going to have to develop a lot of players. “That’s a big question this year. We’ll have to find out exactly where we’re at. We’ve been able to start at a much higher level the last two years.”

Joining Brooks on the coaching staff are longtime stalwarts Martin Lott, Tim Hudson and Nathan Webb. The Crusaders will play a 10-game schedule and open the season at home this Friday (Sept. 4) against Anzar of San Juan Batista. Game time is 7 p.m.

Returning players include Max Hudson, a senior running back and linebacker. “He’s our main running back,” said Brooks. He’s got the most experience in the back field.”

Joining Hudson in the back field will be Bryan Lopez, another returning Crusader. Nathan Bennett, also a senior, will start on the offensive and defensive line. He’ll be the nose guard on defense. His younger brother Jonah will join him on the line.

Maiya Garcia is the other returning senior and will work out of the tight end position and serve as cornerback on defense. “They’re all players who played a big role for us on last year’s team,” said Brooks. “Everybody plays multiple positions here,” thanks to a total of 15 players who will suit up for Friday’s opener.

This year’s quarterback is untested freshman Andrew Taggett. “He’ll have to carry a big load but we think he can handle it,” said Brooks. Another youngster is Alex Gutierrez who will play tight end, back up Taggett and play a little linebacker for the Crusaders.

The Crusaders play in the Central Sierra League.

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