It’s that time of year again, when the Friday night lights flicker on and the sounds of popping pads follow.

Orestimba’s Warriors are among the teams anxious to take the field - and with a point to prove as they embark on a new season.

With just one returning starter on offense, the Warriors are swapping their high-octane, big-play offense of past seasons for a run-oriented approach this fall. Defensively, the Warriors are a polar opposite as they will field a unit long on returning starters.

The Warriors experienced their first taste of action last Friday as they scrimmaged teams from across the area to put their skill sets to the test in game-like situations. 

Head coach Aaron Souza commented that he was very happy with the overall effort, citing the progress shown by the offense and the ability of the defense to fly to the ball.

“I think the offense really grew a lot during the scrimmages,” said Souza. “There were a handful of kids who really solidified their case to be a starter or a regular in the rotation.”

As the season approaches the Warriors are starting to come together, despite the offense having only one returning player (Maciel Martinez).

“We were very senior heavy last year ” Souza told Mattos Newspapers. “We lost guys who etched their names into the OHS record books.”

Anthony Casillas, a junior quarterback for the Warriors who was a two year starter for the frosh-soph team, takes the reins of the offense.

“I expect him to be a leader offensively, and to be efficient in moving the chains on third down” noted Souza, who said Casillas is rapidly adapting to the varsity level. “Most importantly, I expect him to keep his composure. It is a tough transition to varsity. The game is faster, and everybody is bigger.”

Sophomore Jayden Vargas is expected to be Orestimba’s deep receiving threat.

Three senior running backs, Marcus Navarro, Diego Flores and Xavier Avila, are expected to shoulder the rushing load. Senior Jaeden Diaz will lead the way at fullback.

“We will probably not be a big play offense,” noted Souza. “We will be more efficient. We will run the ball a lot more than we have, with a lot of double tight end and two running back sets.”

For the defense, a different story that comes into play. Souza says he will potentially have eleven seniors starting on the defensive side of the ball.

Abram Davis will set the physical tone for the unit. Souza said Davis is a physical player with a nose for the football. “He plays fast. He is the first guy to the ball,” Souza said.

Dias, Avila, John Landeros, Joe Matteri, Pablo Lopez and Junior Save are among other defensive leaders of a hard-hitting, intense squad.

“There were a lot of guys who as juniors last year went through growing pains,” said Souza, “but they grew from that and did a great job of bringing the intensity last Friday at the scrimmages.”

Souza, entering his 10th season at the helm of the Warriors, is once again taking a one-game-at-a-time approach to the new season.

“We’re all about Bret Harte right now,” he commented.