In the six years of the program, the Falcons have seen highs and lows. In 2012, Millennium followed its 10-0 finish in 2011 with a 1-9 overall finish — including a 5-0 in the Central California Athletic Alliance.
Now, two years after winning a CCAA title, head coach Jayson Dias said those seasons are in the past and that it’s time to build consistency on the Millennium team.
With a handful of third and fourth-year varsity players and a large group of return players, it’s time for the Falcons to re-establish themselves as a force in the CCAA.
Based on what he saw during summer conditioning and camps, Dias is confident that the Falcons have taken their training seriously and will be tougher than before.
“We’ll be more competitive this year,” Dias said. “We have a good group of kids who came back as juniors. They’ve done things over the summer that the team last year didn’t do.”
Fourth-year seniors Giacomo Oliveri, a safety and wide receiver, and Korey Dubose, an offensive and defensive lineman, are the most experienced players.
Seniors returning for their third year are running back-cornerback D’Vontae Kelly, wide receiver-cornerback R.J. McKee and lineman Israel Vargas. Third-year juniors are wide receiver-cornerback Malik Charles, linebacker-guard Carlos Martinez, linebacker-tight end Jake Adams and lineman Chase Barding.
The Falcons had enough experienced seniors and juniors that Dias originally planned to create a junior varsity team to give the sophomores and freshmen more playing time. Last week, he canceled the JV schedule and put everyone on the 36-player varsity roster.
Dias expects to have a strong offensive line and senior quarterback Mojo Atwal at the helm with several players who can carry the ball.
“I think we’ll be able to run our no-huddle offense with more consistency and more success than last year,” Dias said. “I think our running game is going to be solid.”
Atwal, who took on the starting quarterback role for most of the CCAA season, said he’s confident that he will be able to pass the ball well.
“Pretty much all of our skill positions from last year are coming back,” he said. “I can trust my receivers. I know they’ll fight for the ball.”
At this point Dias won’t favor any particular offensive strategies, preferring instead to see what works, and who makes it work.
“We run it all just so it’s harder for the defenses to key on one thing,” he said. “Whoever is hottest I give them more of the carries.”
Millennium will play its home games at Kimball High’s Don Nicholson Stadium, starting with a Saturday, Aug. 31, game against Woodland Christian High. The Falcon’s biggest challenges in CCAA play will be Big Valley Christian in Modesto on Oct. 18, Elliot Christian of Lodi at home on Oct. 26, and the last league game will be against Brookside Christian, defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI champion, in Stockton on Nov. 8.
DuBose confident in O-line's abilities
Millennium senior guard Korey DuBose looks to be the anchor on the offensive line as he begins his fourth year on the Falcons football team.
The 6-foot, 240 pound lineman said the success of the Falcons offense depends on him and his fellow linemen knowing how to communicate on the field.
“We have some strength and we have some people who can pick up some blocks,” he said. “The technique is down, as long as we can do it in game play.”
DuBose started playing football his freshman year with the Falcons.
“I felt like it was tough because I had never played before, but the coaches helped me through and helped me learn everything,” he said. “I caught on pretty quick.”
Last year, DuBose was an all-Central California Athletic Alliance first-team player, and now he is one of the team’s mentors for the younger players. As such, DuBose is proud to see the freshmen and sophomores pick up the skills that will keep the Falcon offensive and defensive lines strong.
“You can see a lot of them coming together, working together as a team,” he said.
Charles finds best use for defensive skills
Malik Charles learned a lot about playing football by playing soccer.
“The first thing we did was find the ball,” Charles, a junior cornerback for the Millennium Falcons, said.
“As a cornerback every time I fall back for the coverage I’d always read the quarterback, read the linemen, and find ball when it was in the air,” he said
The Falcon football coaches then helped the 5-foot-10, 145-pound cornerback refine his tackling technique. Charles now feels like he has found the position that best suits his talents.
“I love the position. I wouldn’t choose to play anywhere else on the field,” he said.
Falcon coach Jayson Dias noted that Charles continued to build his skills this past June at USA Football’s International Development Week in Austin, Texas.
“Playing in Texas over the summer for the USA team has definitely given him the boost in confidence that he needed,” Dias said. “We look forward to him doing huge things for us on the field on defense.”
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.