Scotts Valley High senior tight end Jack Parker and the Falcons football team will kick off the 2023 season against Gonzales in Scotts Valley on Aug. 26 at 2pm. (Juan Reyes/Press Banner)

After nearly a month of grueling summer football practices, both Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley high schools are ready to kick off the 2023 campaign.

The Falcons are hoping to bounce back in the newly reformatted Pacific Coast Athletic League Mission North Division and earn a trip back to the Central Coast Section postseason after failing to qualify last year.

The Cougars saw an increase of numbers on the field that should help with depth in just about every position, which was something they were missing in 2022.

Here is a breakdown of each team for the upcoming season.

Scotts Valley Falcons

Scotts Valley High senior tight end Jack Parker and the Falcons football team will kick off the 2023 season against Gonzales in Scotts Valley on Aug. 26 at 2pm. (Juan Reyes/Press Banner)

Head coach: Louie Walters (23rd season)

League: Pacific Coast Athletic League Mission North Division 

Last season’s record: 7-3, 3-3 (Tied for 3rd in Mission Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify 

The Falcons are stacked with 19 seniors this season, including standout running back Niko Iles, who will help lead a committee of running backs that has tons of depth, such as junior Eli Velez.

Iles will also play the linebacker position on the defense alongside Marshall Dodge, a massive lineman who will use both his strength and speed on the edge to get to the quarterback.

“We feel much more comfortable,” said Scotts Valley coach Louie Walters on having a more experienced group of seniors on the field this season. “We knew last year was a learning curve because we only had four seniors.” 

Seniors Quinn Turowski and Brady Siechen will play both ways as receivers and defensive backs for a second straight season. The Falcons’ duo will be a major threat on the outside, so look for great things to happen for them this year.

Other key contributors expected to shine include junior linebacker Jess Ringel and senior linemen Brody Robbins, Billy Baldwin, Lorenzo Gonzalez and James Bullock.

“[Bullock’s] the strongest kid on the team,” Walters said.

2023 football schedule

Aug. 26: Gonzales, 2pm

Sept. 1: at Willow Glen, 7:30pm

Sept. 9: San Lorenzo Valley, 2pm

Sept. 14: at Soquel, 7:30pm

Sept. 30: St. Francis*, 2pm

Oct. 6: at Watsonville*, 7:30pm

Oct. 13: Monte Vista Christian*, 7:30pm

Oct. 21: at Seaside*, 7:30pm

Oct. 28: North Monterey County*, 2pm

Nov. 4: Santa Cruz*, 2pm

*Pacific Coast Athletic League Mission North Division game

San Lorenzo Valley Cougars

San Lorenzo Valley High senior linebacker Malcolm Deguara, right, and the Cougars football team will kick off the 2023 season at South San Francisco on Aug. 25 at 7pm. (Juan Reyes/Press Banner)

Head coach: Dave Grant (1st season)

League: Pacific Coast Athletic League Santa Lucia Division

Last season’s record: 2-8, 1-5 (6th in Santa Lucia Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify

The Cougars have a lot more stability on the depth chart this year with a roster of a little more than 30 players ready to suit up. This includes senior linebacker Malcolm Deguara, who will be the heart and soul on the defense.

SLV senior Jack Fontinell should also have a breakout season, and junior Jack Dagan has played most of the reps at quarterback.

“We’re expecting some big things from [Fontinell] this year,” said David Grant, who enters his first season at the helm for SLV.

The Cougars are also getting a pair of returners in seniors Dominic Chiechi and Connor Sarborough, who both suffered season-ending injuries in Week 1 and 2, respectively.

Chiechi had 60 receptions as a sophomore and is hoping to have a redemption season after sitting on the sidelines in 2022.

“[Chiechi’s] a smart guy. He knows his routes, he knows how to get open and he’s got great hands,” Grant said. “[Chiechi and Sarborough] worked really hard in the offseason just to get back and get ready to go. So I’m just stoked for those guys considering they basically lost their whole junior year.”

Junior receiver/defensive back Winston Wells will be a player to watch, along with junior Haden Woolworth and sophomore Vinny Noche, a pair of lineman expected to be a huge impact in the trenches for the Cougars.

“[Noche’s] definitely one of those dudes that totally gets it,” Grant said. “He’s one of the hardest working guys out here. We’re excited about him.”

Grant is anticipating some big changes and he’s thrilled for the Cougars to have a chance to compete for a league title in the PCAL Santa Lucia Division this upcoming season.

“I was pretty impressed last year,” Grant said. “We struggled to compete at times because we were thin, but everybody was kind of competitive.”

2023 football schedule

Aug. 25: at South San Francisco, 7pm 

Sept. 2: Gunderson, 12:30pm

Sept. 9: at Scotts Valley (rivalry game), 2pm

Sept. 15: at Watsonville, 7:30pm 

Sept. 23: Pajaro Valley, 12:30pm 

Sept. 30: at Stevenson, 2pm 

Oct. 6: at Greenfield, 7:30pm 

Oct. 20: at Marina, 7:30pm

Oct. 28: Harbor, 2:30pm

*Pacific Coast Athletic League Santa Lucia Division game

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A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.


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