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2019 High School Football Preview: Nipomo has a solid core back as 2019 season approaches

From the Collection: 2019 High School Football - See all of our season previews, power rankings and player profiles right here! series
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2019 High School Football Preview: Nipomo has a solid core back as 2019 season approaches

Veteran coach Tony Dodge has said his 2019 Nipomo team, though it has a lot of familiar faces back, will be doing some new things on both sides of the ball.

"We'll have some new wrinkles. We'll also have a lot of guys playing in multiple positions," said Dodge, who is entering his fifth season at the helm for Nipomo. "We'll have some new looks on offense and defense."

The Titans are hoping they will get to play on their new field reasonably soon.

Delays have put the construction of Nipomo's new stadium behind schedule. The Titans will play their Aug. 30 home opener against Cabrillo at San Luis Obispo High School.

"They're still saying the Sept. 13 game against Bishop Diego as the first game on the new field," said Dodge. "But there's no sod yet. That's starting to be an issue, right?"

Returning two-time All-League Nipomo linebacker Jesse Garza said it won't matter where the Titans play their home games.

"I think we'll just play, wherever," the senior said. "It don't really matter. We'll just come to play."

Junior linebacker-running back Keyshawn Pu'a, another returning two-time All-Leaguer for the Titans, said, "I don't really notice the difference," when it comes to stadiums.

"Football is football. You just go out and play."

Nipomo is coming off an 8-3 2018. The Titans won the inaugural Ocean League championship but went out in the first round of the playoffs in their first year in the CIF Central Section.

The Titans lost some key players from that squad, including their leading rusher, Ricky Iniguez, to graduation. Still, Dodge, Garza and Pu'a sounded confident about the upcoming season.

"We've got some new wrinkles, some new people, players stepping up. I like it," said Garza.

One of those new people is running back-strong safety Zach Plunk, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior transfer from Arizona.

"He's really going to be an exciting running back to watch," said Dodge.

Erik Terry is another new Nipomo addition.

"Erik was the head coach at Irvine for the last 10 years," said Dodge. "He'll help with our offense. He's going to be tremendous." 

Terry resigned as Irvine's head coach earlier this year, telling OC Sports Zone that he wanted to move with his family to Central California to be closer to his parents.

Dodge said at press time that 6-foot-3, 235 pound senior Brayden Groshart will be the Titans' starting quarterback for the third straight year. However, "You could also see Brayden some at running back," said Dodge.

"You could also see Nate Reese at quarterback," said Dodge. "You could see him in the slot, you could see him at wide receiver. You'll see him all over the field. He won't leave the field on offense."

The 5-11, 150-pound Reese was Nipomo's leading receiver as a freshman last year. He caught three touchdown passes.

Nipomo will be in a new league, the PAC 4 League, this year along with Pioneer Valley, San Luis Obispo and Atascadero.

The Titans defeated San Luis Obispo 34-13 and edged Pioneer Valley 14-13 last year for the Ocean League title. Nipomo did not play Atascadero.

Dodge said before his team moved from the CIF Southern Section to the Central section last year that he wasn't particularly thrilled with the upcoming move.

He said he was happier with the move now, though he was not sold on his team being placed in Division 2.

"We were not placed properly," Dodge said. "With the size of our school, we do not belong there. But we compete there." 

Nipomo will open Aug. 23 at Santa Ynez.

081019 Nipomo football .jpg

Nipomo High School's, from left, Oscar Andersen, Keyshawn Pu'a, Jesse Garza, Nicholas Dostal and Brayden Groshart are eyeing another league title in 2019. Can they also make a playoff run this time around?

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