To most teams with postseason aspirations, a 4-5 season is defined as not getting the job done.
At Reavis, which was 8-28 from 2008 through ’11, it’s called progress.
However, don’t refer to last season’s 4-5 record as a success, Rams coach Tim Zasada said.
“Mentally, 4-5 was one of the best years this program has had in a while,” said Zasada, who’s beginning his second season at Reavis. “But I told these guys that we haven’t won anything. We didn’t make the playoffs. That’s always the goal. We didn’t succeed in accomplishing that goal.”
Reavis, in fact, hasn’t qualified for the postseason since 2007. That’s quite a drought for a program that once advanced to three consecutive state championship games from 1980 through ’82.
The Rams, though, have a legitimate shot at qualifying for the playoffs in 2013. It appeared the Rams were going to qualify last season after bolting to a 4-1 record. Then the meat of the schedule reared its ugly head and a four-game losing streak ensued.
“It was a good start,” Zasada said. “But we were walking around the halls like we did something when we were 4-1. We didn’t finish the job. But I believe we’re turning the corner.”
Having quarterback Jose Romero, who doubles as linebacker, should allow the Rams to fully turn that corner. Romero is a fierce competitor who has the ability to move the chains with his arm or legs.
“He’s a playmaker, but a different type of playmaker,” Zasada said. “He’s tough to bring down, and he can get out of stuff just by sheer strength. We’re expecting Jose to have a big year.”
Romero will have the benefit of other weapons to help move the chains and keep opposing defenses from focusing on him. Senior receiver Tyler Wetzel and the 1-2 backfield punch of senior David Solus and 5-foot-11, 200-pound sophomore Travis Liszewski has big-play potential.
Junior speedster Calvin Jordan also will see time in the backfield.
“Liszewski is really talented,” Zasada said. “He’s a tough runner and has very good speed.
“Jordan is a quick, darting type of runner. He’ll be a great mix with Travis.”
Other than sophomore Jakub Kacki, the offensive line is a work in progress. The Rams have a new offensive line coach in Tony Pape, who comes over from Richards. Pape’s experience and knowledge should transform the line into a strength.
“We have good competition going,” Zasada said. “Tony is really getting after those guys. We’ll see who steps up.”
Defensively, another sophomore, Vinny Vertucci, will anchor the line. Senior Matt Kopp will start at one safety spot. Wetzel (safety), Jordan (cornerback) and Solus (linebacker) will log double duty in addition to Romero.
“We’ve got guys going both ways, which means we have to stay healthy,” Zasada said.
If the prospects of a playoff season haven’t provided enough preseason buzz, a Week 1 “Battle of Burbank” against St. Laurence has fans through-the-roof excited.
A season-opening win against the Vikings would garner neighborhood bragging rights and, more important, bring the Rams one step closer to their goal of qualifying for the postseason.
“That first game is huge,” Zasada said. “It can get us going in the right direction. It’s going to be a great atmosphere, but we gotta have a win.”