Football: Hinkley capsule

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HInkley
HINKLEY

HINKLEY THUNDERBIRDS

Coach: Jaron Cohen, 1st season

Last year: 2-8 overall, 2-3 in 5A Aurora League (missed Class 5A playoffs)

Players to watch: Austin Ruiz, 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, QB, sr.; Bryson Compton, 5-10, 170, WR/DB, sr.; Brandon Compton, 5-10, 180, RB/LB, sr.; Chance Drake, 6-4, 230, WR/DE, sr.; Kameron Miller, 6-1, 240, OL/DT, sr.; Max Carbajal, 6-1, 220, OL/LB, sr.; Kaelen Baker, 5-9, 160, WR/CB, sr.; Jesus Chavarria, 5-8, 155, WR/DB, sr.; Dante Richardson, 5-10, 175, RB/S, jr.; Tyler Manuel, 6-3, 305, OL/DL, sr.

2013 Outlook: Jaron Cohen had success turning around the football program at Liberty High School in Colorado Springs and he’s dedicated himself to getting the traditionally proud Hinkley program back on track after some recent struggles. The energetic young coach and his new staff got plenty of commitment in the offseason from players looking for a fresh start after a 2-8 season in 2012. Besides hunger, Cohen also found more talent than many might have believed in a program that hasn’t had a winning season in more than a decade. Plenty of skill position players with speed should allow Hinkley to be a more aggressive team offensively this season, especially with senior Austin Ruiz ready to take over at quarterback. The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder soaked the system up in a summer quarterback camp, has shown leadership ability and has the ability to hurt defenses with his arm and his legs. Last season’s quarterback by necessity, senior Chance Drake, shifts to wide receiver and should create mismatches with his 6-4, 240-pound frame. Brothers Brandon and Bryson Compton, transfers who played in 2011 at Adams City and sat out half of last season at Hinkley, should be major weapons offensively, as will seniors Jesus Chavarria and Kaelen Baker. Junior Dante Richardson also returns after playing a significant role offensively last season. Cohen expects his line — which includes 300-pounder Tyler Manuel along with fellow seniors Kameron Miller and Max Carbajal, a unit that was competitive at the annual Hog Wars strength and teamwork competition over the summer — to be a difference maker in a number of games this season. Hinkley’s defense is dedicated to upping its intensity and physical play and is bolstered by an athletic defensive backfield that includes Chavarria, a second team All-Aurora League selection last season. With a lot of turnover in the coaching ranks and personnel wise around the league, Cohen believes his group can make some headway in what marks the 50th anniversary of football at the school.

Quoting the coach: “We have a new standard for how we’re going to practice, how we’re going to lift weights and how we’re going to prepare. The kids have appreciated it and embraced it, so I’m excited to get out and watch them play. …The days of teams just penciling in a win over Hinkley is something we can hopefully change and I do believe that we can. I think teams are going to be in for a fight every time they step on the field with my boys.”

2013 schedule: Home games in all caps (played at APS Stadium): Friday, Aug. 23 — VISTA PEAK, 6 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 30 — at Thornton, 7 p.m.; Thursday, Sept. 12 — ARVADA WEST, 6 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 20 — at Montrose, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 27 — at Adams City, 7 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 3 — RANGEVIEW, 6 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 11 — vs. Denver East at All-City Stadium, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 18 — GATEWAY, 6 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 25 — vs. Aurora Central at APS Stadium, 6 p.m.

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel