ANTELOPE, CA - As another high school football season fast approaches, the Antelope Titans are once again dealing with heightened expectations in the Sac-Joaquin Section.
After a 10-2 season last year, where the Titans fell in a heartbreaker to cross-town rival Rio Linda 15-14 in the game's final seconds. Antelope rattled off eight straight victories before falling to Buhach Colony in the second round of the Division-III Section playoffs, 35-28.
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"We have a good group of kids coming back," head coach Matt Ray told News10 on Tuesday night. "We're excited about where we're at and we're looking to be competitive and that's always the goal.
The expectations of the Titans keep rising, as the team has won two Capital Athletic League titles in three seasons - not bad for a team heading into its sixth year.
Senior quarterback Tyler McCombs returns to lead a typically high scoring offense, but his favorite target last season, Tyler Winston graduated and is beginning his first season at San Jose State.
"We don't have much size, but we're quicker, a lot faster and stronger," McCombs said. "It's not too much different but I have grown as a quarterback. I feel more comfortable with the offense and it should be a great year."
Defensive captain D.J. Hollingshead, a senior linebacker, said it isn't just the school and community that has higher expectations of them, but so does head coach Matt Ray. He said the team shares those expectations as well.
"Right now, we expect League (Championship) as an expectation and our ultimate goal is a Section Championship," Hollingshead said.
The Titan's journey will begin in Zero Week, Aug. 30 at Del Campo High School against the Cougars. Head coach Mike Dimino led his Del Campo team to a 9-3 overall record last season and will prove to be a tough challenge right out of the gate for Antelope.
By Sean Cunningham, SCunningham@News10.net