Over the past three seasons, the Wilcox Chargers have been a dominant run-first, run-second and run-third offense under Head Coach Paul Rosa. In each of those seasons under coach Rosa, the Chargers’ starting quarterback has run for over 1,000 yards. The past two seasons that quarterback was David Hernandez, whose long runs were reminiscent of former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. When Hernandez hit the open field, nobody was going to catch him.
With Hernandez graduating this past spring, this year’s quarterbacking duties land on the right shoulder of Alex Adame. A senior this year, Adame played on varsity last season, but hasn’t been a starting quarterback since his time on junior varsity. Star receiver Ryan Cooper Jr. believes developing chemistry won’t be an issue as the two combined for some big plays together back when they were both on JV.
“I actually feel like it’s the exact same,” remarked Cooper on the chemistry he had with Hernandez and now with Adame. “I played with Adame on JV and he threw me a couple touchdowns so it feels normal. We’ve been working a lot, throwing balls around off the field a little bit too.”
Replacing such a big-time playmaker and two-year starter could be daunting for some, but the soft-spoken Adame exudes a quiet confidence in his own style of quarterbacking.
“Quarterback is something I have been playing since I was little. Especially with this offense, I feel comfortable running it,” noted Adame. “I don’t really feel pressure [in terms of replacing Hernandez], I’m just going to do what I can do, do what I know I can do.”
While Adame is no slouch athletically, his NFL comparison is certainly more of another former 49ers quarterback in Alex Smith, rather than Kaepernick. Therefore, one has to wonder if the passing attack will be seen more frequently in 2018 than it was in 2017 when Hernandez attempted just 91 passes. Three seasons ago, Chargers quarterback Eduardo Andrade finished with 127 pass attempts.
“We’re definitely creating some offense for him specifically,” remarked coach Rosa on getting the ball to Cooper in the passing attack. “We’re going to try and get him the ball as much as we possibly can. He’s definitely a special player.”
With coach Rosa’s son Paul M. Rosa returning for his junior year and Gabe Herrera for his senior year, the Chargers return their top two tailbacks from a year ago. It is no secret that Wilcox will continue to be a run-heavy offense. However, it will be worth keeping an eye on just how much more they utilize the passing game this season.
On the other side of the ball, the Chargers also bring a number of key returners back on defense from last season, including linebackers Roan Poulivaati and Robert Padilla.
“Practice feels good so far, really competitive, people battling for starting spots, a physical atmosphere for sure,” noted Poulivaati, who is entering his junior year this season. “We’re just trying to bounce back from last year’s playoff loss, improve and go even further.”
Wilcox will once again start their non-league portion of the season against a tough West Catholic League opponent when they open the season on Aug. 24 at home against Valley Christian.