Number 5: Foothill Knights

This is the first time in five seasons that the Foothill Knights have not come into a season ranked #1 or as CIF Champions. Can Coach Jon Fox rally the Knights and lead them back to the promised land?

Foothill High School Knights
League: Independent
Last Year: 11-9

Coach: Jon Fox

College Commits: Tanner Jones, Attack (Adams State, D2), Colin Cummins, Midfield (Adams State, D2), Chandler Rendl, Defense (Ohio Wesleyan, D3).

MaxLaxOC.Com Outlook: Foothill High School has been THE powerhouse in Orange County high school, earning five straight CIF championships from 2007 through 2011. Last year the Knights were dethroned by eventual CIF champions Corona Del Mar in the Southern Section semi-finals. This season, head coach Jon Fox is hoping to get his team re-focused on the task at hand and back in the race for a title.

The 2013 Knights feature a solid senior class throughout the lineup, while some key offseason injuries have opened the door for some young talent to step up. Look for Cameron Stone and Tanner Jones to anchor the offense. Sophomore Nate Marano will look to contribute on the offensive end as well. The junior duo of Ryan Falbo and Warren Case will be scoring threats at the midfield along with sophomore Austin Babb.

Defensively, the Knights lost a ton to graduation and Fox says his 2013 defense is out to prove they can pick up the pieces and protect the cage. Riley Huddack and Chandler Rendl (Ohio Wesleyan) will be the enforcers down low, while Collin Cummins (Adams State) and junior Chris Skillman will be the top defensive middies for the Knights.

Foothill has limited their offseason tournament play and have instead been focusing on their individual and team play. Coach Fox says the team is excited to get out and put the practice plans into real game situations and see where they can adjust. The Knights did participate in the One Way 2 Play tournament, which Fox said produced some good moments for the team and showcased their versatility on the field.

Despite falling short of expectations last year, Fox has not changed his approach or mentality for the season. “It’s always a new start, no matter the year. We always try to play the most difficult schedule and most amount of games we can to build toward the playoffs.” Fox says that this year’s team is completely different from last year’s squad, and while they are aware they didn’t win it all last year, that doesn’t change what their goals are as a team.

Foothill’s schedule is always a difficult one and this year is no different. Fox is most excited for his game against De La Salle (Northern California), where he has had a long-standing, competitive friendship with Spartan Coach Bob O’ Meara. He is also looking forward to representing OC when they head down to San Diego to face powerhouses La Costa Canyon and Torrey Pines.

The Knights will open their schedule Feb. 23 when they travel to Tesoro.

Adam Guy,