Checking at No. 2 in our pre-season poll, the Foothill Knights are expected to once again be a top contender for some year-end hardware. In the 14-year history of the current post-season format, the Knights have won eight County championships, seven Southern Section championships, and have never failed to reach at least the County semi-finals. This season, head coach Jon Fox will ask one of the most youthful teams Foothill has ever fielded to step up and carry on the program’s legacy.
“I’m proud of the guys and the hard work they’ve put in this fall / winter to prepare,” coach Fox said by email. “They really like playing lacrosse and are excited to be together and play ball. We have a lot of youth already playing up in the varsity ranks probably 50% running on the field at all times are sophs or frosh, so it’s taking some time to fine tune and learn, but we plan to be playing our best lacrosse in May. We also still have a very talented JV/frosh squad, so the next 4 years are looking bright for the Foothill Knights”
Offensively, the Knights return three of their top five scorers in juniors Andrew Cumming (64g, 41a) and Troy Hofer (47g, 13a) and senior Riley Ahern (18g, 9a). All three are seasoned varsity players who can help guide young ‘uns when the need arises.
Even with that kind of firepower returning, replacing the production of All-Americans and Josh Fox (100 points) and Ellis Geis (79 points) will not be easy. Fox will likely look to senior Destry Burton, who missed all but one game last year, and sophomores Eason Babb (20g) and Roman Pistone (8g) to help fill those big shoes. Freshman Jason Woods also has the talent to help out.
The bigger challenge may come in replacing last year’s two-headed faceoff monster of Miles Smart and Michael Logan. Smart and Logan took all but 15 of the the Knights’ faceoff last year with a 55% success rate. Thus far this season, Fox has been taking a more defensive approach, splitting faceoffs nearly evenly between junior Justin Nakamura, and the long pole trio of sophomores Josh Anderson and Caden Salkeld, and freshman Easton Jellerson.
Anderson, Salkeld, and Jellerson are expected to team up with sophomore Luke Pearson to help anchor the defense.
The young Knights will get ready for the playoffs with a challenging schedule that includes top programs from within and outside the OC. This year’s schedule includes Plano (TX), Arapahoe (CO), La Costa Canyon, and Loyola to name a few. In addition Fox thinks that increasing parity within the OC may result in few more post season surprises than in the past.
“Overall there’s a lot of parity in OC,” Fox said. “We have a lot of great coaches that are building up great programs, and it’s exciting to see all the competitive games going on this season. I’m sure this year will have some really exciting playoff games even in the early rounds!”