Previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in California: No. 20 Monterey Trail Mustangs

SBLive California is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in the state ahead of the 2020-2021 season. Even with the season on hold, we will continue to highlight the best teams, players and coaches in California. Here’s an inside look at the Monterey Trail Mustangs of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section, the No. 20 team in our countdown.

MORE: PRESEASON TOP 50 PREVIEWS

MONTEREY TRAIL TEAM PAGE | 2021 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

MONTEREY TRAIL HEAD COACH

TJ Ewing, 17th season

2019 AT A GLANCE

  • 12-2 overall record
  • 5-0 in Metropolitan League (1st)
  • Lost to Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 35-27 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 Championship

KEY DEPARTURES

  • Viktor Timonin – QB
  • Caleb Ramsuer – RB
  • Antonio Williams – WR/DB
  • Kevin Adams Jr. – WR
  • Marcus Jones Jr. – LB
  • Umi Wilson – LB

2021 SCHEDULE

  • Jan. 15 vs. Cosumnes Oaks – 7:30PM – Non League
  • Jan. 29 at Del Oro – 7:15PM – Non League
  • Feb. 5 vs. St. John Bosco – 7:30PM – Non League
  • Feb. 12 vs. Pittsburg – 7:30PM – Non League
  • Feb. 19 at McClatchy – 7:15PM – League
  • Feb. 26 at River City – 7:15PM – League
  • Mar. 5 vs. Kennedy – 7:15PM – League
  • Mar. 12 vs. Burbank – 7:30PM – League
  • Mar. 19 vs. Laguna Creek – 7:15PM – League

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Prophet Brown (Senior-RB/DB) (USC commit) (5-11, 180)

Coach Ewing: “He’s a very athletic kid, highly intelligent and super competitive. When his gears start, he can really go and do something different.”

2019 stats: 779 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns, 343 receiving yards, five receiving touchdowns, three interceptions

Otha Williams Jr. (Senior-RB)

Coach Ewing: “Most consistent running back we have. He’s the best pure back we have in terms of just system running back.”

2019 stats: 834 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns

Chris Lands

Coach Ewing: “The Swiss Army Knife. He can play everything, running back, linebacker, safety, corner, receiver, quarterback. He’s so quick and athletic.”

2019 stats: 438 rushing yards, six rushing touchdowns, 35 tackles, two interceptions

Jamauri Jackson

Coach Ewing: “Super athletic in space. Phenomenal agility – forward and backward is the same speed. Jackson has great hands and can catch the ball.”

2019 stats: 42 tackles, four interceptions

Jasdev Banwait (Senior-OL/DL) (6-5, 250)

Coach Ewing: “He’s a both-ways starter. He’s gonna play tackle for us; he played tight end last year. Highly intelligent, super mature, just very athletic and he can let us do a lot of things offensively because of his talent.”

2019 stats: 36-yard touchdown reception, 11 tackles, one interception

Nekhi Broadway (Senior-LB) (6-0, 195)

Coach Ewing: “He’s a really good player. He had over 100 tackles last year.”

2019 stats: 104 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles, one interception

Tanaki Tonga (Junior-LB) (5-11, 165)

Coach Ewing: “He played JV last year because he was a transfer and had to sit. They were 9-1 and he dominated.”

HOW COVID-19 HAS AFFECTED MONTEREY TRAIL FOOTBALL

COVID-19 has affected every high school football team differently. Coach Ewing shares how COVID-19 has impacted Monterey Trail football over the past several months:

“For us we do a good job and have a lot of on campus coaches and we’re really structured with how we provide kids opportunities. I’ve been here 16 years and we took over the program with my assistants, so we have a lot (of coaches) on campus … some former players and some guys that are seriously outstanding people. A few kids fell off there’s no doubt because of the pandemic, there’s no hope in their minds. I’d say three out of the 65 fell off.”

“That’s what happens to schools … if there’s not a physical male role model in front of the kid’s face, that kid falls off. So those kids with two-parent homes and all the financial support, if they go meet up – even if the Governor says to stay home – they still hang out, they still go party, those kids are fine. It’s the other ones who don’t have that structured environment.”

BEST-CASE SCENARIO

Monterey Trail appears to have the talent and experience to win a section title after coming up short last year.

MOST REALISTIC SCENARIO

As the fifth-seed last season, Monterey Trail made an impressive run to the championship game while taking down top-seeded Folsom along the way.

Monterey Trail should be in the mix again this season with Oak Ridge and Folsom as their top competitors. A non-league matchup against St. John Bosco in the regular season will be a great test for the Mustangs.

COACH SAID

“Winning our league title, then winning a section title, and winning a state title, that’s our expectations every year. Our kids put that out there, so they have that focus.”

“This is the biggest line we’ve had. The most athletic and the best line we’ve had in a lot of years.”

“Then the biggest thing for us is our junior program, building our junior program has really saved us. There’s kids like dance team, or band, or leadership that come to our school because they played football when they were kids … We do get a lot of kids that played youth football for us and stayed the course and now you’re seeing the fruits of the labor the last couple years.”

TJ Ewing

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