Quartz Hill Football: How will the Royals do following a CIF Championship?

Left in Under Armor headband: Ty Manthey, Right: Oliver Weese

Left in Under Armor headband: Ty Manthey, Right: Oliver Weese

The 2021-22 Royals Football season was historic for Quartz Hill. Following a CIF championship in 2017, the Royals made their deepest CIF run in school history, winning a division 12 and regional title. This run was unexpected, to say the least, as the Royals finished fourth in the Golden League. However, the Royals made this surprising and memorable run possible through dedication and newly found team chemistry. With a fourth CIF Championship, Head Coach James Vondra was one of only five coaches in CIF history to have sent three teams to a CIF championship within the span of five years.

However, Coach Vondra has now retired, and the Royals have begun training with a new head coach this summer. With 26 years of experience in coaching football, Head Coach Russell Gordon has stepped in and created a team unlike any other Quartz Hill team in history. With an emphasis on team culture and bonding, Coach Gordon hopes to use his experience and unique team-focused attitude to help the Royals succeed again next year, even though they’ll be in a much higher division. Coach Gordon states, “Really buying into and creating a culture in the weight room is what we believe will translate to success on the field… I think the loss of seniors creates more of a loss in experience than performance. We believe hard work reaps the rewards, so we’ll make sure to get there and get where we need to be.”

The Royals have been training for three consecutive months. Thus far, the Royals have competed in two tournaments and many more scrimmages against local teams like Palmdale and higher division teams like St. Francis. According to Coach Gordon, these tournaments are less about developing strategies against enemy teams and more so improving team chemistry and building experience. Starting wide receiver and rising senior Oliver Weese states, “These tournaments are really good for us. Honestly, I’ve never seen a Quartz Hill team this strong at this point in the year, and I’m really excited about the experience and culture our new coach is creating.” The confidence of these players and team is encouraging and hopefully hints at a successful season.

Furthermore, the tragic deaths of two important figures in the Quartz Hill Football world will surely push these players harder than ever before. Special teams Coach Darrell Augusta, unfortunately, lost the battle to cancer, passing away in early May. Former defensive star Aiden Agnor faced a tragic car crash and, following a battle in intensive care, passed away in early July. 

Defensive player Dorsey Davis states, “It’s tragic and heartbreaking that our program has faced so many deaths and changes. It’s really unfortunate that Aiden had to go so soon. He was such an amazing person and leader. I can’t name a single person that didn’t like him or he didn’t get along with. Coach Augusta was a really inspirational coach as well, and he worked really well with many of my teammates. We’re gonna play every game for them and work harder than ever before in their name.” 

Overall, the Royals have a bright future ahead of them, and the hard work they are putting in now will hopefully translate to success in the coming season. Though they may not achieve the same heights they reached last year, they will make their best effort to do so. Good luck, Royals!