Huntington Beach, Calif. - Welcome to the Golden West Rustler Football 2018 season opener against the Fullerton Hornets. This marks the second full season playing on the Golden West College campus. G-Dub begins the season ranked No. 23 in the California preseason coaches' poll.
Your Rustlers are coming off a tough 4-6 2017 campaign. What set the season's tone early were two major injuries to starting quarterback Beau Kalbacher and starting linebacker David Aldapa in Week 1 against Glendale. Fortunately, Kalbacher and Aldapa are ready to hit reset their sophomore seasons as leaders of the Rustlers' offense and defense.
On offense, Kalbacher looks to start at quarterback, but watch for local product Nathaniel Espinoza (Corona del Mar) to make noise as well.
On defense, the secondary will see some familiar faces despite heavy personnel turnover overall. Returning with Aldapa is DB Justin Ford to help lead the defense. Keep an eye out for freshmen Austin Kramer, Jason Fuga (Brethren Christian), Sean Branch and Keion Craig (Orange) to make an immediate impact in the secondary. Incoming big-men Austin Cooper and Jalen Harrington are set to bring their talents to the defensive line from Trinity League power-house St. John Bosco.
Finally, super-utility player James Baldwin returns for his sophomore season as the prime player to watch. The outfielder turned footballer was used as a punter, defensive end, defensive back and special teamer last season. Look for him to make an impact in more ways than one this season.
Golden West Returners to Watch:
- Beau Kalbacher, QB: 2017 opening game starter, medical redshirt.
- David Aldapa, LB: 17 tackles in 2016, medical redshirt 2017.
- James Baldwin, P/DE: Averaged 34 yds per punt, long of 51 yds; 14 tkls & 1 sack on D in 2017.
- Justin Ford, DB: 10 tackles & 1 INT last season.
- Brailon Mouton, WR: 29 rec, 380 yds, 3 tds last season
- Ben Ratzlaff, WR: 25 rec, 245 yds, 2 tds last season.
- Tevon Valdez, RB: 69 rush, 251 yds, 2 tds last season.