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Citrus Valley Blackhawks Launch Inaugural Season

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By Jon D. Gaede –

Coach Pete Smolin and his Citrus Valley high school football staff faces the daunting task of preparing young men to play varsity football for the first time.

Smolin hails from Pennsylvania where he played collegiate football at a high level. His most recent high

school coaching journey includes a successful stint at Cantwell Sacred Heart. Coach Smolin and most of his staff continue to make the tough daily journey from the Los Angeles area until they are settled.

Dedicated, intense and highly organized, coach Smolin’s practices are beginning to pay off.

His staff and players have had to be flexible, as they began their initial sessions at Clement  Middle School. The young squad then transitioned to their own field for ‘two a day’ workouts in late August.

Decked out in distinctive black & gold, the Citrus Valley Blackhawks will field two programs this year. Sophomores will play a varsity schedule and freshman players will play a JV schedule.

The new campus, located on the corner of Pioneer and Texas is a wonderful design for students, teaching staff and athletes.

Principal Bernie Cavanaugh takes his post at what will be the signature site for the district.

Athletic director Steve Thornburgh, who spends a great deal of his time with the team, has arranged to have the initial Blackhawk season played at Redlands High School until their stadium is complete.

Last Saturday, in a blazing heat, the Blackhawk JV played the varsity in the first black & gold game. The varsity came out on top 34-14, however, the younger squad was very impressive.

The size and speed of the underclassmen is a prelude of good things to come.

Coach Smolin stresses character, personal responsibility and requires all football players to attend a one hour daily study hall. On the front of each helmet the word “CLASS” will appear.

They stand for character, leadership, attitude, scholarship and service.

On Friday night at 5 pm, the Blackhawks will play a tune-up rotation against Colton, Bloomington and Norco. The scrimmages will be played at Colton.

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