New coach and stellar players are ready for season kick-off

This year marks a new era for Carpinteria High School football, as Mario Robinson takes over as the Warriors new head coach. Robinson started his career coaching the senior team at the Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club, winning the club’s Superbowl in 1998. Since then, he has been coaching in the Oxnard School District at various high schools, such as Hueneme, Pacifica and Channel Islands. Currently, he is also the recreation supervisor for the city of Ventura.

Robinson grew up in Los Angeles, playing football for Pacific Palisades. He then attended Santa Barbara City College and transferred to San Francisco State where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Recreation while on the university’s football team. 

Robinson inherits a strong core of upperclassmen at CHS. The Warriors have 12 seniors and 15 juniors on this year’s squad. One of those seniors, Will Collins, looks to be the odds-on favorite to take over the quarterback position. Collins is 6’4’’ and weighs 215 lbs. He filled in last year in relief when starter Vance Keiser went down with an injury. Collins led the Warriors to victory in the homecoming game. Junior backup Diego Mendez is also expected to get some snaps. Robinson plans to prepare him to take over the quarterback position next season. 

Robinson will be running a new offense this season. “You’ll definitely see a ‘spread’ offense, a lot of movement, a lot of motion, six skilled guys on the field at all times,” explained Robinson whose wife of 25 years, Leticia, is a Carpinteria alumna. Jacob Macias returns for his senior year and looks to be one of those skilled players. After getting a good amount of reps as running back last season, he’ll be moved to the slot position. 

At 5’11’’ and 190 lbs., senior Jacob Mata figures to be a big target in the passing game as he was last season. He’ll be lining up in a new spot this year in the wing position. Speedy junior Irving Garcia will also see plenty of action at this position. “We need to play two to three guys at each position, just to be fresh in the fourth quarter,” said Robinson whose players like most Warrior teams in the past will be playing both offense and defense.   

On defense, Mata will play on the line alongside junior Esai Vega and fellow senior Enrique Marin. Collins will head a senior corps of linebackers that include Danny Grimes and Ever Santamaria. Macias will lead the secondary as one of the defensive backs. “Our DBs are not the tallest but they run well and they’re very athletic. So defensively, all we ask them to do is be good tacklers,” said Robinson.

Junior Vincent Rinaldi who attended some kicking camps over the summer will do the bulk of the placekicking with junior Julian Contreras as his backup. Robinson also expects strong contributions from sophomore Richard DeAlba and junior Alexis Serrano at the wide receiver and defensive back positions, and senior Conor Bailey at both defensive and offensive line. 

With both Malibu and Santa Clara’s football programs departing from the Citrus Coast League this season, the number of teams drops down to five. As a result, the Warriors will play only eight games during the regular season. Last year, they played 10. Carpinteria scrimmages this Saturday against Viewpoint at Valley Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. The regular football season begins on Aug. 30 (kickoff at 7 p.m.) with a homegame against Warriors’ longtime rival Santa Ynez. 

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