With a new offense, new defense and new energy, the Deer Valley High football team is putting together an impressive run.
After his team finished 4-6 last year and missed the North Coast Section playoffs, Wolverines coach Rich Woods made some adjustments in the offseason. Entering Friday's game against Pittsburg, the Wolverines are 6-1 -- which includes a 55-35 victory over defending Sac-Joaquin Section champion Vacaville.
Part of the plan was revamping what the Wolverines did on both sides of the ball.
Woods hired Nick Iano to run the offense and took over the defense himself when longtime defensive coordinator George Smylie retired.
Iano, a former assistant at Contra Costa College, has the offense averaging 41 points a game as the Wolverines enter a tough three-week stretch to end the regular season, starting this Friday at home against the defending Bay Valley Athletic League champion Pirates.
Junior quarterback Nsimba Webster in particular has thrived in Iano's system, which Woods describes as a multiple-set offense that utilizes the team's athleticism and gets a lot of players involved in the action.
Webster, who also started as a sophomore, is averaging over 200 passing yards and 68 rushing yards a game. He's accounted for 26 touchdowns.
Running back Shane Pooler has rushed for 836 yards and 11 touchdowns behind a solid offensive line.
Besides the fresh schemes, Woods said it was also important
"This was one of those years where we weren't sure what was going to transpire," Woods said. "I see a real buy-in from our players. We're better in the classroom, better in the community and better on the field."
Claycord Cup up for grabs: Washington State-bound Olito Thompson and Concord host Clayton Valley and Joe Protheroe in a 7 p.m. game Friday that means just as much in the Diablo Valley Athletic League standings as it does for bragging rights.
Concord has hoisted the Claycord Cup the past three years -- outscoring the Eagles 148-34 in those contests.
But Clayton Valley enters the contest on a six-game winning streak and tied for first in the league standings. Both teams are 6-1 overall, but Concord is behind in the DVAL standings after losing to Northgate two weeks ago.
How each team's run defense holds up could be the difference. Protheroe leads the East Bay in rushing yards with 1,560 but should be fresh thanks to numerous blowout wins. He needed just seven carries to earn 182 rushing yards against College Park last week.
Thompson, who broke multiple East Bay rushing records as a junior in 2011, has tallied 1,262 yards in seven games. Both Protheroe and Thompson have 18 touchdowns.
HOMECOMING NOW AWAY-COMING?: San Lorenzo will be in an unusual situation when it faces Arroyo on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the Helmet Game.
It's San Lorenzo's homecoming game -- but it's being held at rival Arroyo because bleachers are in the process of being installed next to San Lorenzo's new field.
"I guess it feels a little weird that we will be playing over there as the home team. How many times is that going to happen anywhere?," San Lorenzo coach Jacob Wright said.
Actually, it might happen again between these two teams.
"The funny thing about it is next year our homecoming may be at their field," Arroyo coach James Barnes said. Arroyo will be getting a new field over the next 12 months, Barnes said.
This year's Helmet Game is a must-win for both teams. Arroyo is 3-4 overall and 1-1 in the West Alameda County Conference-Shoreline Division. San Lorenzo is 2-5, 1-1.
Staff writer Phil Jensen contributed to this notebook.