Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Unrecognized sting - Camarillo rolls along while carrying "overlooked" label

The Scorpion logo on the home stands of Carl Thompson Field is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city of Camarillo while passing Highway 101. The varsity football program has won 15 straight league games while playing in the shadow of some Ventura County elite teams (photo contributed).
When traveling south bound through the Ventura Freeway on Highway 101, it's easy to spot where Camarillo High School is.

The large painted Scorpion gives away the institution's location, as it covers the first 24 rows of the home stands inside the football stadium. The decorated logo clad in navy blue and silver is one of the most recognizable landmarks in a town known for the following: its factory outlets, Cal State Channel Islands University, a high school football program with 15 consecutive Pacific View League victories...

And unrecognized football talent.

The players on Carl Thompson Field spearhead a program that's 47-15 since 2009 and has won five straight PVL titles (shared the league championship in 2010). However, the Scorpions believe they've been in the shadow of Ventura County bosses St. Bonaventure, Newbury Park, Westlake, Oaks Christian and Thousand Oaks.

The Scorpions haven't been known for being a college football recruiting hotbed either.

Corbin Covey - Class of 2013 - was one national recruit donning the CHS colors. He shattered state, county and school records at wide receiver before joining Colorado State of the Mountain West Conference. Jake Maulhardt is running routes in the MWC too with Wyoming. He's another former Scorpion and '13 graduate. Bryan Anger, Jacksonville Jaguars punter and former Cal-Berkeley Golden Bear, blasted his kicks in a Scorpion uniform before graduating in 2007. They're the most recent Scorpions who moved on to the collegiate ranks and were over-shadowed by the talent at the other prominent Ventura County schools.

The Scorpions' sting has been unnoticed. But now, Camarillo got its promotion to join the likes of Newbury Park, Royal-Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks in the Camino League. As for the non-league slate, St. Bonaventure is coming to Carl Thompson Field on Oct. 10. There's the forthcoming heavyweight battle at Ventura High on Friday, Sept. 26. These are the games that motivate the Scorpions to rise up and get noticed in front of the Ventura County powerhouses.

Scorpions quarterback Jake Constantine, who has 812 yards, 12 touchdown passes, three interceptions and early interest from some big time college football programs (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna)

Quarterback Jake Constantine said Camarillo is a sleeper in the southern Central Coast region.

"Yeah, I definitely think so," Constantine said. "We've been waiting for our shot to play all these good teams. We're excited to play these teams now."

Constantine is already playing like a national recruit. The junior 6-foot-2 signal caller directs the Up-Tempo No-Huddle offense that can score at will when it gets going. Camarillo is averaging 31.6 points per game, with Constantine throwing for 812 yards, 12 touchdown passes, completing 69.9 percent of his throws and getting intercepted three times.

He's frustrated pass rushers with his ability to escape the pocket and throw on the run, proven by his performances against Paso Robles (41-35 loss) and Simi Valley (22-20 victory). Constantine has included a quick release to his throws and a strong arm that can fling a ball 40-45 yards down the field.

Clemson of the Atlantic Coast Conference, Fresno State of the Mountain West and Holy Cross of the Football Championship Subdivision have already taken notice of Constantine by sending him letters.

While Constantine is motivated by the colleges that are showing interest, he said he can still build on his game.

"I have a lot of improvement to do throughout the year," Constantine said. "Mainly just footwork, staying in the pocket, just like all the great quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Brady is my favorite quarterback. That guy works the pocket."

Constantine isn't the only fast riser on the recruiting scene for Camarillo.

Senior linebacker Bryce Arnold leads the Scorpion defense. He's been recruited as both an outside linebacker and strong safety by a few mid-major college programs (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna)

Senior outside linebacker Bryce Arnold is getting courted by NCAA Division II and FCS programs. He's the sideline-to-sideline tackling machine at linebacker. Junior running backs Colby Stevens and Isaiah Otis bring determination and a hard-nosed running style to the backfield. Both backs averaged over four yards a carry in the victory over Simi Valley.

Then on the perimeter there's Frankie Tostado; the big 6-foot-3 target who doubles as a wide receiver mismatch and game changing cornerback. Tostado was the one who burned Simi Valley for three receptions of 22, 38 and 43 yards. He's the junior prospect who won the jump ball battle on defense to haul down the final climatic interception and seal the victory over Simi Valley.

Tostado, who's received interest from Utah of the PAC-12 and Boston College of the ACC, said he takes pride in his athleticism.

"I may not be the quickest receiver, but I can get off the line and come down with the ball," Tostado said, who likes to compare himself to Randy Moss.

Does he agree that Camarillo football is getting unnoticed?

"Yeah. We have a lot of talent out here especially in Ventura County," Tostado said. "But we don't get a lot of looks unless you're a private school. But public schools have talent out here too."

Next game: Camarillo (2-1) travels to Ventura (4-0) for its 7 p.m. non-league battle on Friday, Sept. 26. 

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