Falcons football: Five questions

By: Mike Ray, Staff Writer
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The high school football season is just a short pooch kick away with the start of games less than three weeks away. For the next couple of weeks, teams are limited to just weight lifting and conditioning until the start of fall drills Aug. 10.
This season at Colfax High, Falcons coach Tony Martello faces another big challenge as he tries to shape up an inexperienced squad that lost key players from a team that went 8-5 in 2014 and reached the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. V finals.  
Now, getting ready to start his 20th season (178-49-1) at the helm of the Colfax grid fortunes, here are five big questions that face Martello and Colfax High’s varsity program has it prepares to enter the 2015 campaign.
1. Who will be Colfax’s quarterback in 2015?
Either way you look at it, Martello will be going with a signal-caller who didn’t throw a varsity pass for the Falcons last season. According to Martello, Colfax’s two quarterbacks this summer, Justus Spillner, a senior transfer from Nevada Union, and junior Austin Weir, both looked good in summer drills. However, Spillner, a two-year varsity starter at Nevada Union, is awaiting the ruling of a CIF state appeal to play this season after his transfer was ruled “athletically motivated” by the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section last month.
2. When the Falcons do throw this season, who are the receivers?
 The Falcons look to have a capable corps of pass catchers this season. Leading the group will be returning all-Pioneer Valley League selection Matthew Harshman. In 2014, Harshman led the PVL in receptions (550) and receiving yards (744). Also back are Dylan Meinster who caught 14 passes and tight end Spencer Gutierrez. Drew Daniels, a transfer from Nevada Union, will add depth to the group when he becomes eligible Oct. 1.
3. Who replaces Tim Rawlins as the team’s rushing leader?
When Tim Rawlins picked up his diploma in June, he took over 3,569 career rushing yards and 51 touchdowns with him. So, who replaces the speedy ex-Falcon? For starters, Martello doesn’t have to look far. While Rawlins was winning all-PVL Player of the Year honors a year ago, fellow running back Luke Rineer quietly averaged 6.5 yards a carry while gaining 751 yards. He’ll be joined by Meinster and junior Marc Avila to provide depth.
4. Do the Falcons have line and defensive experience back?
Martello welcomes back some experience in the line with starters Michael Wolfe, Alec Shafer, Ben Thompson and Jacob Stager all returning. On defense, meanwhile, linebackers Jakob Norad, Paul Rogers and John Pedersen will lead the way.
5. How does the schedule shape up for Colfax in 2015?
The Falcons will definitely get a helping of home cooking as five of Colfax’s first six games are set for Marson Stadium. Colfax’s two biggest PVL games, however, are on the road: Oct. 16 at Bear River and Nov. 6 at Placer.