When Ray Fenton and his coaching staff arrived at Fountain Valley High a few months back, the first-year football coach of the Barons took notice of something right away.
"As a staff, we've been together for a long time and from the moment we stepped on campus, we talked about what a really great group of kids we would be working with," he said. "It's a respectful, talented and hard-working group, the total package. This team has a great work ethic."
Fenton comes to Fountain Valley after serving as head coach the past two years at Claremont Webb Prep. Prior to that, he was head coach at Cypress High. While at Cypress, his teams won two league championships and his 2007 squad won the CIF Southern Section Southern Division title.
He takes over a Fountain Valley team that returns key players from last year's 4-6 team. While it's a new start for Fenton and the Barons, 2013 is all about a strong finish. Last year, the Barons lost four games by a touchdown or less.
"They were in every game last year," Fenton said. "They just couldn't finish in several games. When we got here on campus, we talked about 'finishing,' whether it be in drills at practice, on every play, in every game."
The Barons lose several All-Sunset League performers from last year's team including quarterback Chris d'Entremont who was the league's 2012 co-Offensive Back of the Year. Vying for the position are two seniors, Scott Schultz and Travis Hood. Schultz was the backup last year to d'Entremont and Hood is a transfer from Buena Park High.
Fenton said both will lead the offense this fall.
"Both have different skill sets that fit our offensive packages well," Fenton said. "Both will see time on Friday nights.
"Travis is very competitive and gives you that 'wild-card' edge on the offensive side of the ball. He throws and runs well and has unique skill sets. Scott throws the ball exceptionally well, makes great decisions and has a really good command of our offense."
Fountain Valley, which will don new white helmets this fall, starts the Ray Fenton Era Aug. 30, taking on Foothill at Tustin High.
Fountain Valley Barons
Head coach: Ray Fenton (first year)
Coaching staff: Joe Meza (defensive backs); Dan Falt (defensive backs); Kevin Dull (defensive backs); John Eyman (defensive line); Mike Cobleigh (linebackers); Tom Moreno (defensive line); Steve Eggert (tight ends/special teams); Greg Russell (offensive line); Jeff Crooks (quarterbacks); Bob Dapper (running backs); Mike Vanderipe (wide receivers).
2012 records: 4-6 overall/1-4 league (fifth)
Offensive scheme: Multiple
Defensive scheme: 3-4
Returning starters offense: 3
Returning starters defense: 3
Players returning with honors: Jacob Church (WR/DB, Sr., second team all-league); Ryan Finley (WR/DB, Jr.); Stone Escobedo (OLB, Jr., second team all-league).
Key returning players: Isaiah Davis (RB/WR/DB, Sr.); Scott Schultz (QB, Sr.); Jacob Church (WR/DB, Sr.); Ryan Finley (WR/DB, Jr.); Stone Escobedo (OLB, Jr.); Sal Ochoa (WR/FS, Jr.); Sam Bingham (DL, Sr.); Hunter Margain (ILB, Sr.).
Key newcomers: Travis Hood (QB, Sr.); Dominique Kane (FB/LB, Sr.); Anthony Arrevelos (WR, Sr.).
Key losses: Chris d'Entremont (QB, first team all-league); JD Hinnant (OL/DE, first team all-league); Wyatt Christensen (WR/LB/FS, first team all-league); Tyler Argy (NG/LG, first-team all-league); Steele Escobedo (RB/SS, second team all-league); Jason Baker (CB/WR, second team all-league).
Coach's comments: "I think we have a chance to have a special season," Fenton said.
The opposition: Foothill, Dana Hills and Trabuco Hills return as early-season opponents with L.A. Banning and Westminster rounding out the nonleague schedule. The Barons begin Sunset League play against Marina. "Tough schedule, our preseason (nonleague) is loaded," Fenton said. "It's a great challenge and we'll have our hands full. Then it's on to the Sunset League. It doesn't get any better than that."
2013 Barons Schedule
Aug. 30: at Foothill (Tustin High), 7 p.m.
Sept. 6: Dana Hills (Huntington Beach High), 7 p.m.
Sept. 13: Trabuco Hills (Huntington Beach High), 7 p.m.
Sept. 19: L.A. Banning (Huntington Beach High), 7 p.m.
Sept. 27: at Westminster, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11: at *Marina (Westminster High), 7 p.m.
Oct. 18: *Huntington Beach (Huntington Beach High), 7 p.m.
Oct. 25: at *Newport Harbor, 7 p.m.
Nov. 1: *Edison (OCC), 7 p.m.
Nov. 7: at *Los Alamitos (Veterans Stadium), 7 p.m.
(*denotes league game)