The obvious choice, and clearly the brightest answer, sits atop four 72-foot poles at the corners of Bennie Edens Field inside Pete Ross Stadium: “Friday Night Lights” has finally become a reality on the 93-year-old campus and this team will be the first to take the field under thousands of watts of pure LED bliss, something players in past years thought was going to be their privilege.
But challenges by neighbors, after holding up the project for a few years, have run their course and a Superior Court decision in late June drove a legal dagger into the heart of opponents.
The Pointers are also celebrating some unique and different new uniforms for their home games, an all-black outfit with school colors of maroon and gold used as accents in what is described as a "metallic look." Most important: the players love 'em, and in prep sports, that love translates into pride and effort on the field.
At the helm of the Pointer offense again will be senior Kyle Grady. The 6-foot 3-inches tall senior completed 46 of 110 passes last season for 586 yards with seven TDs and six interceptions. Ready to relieve Grady are returners Alexander Xykis and Anthony Karty.
The QBs will have some big targets to throw to this season like returning receivers JL Skinner (6-foot 5-inches tall, four catches, 48 yards) and Malik Moore (6-feet tall, five catches, 81 yards). Other receivers with good hands include returners Austin Haines, Wes Windmiller and newcomers Tristan Shafer, Matewos Bogale and Anthony Martinez.
The Pointers like to throw to tall tight ends and this year they include newcomers Carlos Amarrillaz (6-foot 5-inches tall), Alejandro Peterson (6-foot 2-inches tall), Luke Modesto (6-foot 3-inches tall) and Trevor O'Toole (6-foot 1-inch tall). Also seeing time at the position will be Karty and newcomer Jacob Maruky.
The quarterbacking trio in head coach Mike Hastings' offense must also learn to pivot, move, hand off and pitch the ball very fast and with deception, often to men in motion. Another kennel of Pointers is ready to take those handoffs and pitches and turn them into points.
Last year's top running back returns. Josh Ball carried 103 times and picked up 549 yards and scored five TDs, an 5.3 average. What the stats don't show is Ball's YAC (Yards After Contact) as he proved to be tough to bring down and fought until the whistle. Moore gained 108 yards in 16 carries and Cameron Auva'a gained 47 on a half-dozen carries. Big Mathew Fa'alele (6-foot 2-inches tall, 245 pounds) added 112 yards on 20 carries while Brian Yepez and Christian Terzoli also return.
New faces in the backfield will be Zac Makis, Johkyerian Shealey, Dominic Daughtry and Kaden Gill.
Pointer linemen are flexible. They all learn a position on offense and defense and some play both ways. That means the whole group typically gets into the action, and few end the game with clean uniforms.
Returning seniors lead this group of warriors, and they include Davey Folsom, Josh Fierro, Miguel Rodriguez and Camden Koolen, Meshach Epperley, Clifford Haywood, Karty and Fa'alele, who could be a beast, plus Jake Silva, who who made the team last year as a sophomore. New faces to the group are junior Cannon Nutting and sophomore Danny Sheldon.
Among the returners are Terzoli, Auva'a, Yepez, Ball and Koolen. Senior Jack Early joins the ranks.
A corps of Pointer vets will try to limit pass completions by Pointer opponents through the air or pick up runners who make it to the Dogs' secondary. Returners include seniors Michael Blakely, Moore, Haines and Ball along with junior Skinner. Fresh faces include Makis, Shealey, Daughtry, Bogale, Gill and Martinez.
Placekicking and punting will be handled by two newcomers. Junior Ricky Borjon and sophomore Andy Medina will compete for the job. Ironically, both are younger brothers of previous Pointer kickers (Oscar Borjon and Jaime Medina). Long-snapping will be sophomore Modesto while Grady holds.