No roaring student section; no “Friday night lights,” but rather just a small crowd of passionate friends and family watching along as the Lancers JV football team takes on the Panthers in a heated league rivalry game that came down to the final snap.
This season was an impressive one. Game after game their strong offense and impactful defense take the field and put up big numbers against powerful opponents. Wins against teams such as Newbury Park and Pacifica have the future of the football program looking bright.
“The main goal for this season was to learn and develop, and I think we accomplished that,” coach Tracy Spencer said.
Finishing with a record of 3-3, it’s clear that the JV football team has an abundance of talent in its small 28 man roster, but only having 28 players may have just been their downfall in some of the closer losses this season.
“The biggest problem we have right now is numbers,” said Spencer. “We have athletes [playing] both ways, every game, but every team we played did not have to do that.”
Despite the low number of players on the sidelines, the offense looked impressive this season with sophomore quarterback Miles Briers and freshman quarterback Charlie Spencer sharing the snaps in the backfield.
The other side of the ball has also been playing strong throughout the year, only allowing over 25 points on one occasion.
Although their record falls below the .500 mark, they put up close fights against many of the best football schools in the area, evident by scores such as an 8-7 loss against La Serna in the season opener.
Despite these impressive showings, many of the players feel that they could have performed even stronger this season.
“I feel like we could have definitely done better,” sophomore running back Michael Ostrow said. “We are the best [JV] team in Conejo Valley.”
Coming off of a successful season from previous year’s freshman team, this year’s JV squad carried over a lot of the chemistry and friendships that they developed last year.
“Our chemistry [is] great,” Ostrow said. ‘We are all a family and no one can take that away from us.”
The bonds built between the team and the coaches has also been one of this team’s main advantages.
“In order to run plays you have to be able to be coached. Athletes have to be willing to listen and do what the coach says” Spencer said. “That was the biggest strength of this team.”
The team focused a lot of this season on development, and many of the players are looking to grow as players so they can have the chance represent the Lancers next year at the varsity level.
“That’s the whole point of JV. You want to learn so you can move into varsity next year,” Spencer said.
Looking past the lack of screaming fans and flashy entrances, JV football for Thousand Oaks has really been some of the more impressive and exciting football to watch this year. With these young players continuing to develop, watch for their names as they have the opportunity to play under the Friday night lights in the coming years.