The way Judge star running back Bruce Garlinghouse sees things, the Bulldogs' championship-game loss to Logan a season ago wasn't a finishing point.
OK, maybe it was for the seniors that ended their prep football careers that night. But for the guys that are coming back, it's a different story.
Judge returns several players like Garlinghouse underclassman that contributed heavily a year ago that collectively hope to accomplish even more this fall than they did last fall.
And they hope it all starts in Week 1.
"We're ready to get going where we left off," said Garlinghouse, who is drawing recruiting interest from the University of Washington and Columbia University, among others. "We got some unfinished business."
By all accounts, the glory days of Judge have returned under sixth-year coach James Cordova. In his first season, a number of schools lined up Judge for their homecoming game in hopes of racking up an easy win.
These days, however, that's hardly the case anymore.
"It's fantastic," Cordova said of the direction the program has taken. "It's a great change. We played in five homecoming games my first year, and it was demoralizing. Every week we had a 20-minute halftime. I didn't know you had short halftimes."
One of the reasons those extra homecomings have gone away, Garlinghouse believes, has been because Judge players have had a willingness to share the ball on offense.
Rather than rely one just one single player to get the job done, the Bulldogs have relied on several, and that should continue in 2008.
"I think that's why our offense was so prolific last year, because they couldn't key on one person," Garlinghouse said. "If they came in the game keying on Lewis (Walker), then I'd have a good game. If they starting keying on me because I had a good game, Lewis would take it."
Cordova said the nature of Judge's offense has made it easier to breed unselfish guys.
"Our option game is dependent on what the defense does. As far as being a coach of that, it makes things real easy and it makes kids unselfish," Cordova said. "Unselfish kids are successful kids. You don't have kids yellin' and complaining, 'I want the ball more.' All kids want the ball more.
E-mail: [email protected]
Judge Bulldogs 2008
COACH: James Cordova (6th year)
KEY PLAYERS: Two-way stars Keenyn Walker, Bruce Garlinghouse, Will Katoa, Zach McKown and A.J. Carmen will form the backbone of Judge's squad and should all have big seasons. Besides them, QB Chris Pell, Center Pat Grogan and Tackle Chase Jones should also be solid.
QUESTION MARK: How will Judge cope without a home? Realistically, that may prove to be one of Judge's biggest challenges this fall. Due to problems with their stadium problems that are currently in litigation Judge will practice away from its campus all season and will play all of its home games at Juan Diego except one, which will be held at East High.
PREDICTED REGION 10 FINISH: Second.
POSTSEASON POSSIBILITIES: Region 10 coaches voted Park City first and Judge second in the league, while Class 3A coaches voted Judge second and Park City third behind returning champ Logan. Either way you look at it, the Bulldogs should be considered one of Class 3A's top teams and have the potential to return to the championship game for the second year in a row.