As published on RecruitingNewsGuru by Ryan Wright
There is an old saying in sports, if you want to be the best you have to beat the best. Arcadia High School has taken the theme and ran with it during the early part of the 2018 season pushing beyond their Division VIII classification to take on La Salle (D-7), Cathedral (D-2), and Hart (D-3) coming away with a 2-2 record. The Apaches defense has been good, but the offense has been blistering averaging 37 points per contest. The man behind the Apaches offense is rising Class of 2020 quarterback Dylan Guerra.
The offseason in California takes on a regular season mentality with 7v7 action. Even without full-pads, the intensity level of 7v7 ball is high with top talent competing across the board in a chess match of offense verses defense and athlete verses athlete. In the springtime of the storied 7v7 action in southern California, Guerra (6-1, 177) started to stake his claim as one of the rising stars in the 2020 class that no one knew about. His prolific nature then is translating onto the field now seeing him hit 78 of 111 pass attempts for 1,181 yards with 10 touchdowns against just two interceptions. To add to the folklore, this is Guerra’s first season starting at the varsity level.
In a Recruiting News Guru catch-up interview, Guerra shared with me the secret to his and the Apaches early season success with a look ahead to Pacific League play.
Dylan, the Apaches have taken to the field playing some tough teams in non-conference action. How has playing teams like Cathedral (Los Angeles) helped push you squad forward in preparation for Pacific League play?
“Playing against a team like Cathedral, they are better competition. They are a D-II team. Knowing how good they are, their athletes and their good defense is helping us improve our overall game. My offensive line was able to go against very good competition and more than hold their own. Skill wise, we looked good against their skill guys. That kind of competition is helping us get ready. Going into league play, we know we will be a good team and that teams are trying to beat us, but we feel we are the best team out there.”
How has playing tough teams helped make you a better quarterback?
“Playing tough teams makes me better. Going against live bullets like Cathedral’s defense, that helps me with my pocket movement and getting the ball out quick. They have a good secondary. Against a good secondary you have to have good pre-snap reads. You have to be able to read the match-ups, anticipate, and get the ball out quick. I feel playing a team like Cathedral helps me grow into a better QB because of the competition.”
You are throwing darts across the field with over 1,100 yards already, what are you doing well out there leading to the big stat line?
“My energy is up. With what I am doing out there, I am confident, cool and collected. I am slowing the game down. I’m not going out there doing any one thing over the other. I am playing within the system and taking what the defense is giving me.”
How has your understanding of defenses and ability to recognize coverages improved from last year to this year?
“This year is my first year starting. I knew going into the season I would have to understand the game better. My understanding of the game is improving more and more. I am understanding the differences between the coverages, knowing my receivers better, and have a better understanding of our plays. With my knowledge, I can take advantage of that on the field. My knowledge can help us get into the end zone. A lot of that is about pre-snap reads and knowing defenses.”
What are some of the other strengths to your game?
“I am good with RPOs (run-pass option). I can give it up or read the linebacker or corner to make the right play. I am good with making decisions quickly. I am good at getting the ball out deep; I have some long passing touchdowns this season. I feel another strength of mine is being a leader.”
You guys get Burbank (2-2) on Friday, what kind of matchup are you expecting from them?
“We are excepting them to have a good defensive line. No. 9 for them (Duncan Smith), he is a good player. Our o-line is preparing for a long night. In the secondary, they will try to prevent us from going deep, but we will take what we can get.”
What are some of the other big games left on the schedule that will influence who wins the Pacific League?
“Some of the top games left are Muir and CV (Crescenta Valley). We know a lot of those guys from 7v7. Munir has improved a lot. It will be a good game with a lot of trash talking going on. I think that will be a good game. Against CV, that is the last game of the season. They are a really good team. That may be what it comes down to for league. We will find out who wants it more.”
When you watch college or NFL games on the weekend, which players are you watching to help improve your understanding of the game?
“In college, I look at Kyler Murray from Oklahoma. He is a dual-threat like me. His pocket movement and quick decisions are impressive. He is a two-sport athlete like me; I also playing baseball. In the NFL, I am watching Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay) and Russell Wilson (Seattle). When I am with Coach Danny Hernandez, we watch film on Rodgers. His footwork is so good. The way he makes plays, he is one of the best. Wilson, he can run and throw. I look up to him. I like his movement in the pocket and how he keeps his eyes downfield.”
Dylan, thanks for your time today and good luck on Friday against Burbank.