Head coach: Chris Bandy
Second season (7-4)
Last season: 7-4 overall, 2-3 SWYL
Playoffs: Lost in Central Section D-II quarterfinals
History: League titles (1); Section titles (0)
Assistant coaches: Brent Durkan, offensive coordinator; Tony Valera, defensive coordinator; Kenny Haslip, defensive backs; Matt Bushnell, wide receivers; Rocky Churchman, inside linebackers; Julio Franco, outside linebackers; Shane Proctor, offensive line/defensive line; Will Graves, defensive line.

2018 schedule

Aug. 17 - vs. Fresno-Sunnyside
Aug. 24 - at Paso Robles
Aug. 31 - vs. Ridgeview
Sept. 7 - at Atascadero
Sept. 14 - at Independence
Sept. 21 - BYE
Sept. 28 - at Garces*
Oct. 5 - vs. Liberty*
Oct. 12 - at Bakersfield*
Oct. 19 - vs. Stockdale*
Oct. 26 - at Centennial*
*SWYL game 

Top returner

Ernest Jackson, senior, RB/OLB - Will take over the full-time role at running back while returning as a sideline-to-sideline linebacker that head coach Chris Bandy calls “A warrior. He’s tough, physical and has a passion for football that I have rarely seen. He lives it and breathes it.”

Key players

Kameron Barnes, senior, TE/DE - Known as a leader in the weight room, Barnes will be asked to take over as the top pass rusher after the graduation of Alex Tyler.

Dustin Montanio, senior, QB - Returning as the signal caller after throwing for nearly 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns last season., this senior will be asked to run the offense more with his arm this fall.

Jonathan Serdinsky, junior, OL/DL - Since opening its doors a decade ago, Frontier has long been known for big and physical offensive lineman and Serdinsky is another in that long line.

Defining feature

For eight years Chris Bandy spent time as a lead assistant at Ridgeview on one of the most successful programs in the Central Section before trying his hand as a head coach at Frontier in 2017.

His move to the head coaching role led to a change in perception for the Titans, with the team winning seven games and posting a winning record for the first time since 2012. Bandy and his players attribute that to one key factor.

“Our goal has been to change the culture and you can see that,” Bandy said. “We’ve got 60-something kids out here that want to be a part of the program. Intensity is a big thing. We don’t want to be big and strong but be soft. We have to be aggressive and intense.”

That will land squarely on the senior leaders like Ernest Jackson and Kameron Barnes.

“When coach Bandy got here, he brought his staff with him and we had a saying call, ‘change in culture,’” Barnes said. “We wanted to change our culture from a losing streak to trying to win as many games as possible. I feel like he brought the team together more as brothers. It’s a family now.”

Bandy said the leadership those seniors can bring into the season will help the team continue the momentum it gained from last season’s 7-4 campaign.

“We are leaning on them a lot because last year we had a lot of good leadership that we lost,” Bandy said. “These guys need to step up as leaders and captains and set the tone for everyone else on the team.”

What has changed?

Winning can often be a cure-all formula, and Frontier is a good example of that.

When the new coaching staff took over in 2017, the Titans hadn’t posted a winning record in five years.

Bandy knew he was taking on a daunting task of building up a program that was a force around town with an 11-win season in 2011, but he felt it would take time.

Then Frontier reeled off a five-game win streak to open the 2017 season, proving that there are top-notch players around the campus located in Bakersfield's far-northwest region.

“We talk about Frontier like this. It can be a sleeping giant,” Bandy said. “It’s got great attendance. It’s got great kids and great support from the admin. We want to be the best in the area. We don’t want to just be compared to Ridgeview, Liberty or BHS … We want to be up there with those guys and we want to beat them.”

That success now leads the coaching staff to replace graduating standouts like Tye Johnson, J.J. Flores, Alex Tyler and Kobe Budak.

“We are going to set the bar high and challenge ourselves,” Bandy said. “It comes down to trying to win league and get some confidence going into the playoffs.”

Helping the offense early in an attempt to replace Johnson and Flores — who combined for more than 3,000 total yards — will be a deep offensive line led by junior Jonathan Serdinsky.

“We are bringing in bigger guys and we are hitting the weight room hard,” Barnes said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys. It’s going to be great. Our line is going to be key this year. Big guys equals big wins.”

Trevor Horn can be reached at (661) 395-7374. Follow him on Twitter: @trevhorn.

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