Prep Impressions: Sept. 25, 2009

I covered the Fontana Kaiser-San Bernardino Cajon varsity football game for the Riverside Press-Enterprise on Friday, Sept. 25, 2009 and came away thinking — Kaiser rolls!

The Cats (2-1) performance against the Cowboys (3-1) could probably be described in any number of ways — but none as succinct as that phrase (Kaiser rolls). I’m particularly fond of this phrase, actually. It’s a double-entendre; the first an implication that Kaiser High School in Fontana rolled over an opponent in some athletic competition, the second meaning bread.

The phrase became so often used in Kaiser football headlines because of its impact (large) and length (small) that a former sports editor I know put a moratorium on its use. And it hasn’t been until today that I’ve been able to repeat it with any value since 2005.

So there it is — Kaiser rolls!

And the football team really did, defeating Cajon 20-0 behind a strong running game and a stout and active defense.

You can watch a video from the game here.

Cajon senior Anthony Brown (6-foot, 195 pounds) ran for almost 200 yards and a touchdown as the team gained nearly 300 yards on the ground. Clearly the most athletic player on the field, Brown had runs of 18, 16, 20 and 46 yards — the last of which went for a score.

Junior DeVonte Manning added 75 yards, a touchdown and a two-point conversion for Kaiser. Much in the mold of Brown, Manning (6-0, 185) added a dimension of real depth to the Cats’ running game that left Cajon defenders gasping.

Defensively, senior DL/LB/TE Josh Shirley (6-4, 220) was all over Cajon ball carriers, shooting gaps and making tackles. A definite Division-I recruit, Shirley had double-digit tackles, four for a loss. He was so intimidating on defense that Cowboys junior QB Thomas Carter (5-10, 175) fell to the ground rather than being sacked in the fourth quarter. Rumor has it that Shirley was in Seattle on his official visit to Univ. of Washington last weekend and witnessed the Huskies’ upset victory over Southern Cal. Impressive stuff all around.

Cajon, which had outscored opponents 152-12 entering the game, was unable to use junior RB Jamael Kazee (5-6, 150) with much effectiveness. Kazee, the Cowboys’ fastest player, caught four passes for 12 yards and had only two carries for eight yards. His absence in the Cowboys’ offense was apparent.

Kaiser coach Phil Zelaya:

“We put a lot of pressure (during practice) on our defense that they had to perform better than they did last week. I think (our running backs) played well. They finally ran the hole. I don’t know how well our offensive line did — I thought as a whole they did pretty well — we killed ourselves; our offensive line was jumping offsides. That’s mental mistakes in the middle of the game so that’s gonna kill you but I thought our backs played pretty well. The (running backs) ran the whole where they were supposed to.”

How are you feeling about your season to this point?

“We’re 2-and-1. We’ll take next week as another game we have to win. It’s good to get a win but the satisfying thing to me is that the players came out and did exactly what they were told during practice.”

Kaiser senior RB Anthony Brown:

“Our offense had and awesome week in practice. One of the best weeks we’ve had. I knew from the get-go that we were going to come out here as a team and get on them. I want to give it up to the offensive line. They made it work tonight. (Cajon) has put up 50 points a game. We weren’t underestimating them. We came out here humble. Everything we do here at Cajon is about humbleness. But 50 points a game, you know, that’s pretty good. So we had to come out here with our ‘A’ game. Everything was right this week. Our defensive line was awesome.”

Senior DL/LB/TE Josh Shirley:

“All week it was in our heads that (Cajon) had scored 150 points in three games so either we would have to come out and score like them or our defense was gonna have to come out and play hard. We came in with our head on straight. We played as a team and got the ‘W’ and that’s all that matters.”

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