Prep Impressions: Week 0

Los Angeles Crenshaw varsity football players line up with a sideline referee before the start of the Cougars’ 43-31 victory over Corona Santiago on Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. / Dennis Pope Photography

I covered the Los Angeles Crenshaw-Corona Santiago varsity football game for The Press-Enterprise on Friday, August 24, 2012, and came away thinking the game was over before Santiago, or their fans, even knew it.

So why, then, did the game not end until 10:12 p.m. PDT? Maybe because it didn’t start until 7:36, totally playing havoc on my ability to send by a 10:15 p.m. deadline, and otherwise leaving me to scramble for every one of those nine graphs printed in Saturday’s morning editions.

A link the to the video I shot is here.

It’s included as part of a 17-minute show hosted by The P-E’s Pep Fernandez, who has taken hold of the sports-video reigns at the media outlet. He’s brings a lot of excitement (and some funny schtick) to HSGameTime.com.

Speaking of excitement, there was a lot of it at Santiago on Friday night. The home stands were absolutely packed, and the visitors brought numbers, too. FOMB’s best guess is 1,800-to-2,000 people were there.

Santiago had such an uneven night. The Sharks lost to coin flip but their defense amped things up a notch when a fumble was recovered inside Crenshaw’s 30 by defensive end Gio Villareal.

QB Michael Darr quickly led the Sharks into the end zone for their first lead of the season but all that excitement was for naught as Santiago practically gave away a touchdown when, on second down and their own 22, the Sharks center snapped the ball over the head of Darr and it rolled into the end zone before it was recovered for Crenshaw’s first TD.

Santiago went 3-and-out and Crenshaw’s taller, faster receivers put on their track shoes, got on the end of some good throws from QB Ajene Harris, made plays and scored four consecutive touchdowns. The game was in the Cougars’ claws by the end of the 1st quarter.

Darr made plays and his arm looks like a game-changer. His talent for making plays outside of the pocket, on the run and out of the shotgun were also apparent. He’s developed into a better passer than runner, and he’s still a pretty darn good runner.

He was considerably angry after the game, cursing at the moon as he walked off the field.

Giving away an opportunity stings. Knowing that he played well enough (4 TDs) to win, probably stings even more.

Oh, and the game was broadcast regionally on Time Warner Cable. Apparently, the late start time is a traditional request of the cable carrier, and for the viewers’ benefit.

Los Angeles Crenshaw coach Robert Garrett:
“We grew up. Our team grew up. We handled some adversity. We made some errors but we’ll get better. It’s a good stepping stone for us. Good contest. A hard-fought game, a dog fight, a tough game. We endured. We hung in there. We had some big plays, and it went our way fortunately. We got a lot of work to do but we’ll get better. Our main focus is to play team ball. We did that. Sometimes you get the breaks, sometimes your don’t. This time the breaks fell our way on special teams but hell, they had some things break their way on special teams, too. First-game jitters for both teams. We got a lot of work to do.”

Corona Santiago coach Jeff Steinberg:
“Three critical errors. We had two on special teams and one on offense. It’s tough to beat an athletic team like they are. I’ll tell you one thing, the kids came out in the second half and played hard. We need to correct some things, and we’re gonna find out some things about our selves next week (vs. Temecula Rancho Christian). We’re gonna roll our sleeves up and get back to work. Football’s all about matchups. I though we did some good things and there’s some things I think we need to correct, technique and maybe as a staff, too, putting our athletes in positions on both sides of the ball. Win or lose it’s a total team effort. We didn’t win the game on offense, defense, special teams or coaching from the sidelines, and that’s what football is all about. We need to do a better job.”

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