Prep Impressions: Week 4

I covered the San Bernardino Aquinas-Riverside Notre Dame varsity football game on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, for The Press-Enterprise and HSGametime.com, and I came away thinking Titans coach Peter McGowan might truly have this program back on track.

It also helps (a lot) that he has a passion for his workplace and a quarterback that doesn’t panic in the 2-to-3.5 seconds it takes for receivers to get open.

McGowan, a Notre Dame alum, has leaned heavily upon senior QB Paul Bradvica, a scrappy 5-10 chucker with steady nerves and enough heart to fill any high school (stet) college football stadium.

Bradvica has responded with a start to the season that wouldn’t be believed had HSGT not been publishing the stats every week. Through five games, the Titans’ captain has completed 81 of 146 pass attempts for 1,379 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The game was never in doubt after Notre Dame scored on its opening drive. And the Titans defense played out of its mind. To allow fewer than 35 rushing yards against a predominantly run-oriented team? That’s awfully good.

Relatively speaking, it’s a down year for Aquinas. No elite lineman or top-notch runner for the Falcons to hang their hat on this year. QB/RB/DB Will Seltz is about the best they have this year. He took a knock but showed his ability on a darting five-yard run in the first half.

Aquinas head coach Chris Ybarra:
“We gotta get healthy. At the end of the game we were playing seven (or) eight (or) nine sophomores on both sides of the ball. Tip your hat to Notre Dame. When you have guys get injures, and you don’t have a lot of depth because you’re a small school, then you do what you can do.”

Notre Dame head coach Peter McGowan:
“We became faster and stronger this year by being in the weight room, by going to Adrenaline… we’re just bigger, faster, stronger and the nice thing is that I started nine sophomores on defense so we’re only going to keep getting better. We don’t even care about points or yards — we believe in hitting and hitting hard. I want to punch people. I want to hit people, be physical and all those other things will work out. Notre Dame’s history is known for being physical, and we just need to bring that back. A lot of that is weight room — getting bigger, faster, stronger — but another part is belief. You’ve now got an alumni coach that’s at the head of the helm. It took somebody to do that and believe in Notre Dame. But physicality is No. 1 in our book. If you’re gonna play us, you’re gonna remember it.”

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