CLOSER LOOK: Kaiser QB Raymond Padilla

Take a closer look at Fontana Kaiser senior Raymond Padilla and you’ll see a player working hard to build lasting memories.

Sure, he won a CIF-Southern Section Central Division title last year but that was a team led by a pair of senior running backs and an experience, hard-nosed defense. It was a team of leaders.

This year, Padilla is the Cats’ leader.

He’s the third-year starting QB, and he’s got a big red target on his back no matter what.

I caught up with Padilla after the Cats lost, 34-3, to Riverside Poly in Week 2. He was about as calm and collected as I’ve seen any high school player after a loss.

What’s the level of disappointment after an 1-2 start?

“It’s not a disappointment it’s more like we got to get back on our schedule like we were last year; playing football and pounding the ball,” Padilla said. “We’ve got to be more physical on the line. It’s not a disappointment, it’s more like a get-ourselves-together.”

You shot yourselves in the foot with penalties (14 for 150 yards vs. Poly). How do you as a leader address that?

“Penalties kill everybody. It’s the thing that can kill every team but it’s going happen and we have to learn from it. Control ourselves and control those penalties,” he said.

How have you handled the target on your back as a CIF champion?

“Last year was history, man. It’s a new season, it’s a new group of kids,” Padilla said. “We’re young and I know they’re great kids, but a target? I wouldn’t say we have a target but of course everybody wants to beat the CIF champions.”

Kaiser is 3-2 heading into its Sunkist League opener vs. Fontana in what should be one of the bigger games in recent memory between the two schools.

Padilla could do a lot to cement his legacy in the minds of self-important Fontana fans with a big performance in a big win vs. the Steelers.

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