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Time to Hit the Panic Button?: ERHS Football 2019

Photos by Gabriel Rodriguez

The 2019 football season is underway and Eagle Rock has gotten off to what some would call a rocky start. Halfway in their league schedule, the Eagles have gone 2-3, and those 3 losses have been against higher ranked teams in San Pedro, Fairfax, and El Monte. There is reason, however, to believe the win-loss column is not indicative of how good they are as a team.

That’s what the team feels, especially Head Coach Andy Moran, who is in his 8th year coaching at Eagle Rock. Here is what the coach had to say about the season so far: “Our preseason schedule is by far the hardest any Eagle Rock team has attempted...we’re currently 2-3 but have played opponents far superior than anybody in our own league''.

Of the 50 players on the roster, only 16 are returners from last year. The roster has seen a big turnover from the departed Class of 2019 which calls for returners and the new players who moved up from JV, to step up in new roles for the 2019 season. While you could say this is a relatively new team, there is great expectations of going far in playoffs as Eagle Rock has made deep postseason runs over the past two years (Last year they lost in the city Semifinals). But their strong schedule is also beneficial to the team as senior running back Daniel Zamora puts it, “we had a tough preseason, it helped us grow and get closer to each other”. Regardless of the wins and losses, each game has helped build chemistry among teammates. Senior captain Aaron Buscato sums up why team chemistry is so important: “You need to learn how to communicate with your teammates. Communication is key in the sport of football...It’s a big factor in order to win”.

Yet this team isn’t perfect, and it still has some areas it needs to work on. Eagle Rock features a good balanced attack on both offense and defense yet this team lacks the consistency it needs to compete at a high level and “not be complacent”. An example of this would be in their nail biting 36-35 loss against the fellow city section school, Fairfax High School. Some may not know this but the Eagles were without their starting quarterback, junior Axel Ayers. And while senior Jacob Martinez stepped up to the challenge of filling that responsibility, who knows what the outcome would have been from that overtime thriller had that starter played. Especially since Fairfax was higher ranked, had a couple of inches against Eagle Rock at most positions (the Eagles are one of the more undersized teams in Div. 1). Eagle Rock displayed such heart and laid it all out there. The game was decided on a single play and that’s why a win-loss column or a final score isn’t going to tell you the full value of our team.

While any player will tell you they are confident enough that they will go 5-0 for the rest of their league schedule, the coaching staff and the team as a whole emphasize the importance of taking each game one at a time. Because of the bye week, the team had 2 weeks of preparation and 2 weeks of motivation from their last game, a 54-26 blowout loss against El Monte. On Friday 10/4, the Eagles are hosting Marshall High School in their annual Homecoming Game. A game like this draws much attendance from the students, faculty, and the Eagle Rock community.

The Eagles have played their game against Marshall and in summary, it seemed to be decided from the start of the game. Eagle Rock had complete control of the game and by halftime, their lead was 42-0. From that point on, the reserves were subbed in and cruised to a 49-7 win. Before the game was Eagle Rock’s Homecoming ceremony where the school’s Homecoming courts and several alumni are rolled out on the track in nice vintage cars, the Cheer and Drill teams on top of LAFD firetrucks, and the Band in full classic marching band attire. All in all, a very satisfying weekend!

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