It is time for Patrick Brown to coach the Brentwood School football team for the 28th year. And if it’s anything like last season it should be a good one.
“The 2005 team was a privilege to coach,” he said. “It was one of the most enjoyable seasons I’ve had.”
Brentwood went 8-3. As usual the Eagles were one of the better teams in the Delphic League. Brentwood qualified for the CIF playoffs but lost to Calvary Chapel of Murietta, 14-6.
Some key members of that team, including running back Kevin Yamazaki, have graduated. Yamazaki is now at Pomona Pitzer, but several of last season’s Eagle stars return.
Brown is especially optimistic about the defense and is planning a major change on offense – focusing on passing.
“That fits our personnel,” he said. “We have two quarterbacks who throw well and several tall, talented receivers.”
Mason Moss returns at quarterback but is likely to share time with Josh Amster, who comes up from the junior varsity.
Tight end Andrew Boggs is a key returnee. So is Ian Shaw, a defensive star who’ll see some action at tight end. The receivers who figure to be prominent are Michael Davidov, Ben Oliva, Charlie James, Jason Ostroff and Taylor Levin.
Oliva, James and Ostroff were on the junior varsity last season but all have looked good in summer workouts and in formal practice that began Monday.
“We’ll be using the shotgun formation and opening up the offense,” said Brown. “We’re quick but not big.”
Yamazaki could be counted on for a 40-yard run or a 60-yard run when the Eagles needed one last season. He was one of the fastest runners in the league. That dimension isn’t likely to be available again but Manny Benton, a backup last season, is the probable running back starter.
Brown lists Preston Maddock, Eric Klappholv and Paul Hernandez as his best offensive linemen.
One reason Brown is optimistic that the defense will succeed is the personnel at linebacker. Shaw is the main man of a group that includes Levin, Tait Foreman and Benton.
Boggs is a premier defensive end. Two quality defensive tackles are Klappholv and Nicky Peceski.
Equally impressive is the Brentwood defensive backfield. All the starters return from last season.
The group is led by Tommy Grogan and Davidov. It’ll be hard for opponents to run well because of the linebackers or pass well because of the defensive backs.
Brentwood has an outstanding kicker in Evan Paley, who is beginning his second season.
Brown has been at Brentwood long enough to remember the days when the school played in the eight-man division on a smaller campus field visible from Barrington Ave.
When the school leased land from the Veterans Hospital and expanded its athletic facilities a more ambitious football program could be attempted. The football team quickly showed it could win in the 11-man category, despite strong league competition from Whittier Christian and others.
The tiny old field remains, but games are now played in a scenic setting a few hundred yards away, also on campus.
With school starting Aug. 28, Brentwood has scheduled a game Friday, Sept. 1 against Kilpatrick, with kickoff set for 3:30 p.m. It will be one of two games on the Westside that weekend, the other being Bellarmine-Jefferson at Malibu Saturday at 2 p.m. Most high school teams will start their seasons the following weekend.
Brentwood will also be home Friday, Sept. 8, playing Lucerne Valley at 3:30 p.m.
The early season schedule includes the first road game on Saturday Sept. 16 at Tri-City Christian of Vista with kickoff at 2 p.m., a bye the next weekend and a game against Paraclete on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. at Quartz Hill High.
A rare negative in the Brentwood program is the absence of lights on the football field, which costs the Eagles home games in the playoffs.
The CIF requires games to be played on Friday nights. Last season Brentwood earned the home field advantage against Calvary Chapel but lost that edge and played at St. John Bosco in Bellflower.