After Brentwood lost its season-opening football game Friday, Coach Patrick Brown addressed his players.
“We have a long way to go,” he told them. “But we’re going to be all right.”
Brentwood, which had an 8-3 record last season, made costly mistakes in a 20-10 non-league loss to Kilpatrick.
Brentwood had a 20-3 deficit when backup quarterback Josh Amster threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Ben Oliva in the fourth quarter. Both are sophomores who played on the junior varsity last season.
Among Brentwood’s problems was the absence of an effective running game and an inability to halt some lengthy Kilpatrick drives.
The Eagles’ star runner last season, Kevin Yamazaki, was a senior.
“We don’t have much of a running game right now,” said Brown, who is coaching the team for the 28th year. “That’s something we’ll be working on.”
The first score of the Westside’s prep football season came on a Brentwood fumble that was picked up and returned for a touchdown.
Shortly before halftime the Eagles had a 30-yard field goal by Evan Paley for a 7-3 intermission deficit.
In the third quarter Brentwood drove to the opponent’s four-yard line but threw an interception. Kilpatrick, which had demonstrated strong line play throughout much of the game, then drove to a 14-3 lead. When the visitors scored again it was evident Brentwood’s home opener would not result in a victory.
Ian Shaw, Taylor Levin and Preston Maddox all made seven tackles for Brentwood.
Brown had planned to divide playing time at quarterback between senior Mason Moss and Amster. Instead, Moss played most of the way.
“The way the game went, we didn’t alternate them like we planned,” said Brown. “Josh was playing safety on defense.
“It seemed like we couldn’t get any flow going because of the turnovers. I think if we had scored early instead of turning the ball over, the momentum could have changed.
Beginning with another non-league home game Friday afternoon against Lucerne Valley, Brown hopes to find ample playing time for both quarterbacks.
Unlike last season, when Yamazaki’s running gave the Eagles a balanced offense, they’re spreading the field, using a shotgun offense and featuring the passing game. While passing may continue to be featured, it’s likely a running attack will be more prominent too.
Kilpatrick is known as a haven for some troubled youngsters, but it presented a sound, well-coached, well-mannered squad.
“We’ve been playing them since 1988 and never had a problem,” said Brown. “I talked to some of their players after the game. They were very respectful.”