Last football season Brentwood relied on its passing game at the outset, ultimately developed a running game, and qualified for the CIF playoffs.
This season the blueprint is the same, except that the passing game looks even better with the return of both quarterbacks and a bevy of outstanding receivers.
“The quarterbacks, Mason Moss and Josh Amster, are experienced,” said Coach Patrick Brown, who begins his 29th year. “And the receivers are quality players.”
The receiving corps begins with all-CIF Ben Oliva and tight end Charlie James, and includes Taylor Levin, Justin Ostroff and promising sophomore Ben Green.
Once the running game emerged in 2006, Manny Benton gained 800 yards. He’s still in school, but has used up his eligibility, so the ball carriers will be Tate Foreman, Matt Greenley and fullbacks Alex Miller and Ian Shaw.
The running game came around last season when the linemen gained experience. Brown hopes that will be the case again.
The blockers include senior center Michael Becker, guards Mikey Stone and senior Andrew Riley and tackles Eric Klappholz and Andrew Boggs, who was a tight end last season.
“We needed Andrew at tackle and he’s willing to make the move to help the team,” said Brown.
Most of the same players will play defense too.
Brown is enthusiastic about his linebackers, led by Shaw, who was all-CIF last season.
The group includes Levin, Ostroff and Foreman.
They’ll back up the linemen, comprised of Boggs and James at ends and Klappholz and Stone at tackles.
The defensive backfield is headed by Oliva at cornerback and Amster at safety. And Daniel James, a sophomore, looks promising.
As usual, the schedule will be difficult. Brentwood opened last season with a loss to Kilpatrick. After the opener, the Eagles’ next four games will be on the road. Then comes the Alpha League, termed by Brown, “Without doubt the toughest one in our division.”
The best league opponents appear to be Whittier Christian and Maranatha, which went to the playoff finals last season.
Through the years, Brown has demonstrated an ability to bring a team along, and when the lack of a running game seemed alarming early last season, he kept the players working in practice until they conquered the problem.
He also had a unique plan to alternate quarterbacks on every play and it worked well.
So, although the task looks difficult, the Eagles may set passing records along the way to another successful year.