Bellflower-High school football isn’t what it used to be. With school just getting out, high school football teams in and around the Los Angeles area are not wasting time to get their teams in the flow of things in preparation for the 2014 fall season.
This is still June, and already teams are gearing up for the respective seasons by engaging in summer passing league tournaments. Some two months away from the first game being played, prep football powerhouse Long Beach Poly was on the field at Bellflower High School, along with about two dozens of others schools, was putting in serious work.
The schools were all participating in the third annual 3 Stripes Classic Passing Tournament. Poly, of course, brought the ‘”wow” factor with its fearless bump-in-run play by talented defensive backs. The Jackrabbits, playing without one of the top defensive backs in the country in Iman Marshall, sent an early message to local teams: pain and gain.
So locked in was Poly on the defensive side of the ball with their defensive backs jamming their opponents’ wide receivers off the ball that Marina High School complained vehemently about it and threatened to walk off the field.
With former NFL linebacker Antonio Pierce as their new head coach, Poly has instituted even more toughness and grit. While Poly was doing their thing on the main field of play, former Poly coach and current Warren High School football coach Raul Lara was working his players into a new groove during the tournament. Anything Lara bring to the Bears’ football program will be an improvement.
Last season, Warren High School went winless. Lara, who guided Poly to five CIF Southern Section football titles and and recorded a 142-30 mark as head coach for the Jackrabbits, quit the program at the end of last season. Judging the way his Warren played on Saturday, June 21, Lara has already established an imprint that should carry over into the fall.
The immediate translation is that Lara’s Bears are going to win their share of games this season. They look like they have a quarterback (Jordan Yancy) who can get it done. Getting to the rest of the tournament, Long Beach Wilson and Long Beach Jordan performed well.
The diversity in the number of schools participating in the passing league tournament was vast with teams representing from Paramount, Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley), Torrance, El Segundo, Marina, William J. Pete Knight High (Palmdale) and Palisades.