Prep Impressions: Week 13
I covered the Lancaster Paraclete-Lake Arrowhead Rim of the World varsity football game for The Press-Enterprise on Friday, Dec. 2, 2011, and came away thinking the Fighting Scots deserved a good cry after that one.
Up 14-0 midway through the first quarter, Rim of the World could not do enough to hang onto to its lead, letting it slip to 17-10 with less than two minutes remaining before halftime and then refusing to score in the second half in what turned out to be a 42-17 victory for Paraclete.
Several of the Rim of the World players were visably emotional, tears frozen by the freezing temperature but yelping like scalded dogs all the way the dressing room. One player would bark, “Keep your heads up!” and the yelping would stop only long enough for there to be a pause before continuing.
The Scots, one of the most prolific run offenses in California, were held to just under 40 rushing yards in the second half by a bigger, stronger defense than coach Bob Gradillas’ team had faced this season.
Paraclete (10-2) could do some damage in the CIF-Southern Section Central Division, let alone the East Valley. And even though the Spirits lost to Chatsworth Sierra Canyon in Alpha League play, they looked like a class (or two) above Rim of the World.
The Spirits chewed up and spit out Rim’s Jacob Taylor (the state’s second-leading rusher) and Dyllan Bratton, his more than capable backup. Under the weight of an increasing deficit, the Scots were forced to throw the ball — something they don’t do very often — and were just lucky enough to avoid a turnover.
Conversely, Paraclete’s Tyler Carvalho had a career night, passing three TDs and for more than 275 yards. And Norm Dahlia’s stout running game got going in the second half, too. It was as if it took the Carvalho and the offense a half to get acclimated to their surroundings, and once they did… the Spirits conjured a blowout.
Rim of the World coach Bob Gradillas:
“We told them to keep their heads up. Be proud of their season because the worked their tails off four us and we got this far. We just didn’t get it done tonight. We got off to a good start. I thought our defense played really well in the first half. In the second half they beat us with a couple of long passes. The secondary got beat you’ve got give credit to (Paraclete). They played hard. There was some momentum things there (re: Paraclete late first-half TD). I still thought we’d play better in the second half. They executed better than us and played great defense. It’s the first time we’ve ever played these guys. We would have a different game plan, I guess, but our game plan has been the same all year. We’re not gonna change. We’ve got a kid who’s run his butt off all year and he ran hard again tonight.”
Lancaster Paraclete coach Norm Dahlia:
“I tried to explain to my team that (Rim of the World) is a damn good football team. We came up and watched a few times and they’re just so technique perfect, and just told them not to understimate them. Don’t look at their record. We just had to regroup at halftime, try and stop our little mistakes here and there. We knew they we’re changing up plays to our defense, so we’d move our defensive sets. But offensively we saw, we liked the matchup of our athletes versus their athletes. That’s what we decided to go with. Once we finally settled down, got the chill out of the way, and the frost out of the way, and the fog out of the way I think eveybody settled down and realized what was at stake. (Carvalho has) come a long way this year. We lost our quarterback last year to graduation, and we are a run-based offense. We just haven’t been able to hit Braden all year. Braden and Tyler were just in sync tonight. It was a matchup that we saw, that we worked on all week to really get the timing down and it just happened to come togethere for us at the end.”
Lancaster Paraclete junior Tyler Carvalho:
“We just took that play into the locker room and we just came out firing. It was definitely the line (whose play improved after halftime). The line just picked it up, and do what they needed to do. That helped us out a lot. Just Rim’s man coverage, we just picked up on that. Our receivers did a good job of finding their windows.”