When three years ago, Ricky Rand got his shoulder dislocated and was writing on the ground in pain, I thought it would play into my hand. I was doing everything I could to dissuade Rob, my son, from playing football. After all, he’s a soccer player. Our small Christian school would just have to do without him. But Rob wanted to play.
As we walked back to the car, I leaned over to my son, then in the 8th grade, and asked if he still wanted to play, after seeing the upperclassman in excruciating pain.
“Yes. I’m going to do that to the other team.”
Rob won our standoff. I struck a deal with him. I would not sign the medical release form unless he worked out as hard as he could all summer long. I had the vague notion that muscle keeps bones and joints together.
Today Rob is a junior. In last night’s victory against La Verne Calvary Baptist, my son scored six touchdowns. While other kids played videogames, he ran. While other kids watched T.V., he pumped iron.
There is a principle here. Prepare, prepare, prepare if you want to prevail.
If you don’t want to be hurt by the devil, you have to hurt him.
Note: This is a re-post from the Santamonicapatch.com
NEW CUYAMA – How does a Christian school have a “hell” of a football season?
Shouldn’t they have a “Heaven” of a season? But that’s how coach described Lighthouse Christian Academy‘s remarkable winning streak that overstretched itself into a quarterfinal playoffs loss Friday against Cuyama Valley High School.
“We had a hell of a season,” beamed Coach Zach Scribner.
Even the lopsided score, 58-28, couldn’t take the taste of Heaven out of his mouth.
Captain Joseph Kayne with Quarterback Joel Lahood at right. Photo-bomber at left, lineman Gary Maxwell.
And why should it? After all, Lighthouse quilted together a patchwork team and wasn’t expecting much this season. Its six seniors had talent, but coaches had to beg and plead for non-football players to complete the cast. With only nine team members playing 8-man football, our guys constantly had to play against fresh legs.
To defy the odds against, Lighthouse dug deep to finish 7-1.
Moreover, LCA’s loss Nov. 15 had moments of elation. The Saints opened scoring in the first quarter with a pass to the hands of courageous senior Ricky Rand, who played all season inspite of a shoulder dislocation injury that was constantly re-aggravated.
In the second half, when Lighthouse needed a telescope to see their opponents’ score (LCA was down 36-6), these Santa Monica high school football players mounted baffling drives to back-to-back touchdowns that stirred the embers of belief and hope as they had done so many times this season.
Senior Nate Peterson – a small guy who confounds opponents with his unthinkable speed and maddening cuts – ran the ball up for senior quarterback Joel Lahood to make a touchdown in the third quarter.
They followed up this masterclass of hardball determination with a fumble recovery that led to another touchdown. Out of a jumble of players in a dogpile, Lahood stretched out his hand to set the pigskin down in the end zone.
With a conversion, the score became 42-22, and Lighthouse fans, who had driven three hours up from Los Angeles, dared to believe again that they just might steal the game.
But the farmer boys showed that heaving bales of hay all summer overpowers the greats of Grand Theft Auto from the city. The Cuyama Bears made two more touchdowns.
A spectacular interception by Lighthouse sophomore Tex Hagoski that he rushed 60 yards for a touchdown, was ruled back by an illegal block. The game was over.
If the Saints gobbled up more than their fair share of the 2013 football pie, they also learned along the way the value of doing something for the good of the team, not just the individual.
With inexperienced players, the Saints had made quarterfinals and etched their names into the ledger of fame at the Lighthouse, which twice before were finalists in CIF Southern Section.
Quarterback Joel Lahood frustrates an Upland tackle.
RANCHO CUCAMONGA – For a few minutes in the fourth quarter, Saints Christian school football got the sensation it would engineer the greatest upset of CIF Southern Section 2013 when Senior Joel Lahood intercepted a pitch and scored, making it 22-28, one touchdown away from a tie on Friday.
It’s nothing new for Lighthouse Christian Academy, student population 46, to face teams that are both bigger in bodily size and in terms of team members. LCA has flouted the odds-against with grit and its rediscovered sense of greatness, winning four games in a row before Sept. 27.
But Upland Christian Academy, student population 230, was simply superior to any team yet seen. In the first minutes of the game, an Upland player broke through and sprinted for a touchdown. To watch him pull away from pursuers like a train produced a sinking feeling of helplessness. Never before had we faced someone faster than us.
Mustering character, the Saints squelched the sinking feeling and responded with a touchdown. Nate Peterson ran the ball with verve and swerve, timing his cuts and crashes perfectly to exploit any millimetric miscalculation of a foe’s counterbalance.
Nate Peterson breaks through and sprints for a touchdown
“This is going to be a game,” observed Michael Moore, whose transfer has delayed his start with our Christian school football.
But Upland was far better than they were last year, when the Saints’ bobbling gifted them a win. With players 20-30 pounds heftier than ours in every position, and with a humming discipline, Upland finished the half with 28 points.
LCA conjured a determination to play to win – not just limp through the rest of the game, praying for the final whistle to come. The Saints denied Upland any more points until Lahood put LCA within striking distance.
That is when a missed tackled allowed another touchdown sprint to assure Upland the victory. LCA suffered its first defeat of the season 22-34.
The opposing coach praised LCA’s Christian school football: “You guys are the toughest team we’ve faced all season.” At the end of the game, the two teams prayed in a circle in the center of the field, and the opposing coached singled out Peterson for particular praise. It was a loss, yes, but a loss we could take pride in.
LCA Head Coach Justin Kayne pumped up his players. We were simple outgunned. One loss doesn’t sink a season, he said. “We’re going to the playoffs!”
And so, the legacy of Christian determination manifested in toughness and fighting spirit on the field – a legacy founded by former Rams football player Pastor Rob Scribner, marches on in pursuit of excellence.
Ricky Rand pulled off a never-before-seen touchdown.
SIMI VALLEY – By the end of the game, the Saints had swept to their fourth win, with a dominant 46-0 showing, but the game was over after the first play.
Principal Jack Mefford and Athletics Director Pam Sommer pose with our mascot, the Saint Bernard
That’s when Hillcrest Christian quarterback got pummeled by Lighthouse Senior Nate Peterson. Teammates said he catapulted the quarterback up five feet in the air and the poor guys hurtled back down to earth, like an aborted rocket launch, smashing his back on the turf. Maybe five feet’s an exaggeration. What’s sure is Peterson tackled low and used his weight smartly to topple the giant, who was rendered useless for the rest of the game.
Will and Nick after the game are all smiles. We wouldn’t have been able to play without Will stepping up to the plate.
Lighthouse Christian Academy is surprising pundits in 2013, undefeated so far. The reversal of fortunes from last year – in which LCA eked out only one win – is something like the difference between Friday night’s crucifixion and Sunday’s resurrection.
“Excellent, excellent, excellent,” crowed Coach Justin Kayne to his huddled, hoo-rahing Saints after they crushed their same-named Saints Hillcrest opponents in the Sept. 20 game.
Peterson the Pummeler also scored touchdowns. Rushing the ball for an estimated 200 yards, Peterson swerved and accelerated as if he had pulled a bullet bike out of his pocket, mounted it and blasted to unthinkable velocity that left opponents aghast, waving good-bye. He totaled three touch downs.
But if Peterson had an extraordinary game, Ricky Rand got the most extraordinary play. Rushing in on defense, Rand, in a nano second, realized he just as easily as sack him could steal the ball right out of his cocked, pass-throwing arm. Nicknamed “the Rand Corporation” because he gives the sensation there’s more than one of him on the field, Ricky ran unopposed for a touchdown. Watch 30-second video below:
But if “the Rand Corporation” astounded people with a play no one had ever seen before, it was Will Clancy, a measly 130-pound freshman, who arguably became the game’s hero. Will — whose older brother, Senior Nick Clancy, batted down two passes while rushing – only went on the field last game because key player Tex Hagoski injured his knee.
A newcomer to football, Will tried to mask his fear “I was scared for both Tex and myself,” he said. “Tex is my friend. I didn’t want him to have a broken leg. I was scared for myself. I didn’t want to have a broken leg.”
In his trial by fire last week, Will nabbed a fumble for a turnover against Rolling Hills. This week was his first full game. “I was excited,” he said. “I was still nervous. I was having trouble breathing because I have anxiety issues.”
Touchdowns were scored by Joseph “Raising Cain” Kayne (2), Peterson the Pummeler (3), “the Rand Corporation” (1).
With no more substitutes available, the 2013 squad lacks depth, so it will be difficult for them to equal storied Saints squads of years past that twice nearly won CIF championship. But given its lack of resources, it is certainly writing itself into high school football history and can rightfully join the Lighthouse legends of years gone by. Hillcrest went home crestfallen.