No truth to rumors that Paraclete coaches are sleeping on memory foam pillows this week, given the tall task at hand when the prowess that is Monrovia marches into the desert Friday night to face defending Mid Valley Division champion Paraclete. (By the way, the game may be pushed to 7:30 p.m. if Paraclete can’t get someone from Knight High to open the stadium locker rooms by 4:30 p.m. I’ll keep you posted)
Back to the Wildcats’ offense …. They have so many weapons that it’s virtually a “pick your poison” type of deal. It always has been and it’ll remain that way throughout the playoffs. Paraclete coach Norm Dahlia agrees, to an extent. “Not so much about the offense, but it’s more about the few players they have and what they can do on offense,” Dahlia said. “Their offense is something we’ve faced six times this year.”
Monrovia’s Ryan Maddox begs to differ. “You can’t stop everything. You have to pick what you’re going to take away or try to confuse Nick, but he’s a heady football player and gotten better and better at what he does. We’ll just try to put him and the other players in the best positions to make plays.”
Everywhere I go people always tell me the same thing: Stop writing about Bueno! Seriously. When I’m at Vons, the barber shop, even my mom who’s never been to a football game in her life tells me she’s had enough of Nick Bueno. But you can’t neglect the fact that the Monrovia offense starts with Bueno. As he goes, so do the Wildcats, and Dahlia understands that much too well. “Obviously you have to contain Nick Bueno,” he said. “I think that’s the whole key to stopping everything. That’s going to be a job in itself.” So, the offense starts with Bueno, right? “Oh absolutely,” Dahlia said. “He makes things happen. We’ve watched him from the Arcadia game on and he’s definitely key on offense.”
Yes, those guys wearing the black/red bomber jackets roaming the visitor sidelines and concession stands are just a fraction of the Spirits traveling army. Paraclete has attended four games this season: Arcadia, La Canada, San Marino and Blair. “Coach (Maddox) hasn’t changed his offense,” Dahlia says. “Saw a little wrinkles, a couple things out of trips, but nothing we haven’t seen. Nick Bueno, yeah, he’s got other weapons and we cannot turn away our eyes from anybody, but our biggest thing is containing Nick Bueno. Our whole slogan is we don’t care who we play, as long as we don’t beat ourselves we’ll be OK.”
Paraclete will go into Friday’s game facing an early uphill battle. They’ll have to play without stud tailback Rosevelt Davis who is out the rest of the season after two small hairline fractures in his right fibula. He suffered the injury in the waning seconds of the second quarter against La Puente. Davis rushed for 630 yards and five touchdowns and caught 14 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns.
But no doubt the biggest lost for the Spirits has to be senior Todd Daivs, a 6-foot-2, 230 pound middle linebacker who was tossed out of last week’s game after accumulating two personal foul penalty calls. “Absolutely he’s a big loss but I’m not worried about it,” Dahlia said. “He’s a great player and obviously we’d love to play with him, but I have three linebackers who could have played the whole year, and one of them (John Tovar) was one vote away from All-CIF last year. He played four varsity games last year and he’s extremely effective.”