West Covina’s 21-0 win over Claremont in a one-half scrimmage on Friday night was marred by a knee injury to quarterback Jon Najera, who was red hot before going down.
West Covina offense: The Bulldogs pass attack looked very legit. Najera had the short and intermediate stuff working. Not sure this team can throw it deep with any consistency, but hey, that’s nitpicky. The run game was nowhere to be found other than when Antonio “Noodles” Hull took over for Najera and was unstoppable on option keeps. I am very concerned that Noodles isn’t going to get enough touches if he’s not at QB. Whereas last year the Bulldogs had two home-run hitters in Solomon and Frazier and then two more two years ago in Lee and Solomon, this year it looks like Noodles is the only one. Again, this was a scrimmage and I could be being nitpicky. The coaches may have held back and kept it vanilla, but let’s be real clear, West Covina isn’t gonna be as explosive as fans expect if Noodles isn’t touching the ball constantly. The offensive line has very good size, but looked a tad raw.
Claremont offense: Big trouble here. The Wolfpack was simply lifeless the entire night. Assuming we saw the team’s best shot, then the passing game needs A LOT of work. A LOT. RB Cecil Flemming is definitely a player, but he needs the ball quite a bit. I know that Claremont kept things very vanilla because head coach Mike Collins told me before the scrimmage that they would. But I just didn’t like what I saw. Keeping it vanilla is one thing, but not being able to hit wide-open receivers is another. Claremont does look the part at just about every spot outside of QB, where they need lots of work.
West Covina defense: Several starters in the secondary sat out, including top cover man Muleck Henderson. Even still, the Bulldogs were so fast and quick that they gave Claremont fits. Even West Covina’s second string sent Claremont’s first string backward late in the game. Defensive end Adam Romero was excellent. As was LB Bradley Ojala. I didn’t see Bryson Finley. If he did play, he didn’t make enough of an impact for me to notice. I did see d-end Justin Hornsby, who really looks the part. West Covina’s defense is going to be very special (again).
Claremont defense: Not bad. Not good. Had lots of trouble with speed. And the pass coverage was no bueno. Too big of a cushion for the West Covina receivers. I really have to think Claremont was not showing much because it was a scrimmage. I mean, I really want to believe that. Because if I’m wrong then big trouble lays ahead.
West Covina special teams: Needs work. Bad punt when they did punt. Two muffed punts on return. Can’t do that against Loyola.
Claremont special teams: Decent.
Key injuries: Jon Najera, West Covina, QB (knee, left game did not return). Addison Whitham, Claremont, RB/LB (knee or leg, left game did not return).