La Mirada head coach Mike Moschetti is either really impressed by Norwalk, or he’s the world’s greatest sandbagger.
Moschetti wasn’t mincing words on Tuesday when describing Southeast Division No. 1-ranked team Norwalk (8-0), who the Matadores will play on Friday.
“This is the best football team the Suburban League’s ever seen,” Moschetti said. “I’m serious. We’re going to go out there and try to keep the game within 30 points.”
Moschetti has quite a perspective on the history of the Suburban League. He was a standout quarterback at La Mirada and led the Matadores to a CIF championship his senior year in 1992.
As a coach, he led the program to another CIF title in 2009. But La Mirada has been one of the area’s biggest disappointments this season following an aggressive campaign of program promotion that put a big target on the Matadores once play started.
La Mirada has several top-notch recruits on the roster, led by Oklahoma-bound receiver Dalis Todd and super recruit Tyler Luatua, who is considered one of the best tight end prospects in the country.
The bevy of blue chippers haven’t translated to a significant amount of wins, however. La Mirada enters Friday’s game at 3-5 overall and 3-1 in the Suburban League. Norwalk is the top-ranked team in the division beating league foes by an average of 54.3 points per game.
Back in August, most area observers would have thought La Mirada would be the top-ranked team in the Southeast by this point of the season. Instead, the Matadores are fighting for their playoff lives and Moschetti isn’t too keen on discussing what’s gone wrong.
“I don’t even want to talk about the past,” Moschetti said. “There’s going to be good things that happen in a season and bad things. What’s happened in the past is over, good or bad. Our goals are all still ahead of us.
“I really don’t care what people think of me and our coaching staff and our kids. We’ve had a lot of adversity and they keep showing up and giving me their heart and soul.”
Part of that adversity came two weeks ago when highly touted quarterback Kevin Dillman, a junior with several early college offers, tore his achilles’ tendon and is gone for the season. Sophomore Noah Santillian will make his second start on Friday.
“Our rally cry over here is ‘next man up’,” Moschetti said. “We can still have a great season. I’m not disappointed, I’m proud of these kids.”