What, Diamond Ranch panic? Not them

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
History says nobody should be too worried about the Diamond Ranch High School football team’s 0-2 start. After all, the Panthers are notorious for slow starts that empty the bandwagon only to see it swell up again with a strong run in November. But things feel a tad different this year after Diamond Ranch was blown out by Santa Margarita 56-0 in Week 0, then saw what most consider to be a very average Damien team go on a 19-0 run in the fourth quarter to post a 26-19 win last Friday.

“I’m far from hitting the panic button,” Diamond Ranch coach Roddy Layton said before Tuesday’s practice. “Hitting the panic button means you change everything you’re doing and we’re not doing that. I do want these kids to have a sense of urgency. Each game is a new start. Each game is a new challenge and a new season.”

Trouble is, for Diamond Ranch that new start this week will come against Elsinore, which is ranked No. 1 in the Central Division. Kickoff is 7 p.m. on Saturday at Ganesha High.

Diamond Ranch won its first game last season, but then suffered six consecutive defeats. But by playoff time, the Panthers put it together and reached the finals before falling to Charter Oak.

Two years ago, Diamond Ranch followed a similar path in losing five of its first six games before a playoff march to the finals, where it also lost to Charter Oak.

So is Layton banking on something similar happening this season with his team in a much tougher league and a still difficult division?

“No, we’re not (good enough),” Layton said. “I told them yesterday to stop living off what the last two classes did. Two years ago, I knew I had the players, but we had internal issues to get through. Last year, I knew I had the players, but it was just kind of getting the buy in from the star players.

“This year, I don’t think we have that star-caliber player we’ve had the past two years. Are we horrible? No. But right now, our boosters are the only thing that’s making us a great program.”

Diamond Ranch has scheduled up under Layton, a trend started by former coach Tommy Leach. Layton said he learns much more from his team by playing, and often losing to, some of the Southland’s top teams than he would scheduling creampuffs in order to build confidence before league.

But what Layton learned last Friday wasn’t quite what he was looking for.

“I didn’t have one kid stand out this last game,” Layton said. “We’re playing Damien High School, it’s the fourth quarter and I’ve got players on the sidelines with issues – tired and muscle cramps. This is the way we find out what we have. I don’t think by playing blah blah blah High School from the San Gabriel Valley I would’ve learned that.”

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  • Why panic?

    They are use to losing.

  • DRanchhhh

    Wow thats what Roddy had to say?? Seems like a pretty negative VIBE. I really need to get back up there and observe practice. DR will turn it around, they always do.

  • Panther Fan

    Why panic? after losing they are also used to making it to the Championship game.

    I don’t see it happening this year though. If the current coaching strategy doesn’t change, then I don’t see DR doing any better than 5th place.

    “I didn’t have one kid stand out this last game,” Layton said.

    Here’s why – bad play calling, It was too predictable – using the same receivers and runners over and over again with the same plays that didn’t work the first time.

    Another result of the above strategy is this – “I’ve got players on the sidelines with issues – tired and muscle cramps” Layton said.

    By not using or giving others on the team a chance to prove themselves, you will not see anyone stand out if the favorites are the only ones that can get quality playing time. These same players are the ones who will not have enough time to get proper rest during the game, they are the ones who will get injured. Rotate the players more often, throw the ball to more than two receivers, use more than 1 or 2 running backs, develop a greater variety of plays.

    The Damien game was lost because there were not enough variety of plays along with not enough alternate players being used to keep the other team off guard. This is all by observance and comments heard from other spectators in the stands.

  • sgvpride

    I can guarantee one thing, Layton does not care about what people have to say in the stands. Because if the admin trys to listen to those people in the stands. Your coach will be out of there faster than you can blink your eyes.

  • Panther Fan


    Here is another quote from the article above.

    “our boosters are the only thing that’s making us a great program” Layton said.

    Seems he should start to listen, otherwise the above statement may not last either. What will happen when the boosters start fading away?

    In the above article he is speaking as if to give a wake up call to the players. It would be a good wake up call for the coaching staff to listen what is being said in the stands. A little constructive critisism can go a long way, especially if it is applied early enough. They all need to read some of the things he has said himself. A lot of their own Answers can be found from his own words. Winning games isn’t from having a single Star Player (although it helps a lot), It comes from having a lot of good players. It may be they have not developed a Star Player or let others on the team have a chance at being a Star Player.

    How many seasons go by where you read about a team where someone came out of nowhere and became that star. Just as one example, I can remember reading about Adam Muema of Charter Oak, and how he appeared on the scene. I may be wrong but I remember him being a sophomore and he went in because of an injury to one of their Star Players at the time. That was his opportunity to shine and the rest is history. Same thing can happen at DR if others on the team are given their chance to shine.