By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Duarte coach Lavelle “Tip” Sanders isn’t ready to make bold predictions, such as guaranteeing a win in Friday’s season opener at home against Marshall, which went 0-10 last season. After all, not only did the Falcons go 0-9 last year, they were outscored 380-13 and scored just one touchdown the entire season. In fact, Duarte hasn’t won a game since Sanders took over in 2009. During that span the Falcons are 0-19 and have been outscored 841-43.
“It won’t be that bad anymore; the worst is over,” Sanders said. “I’ve never gone through anything like that. We could barely field a team my first two years, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Duarte has steadily maintained 40 players in camp since spring, almost double what it had in the two previous years.
“We only have four seniors, but we have some kids we can teach football to,” Sanders said. “They seem to be buying into the program.
“We scrimmaged Webb last week and it went pretty good. We were moving the football and doing good things, but we still have a long way to go.”
Duarte couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to snap a 20-game losing streak dating back to the 2008 season. After facing Marshall, a team with a new coach in Andy Moran, the Falcons take on Blair, which won only two games last year, one of which was a 23-0 victory over Duarte.
“All three of us have been in that rebuilding mode,” Sanders said. “Facing each other is a good fit – a competitive fit. If we cut down on our mistakes, I like our chances of a good outcome.”
You mean a win?
“You don’t make predictions like that when you score just one touchdown the year before,” Sanders said. “That’s our first goal, to score. Once we do that, we’ll start thinking about trying to win a football game.”
Sanders said fullback/linebacker Sam Edwards and senior safety/wide receiver Richard Bradford have looked the best over the summer.
“Those two can play football and they’re leaders,” Sanders said. “For the first time since I’ve been here, I’m excited. I finally have guys that are willing to put in the work and love football. I can roll with that anytime.”