By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Think West Covina High School freshman Antonio “Noodles” Hull isn’t making a contribution to the Bulldogs’ bid for a second consecutive CIF-SS Southeast Division championship? Think again.
With no real way for the Bulldogs to mimic what they’ll see Friday from Pasadena dual-threat quarterback Brandon Cox, head coach Mike Maggiore and staff have turned to Noodles to give their defense some semblance of what to expect when they face Cox this weekend.
Noodles has been doing his best Cox impersonation this week as the scout team quarterback.
“Well, Brandon Cox is about four or five inches taller (than Noodles) and left-handed,” Maggiore said. “He’s been doing a little of it.”
Simulating Cox, even for a future star like Noodles, is no easy task.
Nor will trying to contain Cox on Friday be an easy task for West Covina’s defense.
“Skill-wise, he’s as good as anyone we’ve played,” Maggiore said of Cox. “He’s a threat on the zone read. He runs quarterback counters. Sometimes, he’ll drop back and just take off if there’s nothing else to do.
“There’s not a lot that he doesn’t do well. We just have to do our best to contain him. I think we’re pretty fast on defense and have some guys who can cover. We’re going to have to force him into some uncomfortable plays.”
Facing Cox and Pasadena’s high-octane offense will be major shift from the double-wing offense the Bulldogs had to stop last week against Norwalk. West Covina (10-1) had only 21 offensive plays in last week’s 38-8 win. Drives could have lasted longer, but Bulldogs running back Jimmy Frazier carried five times in the game, scored on three of them and finished with 188 yards.
West Covina’s ground game might be its best defense this week against Pasadena, assuming there are long drives that keep Cox and Co. off the field.
“We’re not going to tell our guys to take a knee if they’re in the open field,” Maggiore said. “But we’re going to run the ball and mix in some play-action. Last week, we scored pretty quick.”
Thanksgiving practice returns
Practicing on Thanksgiving used to be an automatic for the Los Altos football team until recently. It hadn’t happened in any of the past four seasons, but thanks to the Conquerors’ win over Burroughs last week the enjoyment of the holiday while knowing there’s another game to be played will be felt again in Hacienda Heights.
“We’re pretty stoked,” Los Altos coach Dale Ziola said. “We expected to win in the playoffs. No one but us, but that’s worked for us all year long.
“The kids are special. They’ve been through heck. They’ve gone through three different coaches and three different programs. They’ve been kicked on and spit on and now they’re having a great time.
“Those seniors, man. They’re awesome. To get in the playoffs was cool, but to win that playoff game for those seniors was just the coolest thing in the world.”
The Conquerors continue to amaze under first-year coach Ziola. Los Altos was 0-10 last year but enters Friday’s home game against La Serna at 8-3.