By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
For years Baldwin Park High School has been the bruising, prodding, three yards and a cloud of dust football team that grinded out wins and had some memorable seasons under former coach James Heggins.
That’s all about to change.
First-year coach Chris Williams plans to air it out, which will remind some of legendary coach Tony Zane, the famed Braves coach who caused defensive coordinators nightmares in the 1980’s and ’90’s. (to continue click thread)
“I guess you could call (our offense) coach Zanish-like,” Williams said with a chuckle. “We’re a no-huddle, spread-it out, up-tempo football team that wants to throw it all over the place.
“I’ve seen films from coach Zane’s heyday. You try to wear opponents down. Nobody likes to defend a team that spreads it out and can do it effectively. We might have some growing pains but the players love it.
“We’re not relying on one guy. Everyone has an opportunity to make plays and that’s added an excitement that hasn’t been here in a while.”
Baldwin Park also will be able to run with Raymond Calzada in the backfield, but junior quarterback Michael Moran arguably holds the keys to the offense.
Moran passed for 1,045 yards and nine touchdowns on a team that finished 2-8 last season, but when he aired it out he showed promise.
In the Braves’ 26-18 loss to Valle Vista League champion Covina, Moran completed 25 of 43 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns.
“Michael is much more of a leader this year, you can just feel it,” Williams said. “He was on varsity as a sophomore and got his feet wet. This year we’re turning him loose and believe he’s more than capable of giving us what we need.”
Baldwin Park was embarrassed in last year’s season opener at home, a 43-17 loss to El Monte.
El Monte will host Baldwin Park in the season opener on Friday at 7 p.m., giving the Braves an opportunity to take on the Mission Valley League favorite and one of the best quarterbacks in the Valley in dual threat Brandon Martinez.
“To be honest, I haven’t worried about El Monte too much,” Williams said. “I know they have a good team and their quarterback put up good numbers last year.
“But after watching the game on film, we stopped them on first down, second down, then gave up the big play. The game kind of got away from them. We couldn’t get them off the field on third and long. If we clean that stuff up we’ll be fine, but we know they have a great team.”
And what better way to open the season than with an opportunity to upset the Lions?
“I told our guys everyone is talking about El Monte, this is kind of their year to do something,” Williams said. “Nobody is talking about us. Everyone is overlooking us. If you want to show that Baldwin Park is back and that last year was a fluke, here’s your chance right here.”
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