Tough preseason schedule necessary for late success?

Schurr football coach Elvin Dick was talking about the Spartans’ schedule this season, and he said “If you look at our schedule, we don’t play any powder puffs.


“We want to play teams that will get us ready for our league.”

That raises the question about whether to follow Dick’s lead and play strong opponents as warmups for league, or load the preseason schedule with stiffs to ensure a winning record that would provide a better chance of drawing an at-large berth into the postseason tournament should your team fail to earn one of the league’s automatic spots.

The latter choice does involve a risk because sometimes strength of schedule is part of the criteria used for determining potential at-large candidates.

Soft preseason schedule, or one that tests a team’s mettle from the opening kickoffl?
Which is better? And why?

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  • Kirk

    Comments from a Whittier resident / Los Alamitos worker.

    Covering Los Al football for nine seasons, pre-league used to have it’s share of powder puffs.

    Washington HS in LA used to be the “sacrificial lamb” to start each season for the Griffins. Not anymore.

    With CIF changing most of the divisions, seems like every school will be facing a tougher league and playoff schedule. Los Al, as with other schools, is no different.

    I think Elvin Dick’s assessment is true to most competitive football programs. You have to get ready for league and CIF.

    You can’t do that winning laughers against over-matched schools.

  • murray

    Kirk, I think most coaches feel the same way, at least among the coaches who achieve the most success in postseason.

  • dennis maldonado

    i agree that you need to play good teams in league to get your team ready. A good example is how Santa Fe schedules top teams such as Fountain Valley and in the past Edson. They are looking to contend for CIF.someone should tell la serna so they can stop playing stiffs in the preseason. they always go 4-1 in preseason and then fall apart in league-if you want to build a program LS- play someone.

  • Highlander Fan

    I agree that playing a tough preseason schedule helps you as a coach.
    You find out things out about your team that only surface through adversity.
    Dennis, I agree with you, LS needs to beef up that preseason schedule.

  • ATOYAC

    Damm right Dennis La Serna preason is always soft.

  • TH

    I feel it is a good combination of both that leads to a team’s success. I am a firm believer in the fact that a team needs a tough preseason not only because it builds character, but it also gives them time to find their weaknesses–and fix them–through better teams finding and exploiting them. At the same time, you still need 1 or 2 games that will not necessarily be a blow out, but a definite easy win. This allows the players to gain some confidence and momentum going into league.

    Take for example Calhi. Last year they started with Rowland who ended up falling to Santa Fe in the second round. Then they went on to blow out El Monte, yet to play Long Beach Jordan out of the Moore League. Not the best of D1, but a talented team none the less. Even though they ended up losing a heartbreaker to them, they still had the experience of playing legitimate D1 prospects and knowing that if they could hang with them, they could hang with pretty much anybody else on their schedule. After that they went 6-0 plowing over Lawndale before opening league against long-time rival La Serna and finally ending at Santa Fe for the Del Rio title game where they still put up one hell of a fight.

    And I totally agree with Dennis Maldonado. LS’s preseason is one of the many jokes of Del Rio League. Not only does it fail to prepare the kids for teams like Cal and Santa Fe, but it can actually be a signal to everybody else in the league as to what to expect in later weeks. Most teams would see barely beating a team like John Glenn (and never scoring a TD)as a definite example as to how talented the team is, even if its only the first week of play.

  • Anonymous

    Say what you want about pre-season football (MALDONADO) but Cal High lost in the 1st round of the playoffs last year so what exactly did it get them? Pre-season is to get your young players time and most importantly to come out healthy, and ready for League.

  • footballfan

    anonymous-i readf your comment-playing weak teams in preseason doesnt get you ready for league and LS proves it every year-and when santa fe blows them out and LS struggles to finish third they can take their 6-4 record with them as they miss the playoffs, but the big win over john glennshould make them happy.

  • lvshsfootball

    im new to this area but i love hs football. regarding scheduling i dont know who LS is but if they want to build a program they should put together a good schedule-i believe that to be the best you need to play good competition so i agree with the people that think this school should upgrade the quality of their schedule. just scheduling weak teams to get a better record doesnt do anything for your program.

  • Highlander Fan

    LS is a joke. WE spanked them so bad in our scrimmage.
    I have heard that their coach is a very fine person so I don’t want to put a knock on him. It just seams as they’re expectations are low,they never play anybody in preseason and they’re happy just to make the playoffs.

  • Chieftain Alumni

    You have to look at a teams preseason schedule. Teams dont get to pick what league they are in so its hard to knock a team that dominates in a weak league if they play a tuff preseason schedule. Case in point Santa Fe playing D1 Fountain Valley and D3 Downey and Peninsula which they beat Friday 28-10. My hats off to those programs willing to test their teams win or lose. Im very interested to see how Oaks Christian fairs against St. Bonaventure this week. I think they are over rated due to one player so lets all see if they truly deserve their high ranking.

  • murray

    Santa Fe’s preleague schedule certainly is legit. Hard to imagine Mahlstede’s crew backing away from anyone. As for Oaks Christian, Don’t be too hard on the poor Lions. I’m told they’re legit, too. QB Clausen gets most of the pub, but he’s got really good receivers and the RB Tyler is big time. They could easily compete with the CIF-SS’s big guys on a regular basis…. at least for now.

  • Chieftain Alumni

    Well Mr. Murray..my hats off to Oak Christian. That was down right impressive!!

  • murray

    Chieftain Alumni:
    Amen to that!
    I know that Clausen and Tyler get most of the publicity, but those seven other Division I prospects must be doing the job, also.