Printer Friendly

NOTES : TAFT DEFENSE: `WE CAN FLAT OUT FLY'.

Byline: Eric Sondheimer Daily News Deputy Sports Editor

Sending a powerful message that it intendsto challenge for a City Section 4-A championship this season, Taft High School's football team unleashed a super-quick defensive unit Friday night that figures to make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks.

With 400-meter runner Sedric Hurns rushing from one outside linebacker position and the speedy Donte Morgan charging from the other side, Sylmar quarterback Chris Cervantes was sacked four times in a 30-6 Taft rout.

It's the fastest Taft defensive unit in coach Troy Starr's five years at the Woodland Hills campus. Not only do the outside linebackers run like track sprinters, but so do the defensive backs. Cornerbacks Damon Coleman and Jaron Lawson can cover anybody man-to-man, and free safety Keith Johnson does the rest.

``We can flat out fly,'' Starr said. ``It allows us to play a pressure defense because we can cover. Keith Johnson is a Pac-10 player. He's the guy if we make a mistake, he covers.''

The early signs of Taft's defensive potential showed up in summer passing leagues, where Coleman and his fellow defensive backs were competing and beating the best receivers around.

``That's what we worked on all summer - speed, coverage and stopping the run,'' Coleman said. ``This win is sending a message, but it's not that big because we knew we could do it.''

Taft quarterback Nick DiPadova was enjoying every minute of his time watching the Toreadors' defensive unit shut down the Spartans.

``The defense is sweet,'' he said. ``They look so good. And no, I wouldn't want to play against them.''

Taft is loaded with all-around athletes. Ryan Long, a transfer from Faith Baptist who's a top baseball player, was impressive pulling down passes at wide receiver. And Hurns, a receiver last season, used his speed to rush for 147 yards on 13 carries with two touchdowns. Now it's clear why Starr was willing to get jettison Donald Carpenter, a 1,255-yard rusher, and replace him with Hurns.

``It felt good,'' Hurns said. ``It's my permanent position.

The big question: Everybody wondered if the absence of Sylmar coach Jeff Engilman Friday night affected his team's performance.

``Do they miss Engilman, or do they miss Durell Price and Gerrod Taylor?'' Starr asked.

Engilman is banned from attending Sylmar's first two games because of rule violations. Asked about the impact of Engilman not being on the sideline, Sylmar defensive backs coach Damon Burnley said, ``It had everything to do with the the loss tonight. We were confused. We had personnel problems - we just had too many problems.''

Ineligible: Taft has lost one of its four top transfer students. Receiver Krys Fields, a transfer from Cleveland, was declared ineligible before the game.

Super sophomore: Keep track of Taft sophomore offensive tackle Chris Garlington, who's 6-foot-3, weighs 245 pounds and more than held his own in his varsity debut Friday.

CAPTION(S):

Photo

PHOTO Charles Mason (78), attempting to block a punt, was o ne of many from Taft's defense was had superb outings.

Jeremy Greene / Special to the Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1996 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 Reader Opinion

Title:

Comment:



 

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 13, 1996
Words:511
Previous Article:WESTLAKE'S LITTLE MAN MAKES BIG : WESTLAKE 33, BUENA 15.
Next Article:VALLEY JEWS SET TO OBSERVE ROSH HASHANA.


Related Articles
FISHER'S BEATS BUZZER, BRAVES : TAFT FORWARD'S LAYUP ENOUGH FOR VICTORY OVER BIRMINGHAM TAFT 43, BIRMINGHAM 41.
SPORTS DEATHS RAISE ISSUES OF KIDS' SAFETY : RECENT DEATHS.
QBS MAY HAUNT CITY.
TAFT DEFENSE STRIKES LATE : TAFT 24 EL CAMINO REAL 7.
PROTOTYPE PILOTLESS AIRCRAFT CRASHES DURING 2ND FLIGHT.
TOP-RANKED TAFT RIPS BIRMINGHAM : TOREADORS RIDE STRONG FIRST HALF TAFT 41, BIRMINGHAM 6.
TAFT'S PASSING GAME OVERWHELMS CARSON : TAFT 39, CARSON 6.
TAFT'S DEFENSE SHOWS THE WAY : TAFT 33 WASHINGTON 21.
FARZANEH LIFTS C.P. : CANOGA PARK 71, TAFT 58.
GIRLS' BASKETBALL: HAYNES GETS WINNER FOR TAFT IN OT.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters