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PROGRAM BUILDER: Compton Coach Calvin Bryant has built his team to be one of the best in the area but in a deeper Moore League than in years past he has his work cut out for him.Â Photo Credit: Nick Koza for Sentinel
Compton remains content under Moore League radar
The Moore League will be one of the most competitive leagues in the Southern Section and it won't be easy competing with two of the state's best in Lakewood and Long Beach Poly."The first week in league will tell everybody everything," Compton coach Calvin Bryant said of the Oct. 2matchups between his bunch at Lakewood along with Poly hosting Long Beach Jordan.Poly's hype comes with the territory of being who they are and certainly Lakewood - now without tailback Jerry Stone- is worthy of their preseason hype. The trendy underdog pick, which used to be Compton, is now Jordan.So where does that leave the Tarbabes? Right where they want to be - under the radar despite what they have coming back."Nobody is talking about us returning four offensive lineman or us having one of the best [senior] running backs [in the area]," Bryant said.That running back would be senior James McConico III who rushed for 1,234 yards (on a state-best 17.1 yards per carry) and 14 touchdowns. And those linemen, led by 6-6. 350-pound Eduardo Nevarez would be among the largest in the league.In a year dominated with talented running backs, McConico might be the most underrated but the 5-11, 194 lbs. speedster is just as deadly a weapon as anyone in the Moore League. And right behind him is sophomore Roger Jones, who Bryant is high on.While the team plans to keep its bread-and-butter offense, the double-wing, they'll experiment with some shotgun and spread formations.After producing Division I players Datone Jones (UCLA) and Chris Metcalf (Nevada), the Tarbabes' defense has another star in linebacker Josiah Marshall as well as 330-pound lineman Jerrell Gordon. But while they may be deeper than in years past, the mantra is still the same."We just want to keep our mentality, get tougher and prepared for keeping our composure in big games and finishing well."Finishing the season strong has been their Achilles heel the last two years as they've gone 0-6 in November, including two playoff losses to Huntington Beach Edison and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.Both times, they had to face Poly and Lakewood in consecutive weeks which is why Bryant hopes the schedule will be a bit more favorable this year with Lakewood and Poly serving as bookends to league play.In keeping with his plan of restoring some of the school's traditions, the Tarbabes will host in-city rivals Centennial (Sept. 11) and Dominguez (Sept. 18). The team will start the season late because their first game in Utah had been cancelled.Another first comes on September 25 when the team travels to Dorsey for the first time and will be the second team to enjoy the new artificial turf the Dons just got installed.While the Tarbabes are at no-worst the third-best team in the league, they've established themselves as the city's top program - a mark that will no doubt be challenged once their neighbors come to play next month...Next week: we will unveil our teams to watch and All-Sentinel Preseason Team to get ready for Week 1 on Sept. 4