Maranatha High School is a perfect setting for a football game. There’s new field turf, and the stands are filled with rabid Minutemen fans. The visitors’ side isn’t bad either but its just not as roomy as it is for the home team.
The backdrop on the West side consists of huge trees sitting on the edge of a beautiful campus that was once Ambassador College. When the kicker boots an extra point or a field goal on that end of the field, the ball sails into the trees and out into what looks like a forest. Let’s just say the ball boys keep busy.
Because of the location of the field, it feels like there is an earthquake every once in awhile. The field is built on top of a parking garage, which is actually really convenient for the fans. But occasionally, when a car accelerates into the garage, or the fans raucously celebrate a touchdown or even an extremely strong wind sweeps through, the field tends to bounce up and down. It actually adds to the excitement.
The house is literally rocking.
It’s really rocking these days with the Minutemen wining their first three games. Friday night against Azusa, Maranatha put up 47 points and racked up over 500 total yards.
Everyone has been talking about junior quarterback Andrew Elffers all summer. Elffers, who is already getting looks from numerous D-1 schools, was expected to have a huge year. So far he is living up to the hype. Friday night he threw for five touchdowns and 371 yards with no interceptions.
We knew about Elffers but where did all these other guys come from? Darien McGee can turn a five yard out pattern into a 70 yard touchdown in matter of seconds.
Against Azusa he caught seven passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns. There is a not a five yard reception in McGee’s vocabulary. His touchdown catches went for 60, 31 and 41 yards. He had another catch for 41 yards early in the contest.
McGee made like Michael Jordan on a couple of catches, turning what looked like an over thrown pass into a big gainer by leaping out of the building. If you miss him in the open field on the line of scrimmage, forget it, he’s gone.
“Because of all the great receivers we had last year, he was just a part time player,” said Maranatha Coach Pete Karavedas. “We had guys like Josh Jones, Jeremy Major and Mark Jebbia and he didn’t get a lot of time. We need to get his film out (to recruiters).”
Once he does they will be out to look at more than just Elffers.
So defensive coordinators need to simply focus on McGee and Elffers? Well no there’s more. Clifton Martin caught just two passes all night. Ok big deal? Yeah it was a big deal. They both went for touchdowns covering 55 and 45 yards. Martin outran the Azusa secondary on both scores, bursting past defenders with speed that hadn’t been seen since well…McGee. In the Minutemen playbook, a screen pass to Martin is usually as good as a post pattern.
Martin, who usually lines up in the backfield, is dangerous through the air or on the ground. He scored on a 62 yard run early in the contest.
Anybody else? Well actually yes. The Minutemen have a running game too. Feature back Omar Younger rushed for close to 100 yards and a touchdown.
There are big things happening on St. John Avenue in Pasadena. And if you’re at a game and the earth starts shaking don’t run for cover. It’s not an earthquake. It’s just McGee or Martin running for a touchdown.
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.