It appears that Father Time has finally caught up with the Chaminade Eagles. After four straight 10-win seasons and a historic state championship, it appears that the Eagles have been grounded. After a devastating 50-17 home loss to Crespi on Friday, the Eagles now sit at 5-4 after winning their first five games of the season.
With the loss, they have been eliminated from playoff contention and have lost the bragging rights that they once held over the San Fernando Valley. What a role reversal! After a rather disappointing 4-7 finish to last season, Crespi is now 7-1, ranked 12th in the nation according to MaxPreps, and is considered by many to be a contender in the perennially competitive Pac-5 division.
Friday’s game started much like Chaminade’s season, with the Eagles jumping to a quick start. After a 35-yard field goal by Ben Kreitenberg gave the Eagles a 3-0 lead, the atmosphere at Chaminade quickly became electric. And then Crespi took over. The Celts didn’t throw the ball the entire game, but no matter. Their veer offense was the magic formula as they controlled the tempo of the game thanks to their three-headed backfield monster in T.J. Brumfield, Jalen Starks, and D.J. Beavers, each of whom tallied over 100 yards for the second consecutive week.
Unlike Chaminade, Crespi does not have the luxury of depth as they have just 32 players on its roster. So how do the Celts manage to stay so competitive the entire game? Give a lot of credit to Coach Troy Thomas. Thomas, a Crespi alumnus, coached at Servite as it rose into a powerhouse football program. He took the Friars’ emphasis on brotherhood back to his alma mater and it has certainly paid dividends.
A majority of the Celts play on both sides of the football which is only possible because of their extremely rigorous conditioning program that includes lifting weights on game days as well as conditioning the morning after a game. Crespi seemed to switch into a new gear in the fourth quarter, whereas the Eagles seemed to be fatigued as they simply rolled over before they even had a chance to make the game interesting.
After winning a state championship last year, Chaminade surely knew that it would have a target on its back. However, even the team’s seasoned veterans could not have predicted the onslaught of losses that have come their way this season. But alas, this 33-point loss to a Mission League foe serves a valuable lesson, proving that last year’s state championship is irrelevant now. Their seemed to be an air of complacency around the Chaminade campus this year, a hangover of sorts from last year’s accomplishments.
Nonetheless, Eagle fans have reason to be encouraged. T.J. Pledger and Mykee Irving lead a 2018 class that Coach Ed Croson predicts will make an immediate impact at the varsity level next season. If Croson wants to continue to push his program in the right direction, he could certainly take a page out of Thomas’ book. This is a very talented Chaminade program that is littered with great athletes the way that a John Madden broadcast is littered with Brett Favre references. So fret not Eagle faithful, this trouncing at the hands of a rival will only serve as motivation for a promising 2015-2016 season. But for now, it’ll be a long off-season.
by Conner Hoyt