As the fog rolled in on a crisp Friday evening,the El Segundo Eagles got ready to take on the Lawndale Cardinals. The Eagles looked to get back on top after blowing a huge halftime lead against Oak Park. After having an extra week to prepare, the Eagles came out strong from their Bye week. Quarterback Daniel Zeman had a big day completing 17 of his 26 pass attempts for 278 yards. The Eagles opened up their playbook as well. The play of the game was an unorthodox bounce pass from Zeman to Brasher and then to Zac Stone for a Touchdown. The stunned Cardinals watched Stone cross the goal line on a play they assumed was dead. Zeman bounced the ball behind the line of scrimmage to Brasher who picked it up as a live ball and hit Stone for the Touchdown. The Eagles defense also played an efficient game holding the Cardinals to 17 points. They did let two long run plays occur but their offense picked them up on the other end. El Segundo made plays when it needed to and came out the victor in the Battle of the Birds.
The entire city of El Segundo woke up Friday morning anticipating a big day: Homecoming. The Eagles were ready to take on the Torrance Tartars and defend their house on a chilly Friday evening. There wasn’t an open seat in the bleachers on the Eagles side. The Eagles got off to a slow start, however, falling behind 14-6. Kyle Bonam ran well in the first half and finished with 53 yards on 9 attempts for the game. The Eagles defense let 3 touchdowns through, but played a strong overall game. Austin Brasher intercepted a pass for a 5-yard return a play after Austin Kurke sacked Torrance’s quarterback. The Eagles only allowed 7 points in the final three quarters, but they could never put together back-to-back scoring plays or get any real momentum on offense. Sophomore quarterback Daniel Zeman threw for over 200 yards including a touchdown pass. Connor Underwood and Zac Stone caught nice passes from Zeman but Torrance’s defense seemed to shut the Eagles down at the right times. The referees also called a tough game and there was a significant amount of penalties that some may have classified as too strict. The Eagles scored a touchdown and two point conversion in the 4th quarter, but their comeback effort came up short. The Eagles always put up a valiant fight, but lately they have been tasting nothing but defeat in close games. The Eagles look to rebound next week against The North High Saxons and there is not doubt that they will be eager to prove that they can come out on top in one-score games.
On Friday, September 23rd, our valiant Eagles football team put up a hard fight and made West Torrance Warriors battle for every yard they took. Despite the Eagles’ effort, the Warriors won in a last minute field goal leaving the score 13-10 Warriors.
After the game I talked with two amazing players, #12 Seth McKenna and #15 Jamie Stewart. Both players said they knew they were in for a challenge that night and that the coaches had defensively prepared the team for the game. These two players and their coaches(Eno and Chevlin) felt that the team had played hard and well, with plans to play even better next time.
By Tommy Marcelletti
The tennis team this year has performed extremely well, something that is not reflected in the team’s final record. Led primarily by senior Jacob Engstrom, the team fought hard in league and ended up winning second place.
The team was not prone to silly mistakes, which prevented them from ever falling behind too far in games – making them a dangerous team. “We won the games we should’ve won, but for CIF we could’ve done better,” says Engstrom. The team won its first round, but unluckily was placed with a very tough challenger in the second round. Engstrom was burdened by an injured shoulder, and they lost.
Regardless, Engstrom says, “I did my best and the team is great. I got to meet a lot of new people and it was great playing with [senior] Adam Hobbs.”
The men’s swim team also achieved remarkably this season, winning not only league, but CIF as well. Actually, “winning” would probably be an understatement, because the team was so dominant that it never lost a single meet. “We all had each others’ backs. We pushed each other to get better in practice, and that work showed up in CIF, that we could play as a team,“ says senior varsity player Christian Saravia. “Even with moving up a division we all pulled together and went for the win and got back-to-back CIF titles,” adds sophomore varsity player Jonathan Paz. “The main reason we were successful was definitely the fact that all of us are really strong swimmers and we all wanted to win [CIF] again.”
Joining the crowd of outstanding Eagle athletic teams is baseball. With a 19-13 record, the Eagles had a 10-game winning streak going into the CIF playoffs before losing in the second round to Laguna Beach by a score of 2-1. USC-bound Senior Nigel Nootbaar led the team in nearly every offensive category while also asserting himself as one the team’s top pitchers, allowing a miniscule 1.38 ERA and leading the team in strikeouts. Nootbaar also tied for the team lead in stolen bases with Fresno State-bound senior Grant Palmer, who was lost in the first CIF game when he reinjured his football-tenderized shoulder . Palmer played an important a role in the club’s success by leading the team in runs scored while providing crucial senior leadership.
However, boys aren’t the only ones tearing it up on a diamond. The ESHS softball team has done equally as well, having won 15 games this season. As Team Captain Julia Smith said, “Our team had a good season. We battled hard through all our games and we had great senior leadership.” Although teamwork and chemistry are always necessary for a team to succeed, these seemed to be the softball team’s strength this season especially. “We really got along well. We always had good chemistry, had fun and worked really hard. Unfortunately, things didn’t always go our way,” says junior Iliana Morales, citing the team’s first-round loss in the CIF playoffs. The team was always dangerous, even coming back from ten runs down one game against Torrance to shorten the deficit to one. Even though they lost that game by two runs, the Eagles always knew they could come back. “We knew we could depend on each other to not put each other down, but to be blunt with each other. We knew we could tell someone [what they did wrong] and they wouldn’t get upset about it,” adds Morales.
Last in this article, but certainly not least, the track team has excelled this year despite the major obstacle of… not having a track. However, the team pulled together and, rather than using their lack of facilities as an excuse, made it motivation. “Not having a track inspired us,” says senior and captain Luke Lambert. “It inspired us to go out and perform and do our best. Not having a track didn’t stop us from still going out and competing.”
Another potential challenge the team was forced to face was having a new coach, in David Washington. However, that wasn’t a problem either, as more than a dozen athletes made CIF this year, which is obviously an amazing achievement – and something that, as Lambert reiterates, is “amazing, considering we had no usable track.”
This year in El Segundo Football we started out like rolling thunder, but amongst all the games we’ve played, only a few stand out exceptionally among the rest. The members of this year’s team are filled with passion, skill, willpower, and pure love of the game, and this season has been a memorable one for El Segundo.
During the third game of the season against Bishop Montgomery, the Eagles were truly tested. Prior to this game we had dominated the score board against St. Bernard and Mary Star, but this game was strikingly different. Throughout the entire game, it was a constant struggle to maintain the lead. The winner was as unclear as the sky that night; no one could say for certain that the Eagles could grasp a third victory. As time ticked away, the Eagles prepared themselves for a final charge to victory, but the referees denied us our extra point after the touchdown, sending the game into double-overtime. Although we were denied our point, we fought on and conquered Bishop with one final touchdown, ending the game at 45-38.
However, not all of our greatest games end in victory, particularly the homecoming game. The team had put together a great first quarter scoring a total of 10 points, but this happy beginning was short lived. As most already know, senior Grant Palmer was injured during the game which forced freshman Daniel Zeman into the game to cover for him. Although nervous and inexperienced, Zeman was able to fill in Palmer’s shoes. Passion ran high and all of the players’ hearts were on the field that night. However, tragedy struck again when juniors Kendall Brown and Dakota McAlister collided, injuring both of them. On top of that, we were denied a touchdown that would have meant certain victory for the Eagles. Though the game was lost with a final score of 10-14, we proved that we could adapt and overcome the adversity. Following the game, Zeman explained that “There were so many thoughts running through my head during the game that it was hard to focus, I did all I could do given the circumstances.”
This season has been a strong one for the ESHS Football team, and we can only hope that we finish it off even stronger. Being third in league right now, it is certain we are going to make it to playoffs. Congratulation Eagles on a terrific season thus far.
By Tommy Marcelletti
Leading the charge of ESHS sports teams are the girls’ volleyball, cross country, girls’ tennis and football teams, which all have performed excellently. All of the teams have been competing successfully, won league events, or have broken records!
Girls’ tennis is having a special season. All they’ve done is win the league for the first time in the history of ESHS! With a record of 7-2, the team has vastly improved from last year’s 0-9 record. Junior Katie Tran credits the team’s success to a strong freshman class. “Last year we were 0-9, so improving to 7-2 was a big step and it couldn’t have been done without the freshmen. They really did well.” Also important to the team’s surprising yet well-earned success was the team’s chemistry this year. “We all motivated each other. Our team was like a family. It really contributed to our success,” comments freshman Sachi Mccullough. They also agreed that to continue their victorious ways, they’ll have to work just as hard next year. But, they say, “We’re definitely going to try!”
The cross country team, while usually one of the more overlooked teams on campus, is making history this year with its impressive onslaught of broken records. Senior Garett Lopez, sophomore Anna Farello, and sophomore Joel Foster all made record times for the Mt. San Antonio College course, with Foster posting a 16:42, the fastest time all season. Lopez attributes his team’s success to rigorous training and experienced coaching. “I think we have been so successful because of the hard summer training and our extremely experienced coaches” who, he says, “have helped us every step of the way.” He also says that the team, of which 3 of the seven members are seniors, will have to rely on the underclassmen to continue its success. “ They have the potential to not only continue this year’s success, but to make this year’s achievements look mild. It’s all about if they choose to take it seriously.” A good piece of advice from a great team leader.
It doesn’t stop there. Another girls team has really kicked butt this year: the volleyball team. Despite a 7-12 record, the Lady Eagles are 3-2 in league play and surprised many skeptics with their key win over North on Senior Night. “The main reason for our success so far is doing the little things that our coaches ask us to do. This may not seem like much, but it has definitely allowed us to pull off wins in clutch situations,” says senior and Captain Antoinette Alugbue, who has an athletic scholarship to the Univerisity of Notre Dame. She also discussed the team’s chemistry. “I can honestly say that this is the best team chemistry that I have experienced in my four years on varsity. We have so much fun playing together as well. We all know each others’ tendencies and we know the times when our teammates need help. We never get down on each other and we’re really positive. This definitely has helped with our close wins this year and it just goes to show that volleyball games are won with a team effort.”
Senior Shawna Lum adds to this sentiment when she says, “The main reason for our success is when we play together. When we play to our full potential and when everyone is excited, victory is inevitable.“ Alugbue also contributes her team’s success to the different leadership styles of the three captains. “Jen Aceves is a vocal leader on the court who always gets our team really fired up. Senior Jessy Hoeshler is a leader on and off the court by always remaining positive in tough situations, and pushing herself to new limits.” She adds, “I’m a really quiet person, but I like to lead by example and remain consistent. I think each of us captains contributes something amazing to the team that many of the players can relate to.”
They both agree that the biggest moment of the season came on senior night in their victory over North. Besides the rivalry, the game was huge, as Lum puts it, “because we needed to redeem our loss to them.” It was important for the Lady Eagles to prove that they could win the big game, and they did just that. Alugbue adds , “We not only wanted to prove our critics wrong, but we wanted to play for our own pride. We [seniors] didn’t want to leave with a loss on our minds. We all played together consistently and as our coaches say, ‘took care of business.’”
Not to be left out, the the ESHS football team has had its fair share of obstacles to overcome this season, but that hasn’t stopped them from competing for the league title so far. Despite not playing a single game in El Segundo, and having their only three “home” games at St. Bernard’s, the football team has excelled. The Eagles have rolled up 6 wins, and are looking for more in their last two games against Centennial and South.
Senior Grant Palmer is leading the team in both passing and rushing yards, with averages of 70 and 199, respectfully, and is a major reason why the Eagles are averaging 38 points a game. He has passed for 20 touchdowns with only 5 interceptions, which is a great ratio for any quarterback. On the defensive side, senior Isaiah Hale is averaging an impressive 9.8 tackles a game and the Eagles have intercepted six passes as a team.
The Eagles’ losses this season have been especially tough because the margin of victory for the other team in the two losses is only six. In their wins, the average margin of victory is 22 – which shows dominant the Eagles have played in their wins, and how close their 2 losses have been (a combined 12 points).
After the disappointing homecoming loss to the North Saxons, by the score of 14-10, the Eagles are more motivated than ever. Even with an injury to Palmer late in the game which hampered their would-be game-winning drive, the Eagles showed fight and determination that is always welcome to see, even in a loss.