Calabasas Coyotes fall to Simi Valley this weekend at home
The Calabasas football team was looking to make it two straight wins, but Simi Valley had other ideas when it visited Calabasas High on Friday night.
Simi Valley got off to a fast start and Calabasas, which falls to 1-3, never got its offense rolling.
And so, headed into the Marmonte League East opener, when Calabasas hosts Moorpark this Friday night, the Coyotes will look for improvement after a disappointing 46-17 loss to the Pioneers.
Calabasas head coach Christian Pierce said Friday’s score might be a little misleading and that it was the Coyotes’ offense that shouldered most of the burden for Friday’s loss.
“Despite the score, our defense did pretty well,” he said. “We had them on the field too long. And that’s our fault. That’s the offensive side of the ball’s fault.”
He also noted that Simi Valley, as expected, is very strong up front defensively.
“They played a very good game, and their defensive front four is very good and very well coached,” said Pierce.
No rhythm on offense
But the Coyotes’ coach was not pleased with his team’s ability to adapt to the pressure applied by the Pioneers’ defense.
“We didn’t execute at all,” Pierce said. “I thought the play selection was not good. There was no tempo; there was no flow. And Simi (Valley) got the ball in great field position the entire game.
“We had a number of dropped passes; we didn’t throw the ball as quick as we should have. Our running game was not (effective). They did a great job of stopping our running game,” he said.
After managing the game well in Calabasas’ first win of the season a week earlier, a 51-20 victory over Oak Park, the Coyotes’ quarterback Ike Fuchs struggled against Simi Valley.
Pierce said the main concern he has about Fuchs, who threw three interceptions, was that the senior play-caller not begin to question his own ability.
“He didn’t have a very good game offensively,” Pierce said. “With a quarterback, (there are) a couple of things you never want to have happen: You never want to have him second-guess himself on the football field. And you never want to have him be afraid to fail or afraid to make mistakes.”
Pierce said Fuchs’ uncertainty against Simi Valley may have led him to hold onto the ball too long even though the Coyotes’ offensive line gave him enough time to throw.
“He has to get rid of the ball sooner,” he said. “Our offensive line has done a good job all season, we’ve just got to get rid of the ball and reward these kids.”
Too many costly turnovers
Pierce noted that two of the three passes that Simi Valley intercepted were returned for touchdowns. Also, Pierce said, two intentional groundings that were called against the Calabasas QB, added to the Coyotes’ troubles.
“You just can’t have that,” Pierce said. “So we’re going to focus on eliminating those mistakes this week. And getting our running game back on track.”
Pierce said that Anthony Wright, a junior running back, was ineffective after breaking out for 216 yards on 24 carries in the win over Oak Park. He noted that Marshall Faulk Jr. would likely be utilized more this week against Moorpark.
“We’ve got to get the ball in Marshall Faulk’s hands more,” he said of the senior running back. “He only had three or four carries. That’s not good enough.”
Only a week before the Simi Valley loss, Calabasas had 430 total yards – of which 320 came on the ground – against Oak Park. But against Simi Valley, the Coyotes couldn’t generate the same offensive output.
“It was all of our offense that didn’t produce,” Pierce said. “We didn’t block well. We didn’t run well. We didn’t throw well. We didn’t do anything thing well. The only thing that had some bright glimmers of hope was special teams.”
Simi Valley builds a big first half lead
Simi Valley’s senior quarterback Cody Daste had something to do with keeping the Coyotes’ defense on the field. He completed 14 of 25 passes for 234 yards and four touchdowns, including a 95-yard strike to MJ Nelson III.
Simi Valley (3-1) spread the wealth around as nine players caught at least one pass.
For Calabasas, Jordan Pierce, a senior linebacker, who came into the game averaging 14 tackles, played well again. Although the stats weren’t official as of Sunday, his coach said he exceeded his season-average in tackles.
“And he had some help from some guys, finally – Jordan Bessard and Martin Barboza,” said Coach Pierce. Bessard is a senior defensive end and Barboza is a junior linebacker.
On special teams, Pierce noted that a couple of Fuchs’ kickoffs went for touchbacks and that his own return man, Anthony Freeman, “almost busted two” for touchdowns. Pierce also praised Devin Doyle for his punt returns.
Calabasas simply fell behind too quickly and by too much to make a comeback. Simi Valley led 9-0 after one quarter and extended its lead to an insurmountable 30-3 by halftime.
“We’re a team that has come from behind before,” said Pierce. “We’re not afraid to do that. We’ve done it. But the odds are against us (if we keep falling behind).”
Control what we can control
The Coyotes coach said his team has enough veterans to rebound for the game against a Moorpark team that narrowly lost its first game of the season, 35-34, against Palos Verdes Friday night on the road. Moorpark is 3-1.
“We have a lot of seniors on this team and they faced even better teams in the same league last year,” Pierce said. “So we know what to expect. And we’ve just got to go at it.”
The Marmonte League, split into two five-team divisions or not, is one of the best leagues around. And so Pierce wants his team only to concern itself with the things it can control.
“We can’t control the teams (we oppose),” he said. “All we can do it try to do what we do better. We expect to be a better offensive team this week. And we expect to be as good, if not better, defensively.”
An aspect of his team’s performance (along with special teams) that Pierce preaised was limiting penalties.
“We had no illegal procedures,” he said. “We had no encroachments. So that’s a big plus. We’re getting more and more disciplined every day. We did play smarter in terms of penalties.”
Pierce said he and his coaches were beginning to break down film of Moorpark on Sunday. He said they hadn’t devised a game plan yet (as of Sunday afternoon). But he stressed that the most important thing was to continue to improve.
The Coyotes didn’t do all the things they set out to do against Simi Valley, Pierce acknowledged, but he said he looked forward to Monday’s meetings with his coaching staff and the Coyotes’ practice session later on Monday.
“Together we’re going to do better,” he said.
The Calabasas football team was looking for two straight wins as they faced Simi Valley last Friday night. However, Simi took the Calabasas Coyotes in a 46-17 victory.