Football: Big ambitions for Narbonne Gauchos

Eric Sondheimer
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There was a four-team seven on seven passing competition on Saturday morning at Chaminade. Narbonne, Oaks Christian and Calabasas joined the host Eagles. What was memorable was the message Narbonne Coach Manuel Douglas passed along to his players during a pregame talk.

"We're trying to win a state championship starting today," he told his players.

The Gauchos, the preseason favorites in City Section Division I, have big ambitions with eight players having Division I scholarship offers. There was plenty to be impressed about.

Sophomore to be Jalen Chatman, filling in at quarterback for Roman Ale (baseball), showed that he's going to need lots of playing time based on his powerful arm. The Gauchos' defense will remind people of the 2012 team. The linebacking duo of Raymond Scott and Lawson Hall will be as good as any around.

Calabasas continues to make progress under Coach Casey Clausen. The Coyotoes showed off a promising sophomore to be in receiver-defensive back Josh Madison. "He's a great athlete," Clausen said.

Quarterback Tristan Gebbia will benefit from more speed at the receiver position.

Oaks Christian has had about six days working with new co-coach Jim Benkert. The offense is still learning terminology and strategy, but he gets to build around sophomore quarterback Matt Corral, who showed great abilities as a freshman. And the Lions have a receiving trio few will be able to match in 6-foot-7 Colby Parkinson, 6-5 Michael Owusu and 6-4 Michael Pittman. It's going to take time to get everyone on the same page. Parkinson, a junior, has received special praise from Benkert.

Chaminade was missing several key players busy with track and baseball. The Eagles' big assignment will be trying to decide what to do with Dymond Lee. He's a standout receiver but also plays quarterback. Is the team better with him at receiver or QB? That's the question Coach Ed Croson must resolve. If the Eagles can develop a solid QB, the offense probably will be better with Lee at receiver.




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