BELLARMINE-JEFFERSON HIGH -- It has been an eventful week for the
Bellarmine-Jefferson High football team.
While most teams in the Southern Section are anticipating their
season-opening games next week, the Guards jump right into the thick
of things tonight.
At 7 p.m. at Burroughs’ Memorial Field, the Guards will kick off
the 2003 campaign with a nonleague contest against Compton
The game between the Guards and Apaches will be one of 24
so-called “early games” this week played in the Southern Section.
It’s called a Zero Week game, and the contests came about after
recent changes in Southern Section rules.
Along with an accelerated practice schedule to get Bell-Jeff up to
speed for its early game, the team has also had to practice a few
days without its head coach, Rolando Aguirre. Aguirre had to leave
the Guards to go out of state to tend to a family emergency.
Despite having to play their first game almost a week earlier then
most other teams, and the situation with their head coach, the Guards
are ready to go.
“We don’t look at the fact that we have an early game this season
as a disadvantage,” Bell-Jeff assistant coach Carlos Trujillo said.
“We have a lot of returning players who know the system and know
what is expected of them. Because of that, we have been able to come
a long way in our practices and we are going to be ready for [today].
“It is just a matter of us going out there and executing what
Trujillo, who said Aguirre should return to the team in time for
tonight’s game, is confident the Guards haven’t missed a beat in the
absence of their head coach. Trujillo was a player under Aguirre, and
he is the coach’s right-hand man when it comes to running the
“I know what Coach Aguirre expects and how he wants the offense
run,” Trujillo said. “So that’s what I have been doing in practice.”
Bell-Jeff (5-6 in 2002) returns to action for the first time since
it fell in a CIF Southern Section Division XII first-round playoff
game against Ontario Christian, 63-30, to end last season.
Trujillo said the offense should be the key for the Guards against
The team’s main weapon is 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior quarterback
Brendon Doyle, who passed for 1,555 yards and 13 touchdowns last
year. He was also a fine punter, earning All-CIF honors.
With Doyle a passing threat, Bell-Jeff should also have a potent
running attack with juniors Adrian Anetema (5-8, 175) and Derek
Leiphardt (5-10, 180). The pair combined to rush for 1,382 yards and
17 touchdowns in 2002.
With a balanced attack, Trujillo said the Guards will be able to
change things up on offense.
“If our running attack isn’t working, we can switch to the pass
without missing too much,” he said.
The Guards’ opponent hasn’t had much success in recent years and
the Apache offense sputtered -- at best -- last season, as it was
With its offensive problems, it’s not surprising Centennial went
just 1-9 and finished last in the Pioneer League (0-5).
The problems in 2002 were just the latest for a program that
hasn’t won more than one game in a season since 1996. It also has a
9-58-1 record during the past seven years.
“It is important for us to begin the season with a win,” Trujillo
said. “We want to come out and really take it to them.
“We realize that [Compton Centennial] is going to have a lot of
team speed and they have some good coaches. But we are motivated to
get that first win.”