Editor’s note: Elijah Zabludoff is a senior football player from St. John Bosco High and an aspiring journalist. Each week during the high school football season, he will be blogging about his personal experiences and also his thoughts about prep sports in general. Zabludoff is a returning starter at center for the Braves, who are undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the Southland by the Los Angeles Times.
It is playoff time in Southern California. Crowds are louder, the lights seem brighter, and the games are more intense. Everything during the playoffs seems faster: the pace of games, the players, and the way time disappears from the clock.
Running out of a smokey tunnel is a chilling experience during the playoffs. It’s a stronger sign of: ‘We’re coming for you.’
The playoffs mean that there is a new beginning. The 10 regular season games, regardless of how you did, are over. The only thing that matters now is going 6-0 and playing in a state championship game at the StubHub Center.
However, not looking ahead to the perfect 6-0 record is the key to success in playoffs. Every week you need to prepare like you would any other game. You still need to watch film, still need to study scouting reports, and practice harder than ever. The entire team needs to focus on the task at hand: go 1-0 in that specific week.
On any Friday night, an underdog team can knock off a top-seeded team. I mean, it’s the playoffs, anything can happen. For a team of high expectations like the St. John Bosco Braves, taking it one game at a time is more than a cliche. It is absolutely vital. All of us know that if we take one week off that means we’re turning our equipment in.
Before every game, all the seniors get together in the locker room and tell each other, “This is it, guys. This can be our last game. Don’t let it be, let’s be perfect.” We remind each other of that loss to Long Beach Poly last year, and promise each other that we won't feel that heartbreak again.
In the playoffs, every team is one loss away from tears. Seniors' high school careers can be over in the blink of an eye, and that one loss can haunt you forever.
Last Friday, the Braves took on the Agoura Chargers and defeated them, 69-24. Starting offensive guard Emery Sefo, 6 feet 2 and 300 pounds, scored the first touchdown of his career on a two-yard run. Without a doubt, that was the most fantastic touchdown I’ve ever seen in high school football.
It was an excellent win, and a great way to start our quest to a championship. However, that's down the road. The Braves take on Tesoro High on Friday at Long Beach Veterans Stadium, and are again looking to just go 1-0.