Friday, October 16, 2015

Laguna Bounces Back With Win at Florin

Week Seven Scores:

Laguna Creek 49, Florin 6
Elk Grove 63, Pleasant Grove 13
Bradshaw 34, Golden Sierra 6
Jesuit 36, Sheldon 0 
Grant 21, Monterey Trail 6
Antelope 42, Cosumnes Oaks 41
Franklin 60, Davis 21
Sacramento 67, Valley 0
Burbank 69, McClatchy 0

Friday’s Laguna Creek/Florin High School football was a game of contrasting coaching styles.

On the visiting sidelines at Mark Macres Memorial Stadium was fiery veteran coach Dave Morton of Laguna Creek whose bombastic style has been his trademark especially since his return to the Cardinal sidelines a couple years back.

Morton isn’t afraid to let a player here his displeasure with their performance, or lack thereof. He even will give an assistant coach an earful if they make a poor decision.  He’s cut from the traditional mold of what most folks think a football coach is made from.

On the home sidelines is William Burandt of Florin, a first-year head coach, who picks words of encouragement whenever he can in a mellower, quieter manner. Though his disability has put him in a motorized wheelchair, Burandt is wheeling up and down the sidelines constantly, making quick spins to say something to someone, rolls back to the line of scrimmage, observant of everything going on.
William Burandt watches his Florin team's offense line up

“Come on, you’re looking good, keep going,” he says more than once during Friday’s loss.

His undermanned Panthers got behind too early this night, trailed 35-6 at halftime before losing to Laguna Creek, 49-6. Yet, Burandt was constantly reaching up for high-fives, calling his players by name. His final words to his players Friday before sending them home summarized the attitude with which he is coaching a program that was 1-9 and reeling badly last season:

“Remember, a bad day on a football field is better than most places elsewhere in life,” he tells his Panthers.

Meanwhile, the colorful Morton watched his team play perhaps its best game of the season to date to move its record to 3-4, 2-2 in the Metro Conference. His team scored 21 points in the opening quarter to quickly grab command of the game.

We had plans both offensively and defensively to get on them quick and we did,” Morton said. “On our opening drive we scripted our first three plays and the third one was a touchdown.”

Laguna Creek's Dave Morton (center)
The win comes on the heels of back-to-back one-sided losses to the Metro’s two frontrunners in Sacramento and Burbank. In both games, the Cardinals gave up more than 60 points to their opponent. It felt good that Morton’s squad could return the favor to a league foe on Friday.

The Cardinals have three games left, at Kennedy this Friday, then home games with McClatchy and Johnson. If Laguna Creek wins all three, they’ll end up with six wins and, very likely, find themselves in the playoffs for the first time in six years. But, Morton dismissed that idea quickly.

“That’s a great thought,” he said. “I’d rather be good than lucky. But, I want my team to progress – on the sidelines, in practice and in their lives. That’s the idea. We win, great. If we don’t and we play hard, it’s not great, but we played hard. Playoffs, I don’t know that stuff. I know next week we have Kennedy and that’s a big one.”

AT 2-5 currently, 1-3 in the Metro, Burandt’s squad won’t go the playoffs, even if they win their next three games, at Burbank, at Kennedy and at home versus Valley. Yet, Burandt is already calling his first season as a head coach a success.

“They’ve already won more games than they did all last year,” Burandt said. “Got to remind them of that. I feel like we’re going in the right direction. The guys for the most part have bought into what we’re selling, come to practice, work hard every week and I feel like we’ve improved.

And, he believes he’s beginning to build something positive over the long haul in the football office at Florin.

“We’re playing better now than at the beginning of the year which is an indication they have bought into what we’re doing,” Burandt said. “Tonight was not a great example of that, but I think we did compete hard.”
Thomas Bible scores Laguna Creek's final TD of the night Friday

Morton paid his counterpart a compliment for the way his kids played Friday.

“That’s a small team number-wise, but I tell you those kids play their butts off, “ Morton observed. “It was clean. It was a good football game. My hats off to them.”

Yet, Burandt knows there’s more work ahead for him and his Panther staff.

“We have lots of good football players on this team,” he said. “We are resilent. They are staying together, not sniping at each other, which we were doing early in the season. We’re growing closer to each other.”

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