McClymonds vs. Bradshaw Christian: First quarter score. August 29th, 2014.
Photo and story by Anthony Beron
The deep contrast produced by the lightning-white field lights illuminating McClymonds’ football stadium and the jet-black shadows of the wizened football coaches from Bradshaw Christian reflected the disparity between the monstrous offensive and defensive Mack Warriors and broken and dysfunctional Bradshaw “Pride”.
It was also the first game for Mack’s new quarterback, Kevin Davidson — another import but this time not from another Oakland high school or an African-American family that had moved to suburbia.
The new quarterback is Caucasian at a school that is 86% African-American and prides itself on combining sports and tutoring through SPAAT (Student Program for Athletic and Academic Transitioning) to propel students to better colleges.
“We try to get the athletes geared up for college so they can succeed in academics and not just sports,” said Ilalo Kalika, a training specialist at SPAAT.
“He [Davidson] came here and we just accepted him. He has a good attitude during practice and has a steady head,” said Taivion Foster, who also had 11 tackles and five assists against Bradshaw Christian.
Lavance Warren of McClymonds rushed for nearly 200 yards and contributed to Mack’s 1,487 total number of all-purpose (passing and rushing) yards. Bradshaw Christian only had 335.
Davidson, a junior, and running back Lavance Warren, a senior, played with intense focus and mechanical efficiency- shooting down the field in a couple of plays during each possession- and racked up a majority of Mack’s 71 points. Over 230 yards, resulting in the other chunk of the final score, were gained by short, bullet-like passes and returned fumbles.
McClymonds High’s offensive and defensive styles showed an equilibrium between jukes and chugs as they used their youthful style to avoid congested Bradshaw scrambles, and insurmountable mass to effectively wall-off the banana yellow goal posts and lime green endzones the Pride barely touched throughout game-time. Keawe Efhan, the running back and weapon-of-choice for Bradshaw’s offense, suffered from endless crushing and decisive hits performed by Mack, all of which sapped his gusto quick into the first quarter.
During the second half after a few effervescent pep-talks, Bradshaw still kept a stale offense. Kicker Dani Lawson of the Pride only scored two field goals throughout the game, tacking on two points to the ultimate score of 14.
For McClymonds the only anticlimactic event of the night was when Anthony White, number 12, attempted his only field goal, but fell short because of a poor snap.
The Warriors historically have had faulty kicking teams. Last season, only a handful of field goal attempts were made in total. None were successful. During the 2013 California Interscholastic Federation playoffs for northern Californian high school football teams, McClymonds lost to Central Catholic, in part due to not having an adequate kicking squad. No field goals were scored by Mack, yet several were made by Central Catholic. McClymonds lost that game, 17-14.
“We could improve our kicking,” said Decarlos Anderson, Mack football coach. “But it’s all good as long as we score enough points. The main reason (for) why we lack kickers is because McClymonds hasn’t had a soccer team in years, but other schools do. They can just pull kickers. We can’t.”
With the addition of the Advanced Sports class, taught by Anderson, many athletes take almost an hour-and-a-half out of their routine class schedule to lift weights.
“It’s a contributing factor, but we’ll see how it works later on since we’re only in the beginning of the year,” said Anderson in reference to Advanced Sports.
Mack senior, Rahquille Menefee- a 250-plus pound offensive guard and defensive end- grinned about weight training. “It gives me the greater advantage so then I can overpower everybody in my face. It gives me a mental edge, too.”
“This year’s new quarterback, Kevin (Davidson), who is also a transfer student, outsizes any Mack quarterback from the past three years,” said Anderson. “The Warriors are something stronger, something a little bit new, but with just as much talent.”