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GV takes on CIF power Paraclete

Posted: October 9, 2009 11:50 p.m.
Updated: October 10, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
When Andy Campbell took the Golden Valley head coaching job in the offseason, he had designs of turning the Grizzlies into a perennial CIF contender.

The team he’ll face Saturday afternoon is already there.

Paraclete High School is the defending CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division champion, and the Spirits won several CIF Division XI championships from around the turn of the century.

Golden Valley will take on Paraclete in its final pre-league game at 2:30 p.m. today at Knight High School in Palmdale.

Campbell and his players know it will be a big challenge.

“Sometimes you’ve got to get your butt kicked before you can kick butt,” Campbell said.

The current edition of the Spirits (2-3) might not be as strong as years past, as the team has struggled to come together.

“We’re a team that’s trying to deal with adversity,” Dahlia said. “It’s been the complacency after winning a championship, and then motivating (the kids) to get back. It’s a whole mix of things. What it did was it created player shuffling.”

Senior quarterback Eric Bowman moved to tailback earlier in the season to give the offense another running threat out of the backfield, and junior Cameron Carvalho stepped in under center.

Junior wide receiver Lavonte Barnett is a big threat in the passing game, but he may be more valuable on the defensive side, where he is a returning All-CIF defensive end.

“Lavonte brings height and speed,” Dahlia said. “He can definitely move. He’s 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, and just extremely physical and quick.”

While Paraclete has considerable talent at several positions, Campbell hopes the Grizzlies (0-4) can play better as a team.

“We are only as good as our weakest player,” he said. “We try to build a wall on defense, and if one guy’s not out there then we’ve got a leak.”

Led by quarterback Andrew Avila, Golden Valley hopes to spring leaks in the Paraclete defense, which Dahlia said is his calling card.

“If you hold them to as few points as possible, then you have a better shot of winning,” he said.

After winning its first two games of the season, Paraclete has dropped its last three and is looking to get back on the winning track.

To do so, the Spirits will run the football and take the fight right to Golden Valley’s defense.

Paraclete runs a multiple offense and tries to be physical at the line of scrimmage.

“We’re expecting Paraclete to be similar to us (on offense),” Campbell said. “They’re trying to do everything but they haven’t done one thing really well yet.”

Golden Valley is still searching for its first win of the season while the program tries to reach a championship level.

“What we have to do is define championships,” Campbell said. “We’ve never experienced one together. We’ve all had individual success but never as a family.”

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